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Are We Separating Our Faith From Our Finances?

Are We Separating Our Faith From Our Finances?

Many of us are able to work for most of our lives because God has provided wonderful opportunities to earn a living. We may not always work in a job that we particularly love, but out of our obligation to provide for our family and to be a contributing member of society, we endure each day, doing whatever God has given us the opportunity to do.

Along the way, we know we are to do all things unto Christ and should have an attitude of gratefulness as we work. Why, then, do so many have fear about the money we earn each week? There is the fear of losing it, or the fear of not having enough—perhaps the fear of whether we are investing it properly or fear of not being able to pay our debts.

All through Scripture we are called to have a reverent and holy attitude, not a worldly fear, but to put our trust in the Lord in all things. In over 30 years of counseling with individuals and organizations about the stewardship of their money, I have discovered that we are fine with "trusting the Lord"—until it comes to our money. We have somehow managed to compartmentalize our money away from—or out of—the responsibility of God. We take that responsibility on ourselves and often leave the Lord out of the picture.

As we look at our own finances, have we separated them from our faith? This is an all-too-common and dangerous habit of compartmentalizing our money away from God.

Money is a primitive representation of our efforts in life. Therefore, if we are to lay our entire life before God, this must include our finances. Worry, procrastination and disobedience hinder us from putting God in control of our money and also hinders our relationship with Him.

The first and most important thing to do is acknowledge our habit of separating finances from faith. Simply tracking spending and income weighed against giving over any given month can provide a snapshot of how much of a priority we are making expanding the Kingdom.

Those who know Christ know that money is just a means to an end—and that end is sharing Jesus with the world. Christ is the greatest security we can acquire, and a firm relationship with Him means the obliteration of all fear—including money. Philippians 4:19 promises that, "God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus." We must have faith in God and the coming of His blessings. Because God operates on faith, expecting His blessings will allow us to do more for the Kingdom.

Scriptural evidence backs this up. Those who are blessed with wealth must remember to ask God how to use it. The only way to merge our faith and finances is by surrendering the latter to Him.

In 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Paul instructs his disciple regarding wealthy church members saying: "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

Similarly, we must utilize wisdom and consistency as we give. Living in the Word will help us be assured that we are doing this to God's satisfaction. If we ever feel compelled or burdened to give, we should simply ask God for His guidance and blessing.

But ultimately, we must give for the right reasons. Let us never forget giving is a wonderful act of worship and let us never give with desire for recognition. If necessary, we can even give in secret. Regardless, it is up to us to ensure that the church doors stay open and more are reached for His glory.

Breaking free from the bondage of the fear of money will allow us to live by faith in freedom.

Dan Celia is president and CEO of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries, Inc., and host of the nationally syndicated radio and television program "Financial Issues," heard daily on more than 650 stations across the country and reaching millions of households on several TV networks. Visit www.financialissues.org.

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