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Ask Chuck: Breaking financial strongholds

Ask Chuck your money question

Dear Chuck,

I am 32 years old and a fairly new believer. I am depressed by my poor handling of money. Can you give me advice to do better with money from a Christian perspective?

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Struggling with Money

Unsplash/micheile dot com
Unsplash/micheile dot com

Dear Struggling with Money,

It is a joy to welcome you to the family of God! Your decision to follow Christ will change everything, including how you handle money. You have an exciting journey ahead.

Most financial teaching deals with the external mechanics of good financial management: get on a budget, spend less than you earn, get out of debt, have an emergency savings fund, etc. You can and should learn those practices. I have written a lot about this in my prior columns. But the Bible has far more to say about our beliefs regarding money than the nuts and bolts of handling it. This is where Christian financial practices vastly differ from the world’s.

Breaking financial strongholds

Many people who struggle with money are held captive by financial strongholds and may not be aware of it. Major money problems result when we adopt philosophies, theories, and schemes of the world that take priority over God’s Word through ignorance, neglect, or disobedience. We are trapped by our very own thinking and need a transformation of our minds.

What exactly is a stronghold?

When we run for safety into the fortress of human reasoning and the pretense of wisdom that is completely man-centered, we enter Satan’s trap. There, the pinnacle of pride sits enthroned on the human heart. It revels in thoughts of its own excellence and self-sufficiency. We are fueled by the desire to “do it my way” or solve the problem without anyone’s help, especially God’s.

In 2 Corinthians 10:3–5, the Apostle Paul declared: 

“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.  For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey Christ ...” (ESV, emphasis mine).

According to this passage, Kenneth Berding, a professor of New Testament at Talbot School of Theology, defines strongholds as:

  • Arguments raised against the knowledge of God.
  • Lofty opinions raised against the knowledge of God.
  • Thoughts (or ideas) that would lead someone away from obeying Christ.

He continues: “Strongholds relate to our thoughts, opinions and allegiances. Such strongholds can and should be addressed by meditating upon the truth (as revealed by God in Scripture), declaring such truth, and tearing down the faulty arguments raised against the truth that hinder people from believing the truth.”

This is the process of renewing our minds on God’s truth. Let’s begin with some areas where you may struggle regarding your finances.


Worry is a financial stronghold that affects every single one of us — some more than others. 

It is a feeling of anxiety or unease about the future caused by fear and doubt within the mind. It is rooted in a lack of confidence in God, usually combined with a lack of self-control over our finances. When taken captive by worry, we cannot fully trust God. 

Satan wants to keep us bound up by worry, especially about money. In Matthew 6, Jesus says that the “pagans” are the ones we most resemble when we worry. He promises to provide for our daily needs. He does not say we should not work but clearly that we should not worry. 

Let’s get practical. When you worry, learn to immediately cast your fears and doubts upon Jesus. He knows your future — trust Him. Be set free by abiding in Him, taking one day at a time. You can also take action to get your finances under control by learning and applying Biblical financial principles.


This financial stronghold is hard to identify in ourselves. Selfishness is the preoccupation with self and a dangerous stronghold. It is the state of being unwilling to give money, time, or love. We see it in others but are blind to our own captivity. That’s why we stay locked in it for years.  

Let’s get practical. Selfishness can be overcome by obeying God. Recognize that He is your provider and give without expectation of receiving. Give generously of your time, your money, and your influence. You will be surprised at the freedom and joy you will experience when you learn to make giving your top financial priority.


Envy is a financial stronghold tucked deep within the heart. It is a feeling of discontentment or a resentful longing triggered by someone else's possessions. Social media fuels it. Dante defined it as "a desire to deprive other men of theirs." Aquinas described it as "sorrow for another's good." Traditionally considered one of the seven deadly sins, envy is a form of self-idolatry. We have envy when we can’t be happy for what others have.

Let’s get practical. Freedom from this stronghold occurs when we thank God for all He’s provided for us and others. Repent of envy when others prosper and learn to be content with what God’s entrusted to you. 

Change your mind, change your actions

Don’t lose hope! The victorious Christian escapes financial strongholds by identifying every false theory, every human philosophy, and every prideful thought that controls us. Then we replace it with Truth. Only by the power of God’s Spirit and Word can we escape faulty thinking that holds us back. Read the Bible; study and meditate on the living Word. Immerse yourself in learning God’s ways. It is never too late to begin.

Invite God to reveal erroneous beliefs and transform your life from the inside out. Determine to break free from Satan’s grip on your life and finances. Put on the armor of God, take up the sword of His Spirit, and fight for your freedom! Crown has budget coaches, courses, and lots of materials that can help.

Another valuable and trusted source is Christian Credit Counselors. They can help consolidate debt and get you on the road to financial freedom.

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Economic Evidence for God?. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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