“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart”
What is a desire? It’s something you don’t have or something you do have and want to maintain.
What is it you desire? Peace, love, joy, comfort, family, connection, health, energy? What about new shoes, a new car, new home, new or better relationship(s)?
Does money buy happiness? Of course not, but money is the tool we use to purchase the necessities and comforts of life. It’s no secret that more money buys more, but it’s also no secret that more money isn’t the secret to happiness.
The bible tells us repeatedly to seek God first and He will give us the desires of our heart – all the material ‘things’ will be added to us as He takes first place in our life (Ps 20:4; 37:4; Mat:33).
The bible is full of amazing promises of blessing in this life and for all eternity to those who seek God. So, my question is why is it so hard for people to accept that God’s blessings include finances?
God actually created us to be motivated towards desire; towards something beyond what we can currently see. He created us to be creative beings, because He is the creator of all. Creativity produces something of value and beauty. Sadly however, most of our finite minds have accepted what we can see as the framework for making decisions and for what’s possible (or practical or realistic they say). This is most obvious in our financial world today.
Here’s what happens: lifestyle’s are judged based on what can be seen from the outside. Many people have rationalized that a particular lifestyle is ok because the outward appearances fit with their own ideas about what is ‘reasonable’. The perception of what is acceptable or not is really a judgement based on a subjective scale of ‘ok’ to ‘not ok’. This personal, subjective ‘judgement’ means it doesn’t matter if the income levels for the lifestyle that someone deems are appropriate or not are under the poverty line or into the ultra-wealthy level, the bible is very clear that judgement leads to guilt and condemnation, which is obviously not of God.
Where is the line of ‘ok’, is a question I have been asking people for years? If a $5000 car is ok, but a $50,000 car is ostentatious then where’s the ‘ok’ level? $25,000? At some point, the $5000 car likely started out as a $50,000 car so at what point did that same car become ‘ok’ for a Christian to drive?
These are critical issues, because the bible is very clear that God intended His people to be the head and not the tail and that the wealth of the wicked is to be controlled by the righteous. How will this happen if God’s elect carry guilt in their thinking about spending money on ‘things’ or attempt to deny desires because they don’t ‘see’ how they’d ever realize the desire, so rationalize taking steps toward something that perhaps is a glimpse of what and where God is leading you to fulfill His purposes in and through your life?
Obviously there are wise ways to use the financial tools of our day and fulfilling a desire with credit or some other quick fix, isn’t being a good steward of the resources God has given us. High debt levels are a strong indication that personal spending is motivated by lack, pride, greed and uncertainty, not prudent money management for intentional purchases.
This issue is less about ‘overspending’, than it us about under-earning. And the reason is quite simple: credit. Credit provides opportunities – but only if it’s used properly. Debt is the result of lack of knowledge and wisdom on proper use of this powerful tool. Debt means you are in bondage to the lender. Credit means you have opportunities to accelerate wealth creation.
Debt creates wealth for the lender. Lenders have power over debtors; they want you to use their loans to acquire a lifestyle; they don’t show you how you can earn income to pay for desires outside of using the credit they provide. Introductory economics tells you that spending is a key indicator of a society’s prosperity. Spending is good for everyone – provided it’s sustainable, which means spending needs income to support it – not just income to pay for debt payments which ultimately enslave our credit-based society.
The biggest reason people refuse to talk about money and hesitate to consider how to connect God’s Word on prosperity with the financial tools of our day is because finances bring us face-to-face with our faith. Money has become a topic to be avoided, judged or a necessary ‘evil’, rather than an opportunity to connect God’s plans and purposes with the world we live in today. This has lead to isolation, intimidation, independence and uncertainty.
Yet money is not a sacred private topic like intimacy between married couples and between you and God. Money is the tool we use to express God’s love, provision, power, salvation, and prosperity to a world that lives in poverty: spiritually and materially. Someone can have much wealth, but lack spiritual, relational, physical or spiritual prosperity. Spiritual prosperity means all these ‘things’ are added to you. Not everyone will have the same desires materially or otherwise. But the outward manifestation of our faith is an expression of God’s love, provision, and blessing being demonstrated in our life.
Whenever we as believers ask for money from other people we show lack. This is directing our focus towards other people for provision, not demonstrating to the world that we believe God’s promises. This is a powerful concept because money does come through other people. Does this mean we don’t promote our goods and services for sale, or network for income opportunities? No. It means our challenge is to direct our requests to our Lord and to speak into being things that are currently not (Romans 4:17) and hold fast to His promises for the desires of our heart to be fulfilled as we take delight in the Lord.
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John2).
Whatever it is you desire, it is a clue to seek God for direction. He might be leading you with a new pair of shoes, or maybe he’s saying, “Hey, I’ve got this, stand by; your shoes won’t wear out; a little longer and you’ll have a full wardrobe, but right now what you think you need won’t be necessary where I’m leading you”. You’ll never know, however, if you make your financial decisions based on the money you can see and are told you need to ‘manage carefully’ so you don’t ‘overspend’.
That attitude leads to a focus on money, not God. That attitude reinforces scarcity and doubt. That attitude will cause the devil to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ the abundant life Jesus came to bring. That attitude is why we need to have knowledge of the tool of money, but to manage the relationship with our Lord for the individual wisdom He provides for us to fulfill His purposes for our life. We will need to know how to be intentional with spending, wise with credit, strategic with investing, and take precautions against risk and loss.
If you have a desire for something more expensive than the money you currently can see or think you have available, ask God to show you what He’s saying through the desire. If you push it aside, you’ll miss the opportunity to hear His voice about how He is planning to prosper you beyond what you can ask or imagine. If you give Him your seed of desire He will show you how He plans to overflow blessings to you and others with all praise and thanksgiving to Him – this might be through the fulfillment of the specific desire, or maybe from some other way you hadn’t thought of before. But all of it happens from His Power at work within your life creating the wealth to bring whatever ‘thing’ will fulfill your unique desires into being for His purposes!
Together in Christ,