Guest post by Jennifer Yang
As a fresh graduate in 2010, I’ve always had difficulty keeping my finances in good shape. It took me 4 years to finally focus in finding a solution and even ask for help to solve my financial hurdles.
Last 2014, a good friend of mine gave me a book about finances and it’s role with God, entitled Rich For Life, more so this is the year that I surrendered my life to Jesus. That year, was when I finally made a decision to focus on improving my finances and my relationship with God. God certainly heard and answered my prayers. He placed me in a church that helped me grow my faith in Christ and He also lead me to my mentor in personal finance. Little did I know that my mentor would also turn out to be my best friend and husband-to-be. 🙂 ‘What you focus on will grow’ is the exact phrase to my experience.
Two years has passed since then and I’ve overcome financial and spiritual challenges by the grace of God and the people He has placed in my life. But what I want to emphasize to you are not the technicals nor strategies on personal finance. Instead, I want you to focus on what is truly important between you, God and your finances.
You, God and Your Finances
You can learn all the books, articles and even strategies in this world with the best mentors available, but without the proper perspective and focus you’ll lose sight of the most important things. I’ve listed down 7 points you should refocus on and also to see if your perspective in order.
1. Focus on God as the Blesser, instead of the blessing He gives
During the time when I was spending more than what I am earning, I would always pray to God for provision. It was as if I’m looking to God as my genie who will grant my every wish. The blessing came, the provision covered what I needed but I was content. It was a cycle of asking God for provision, misuse of finance and then still feel lack. Have you ever felt the same way? I’ve learned that what I was yearning then was the blessing, the provision which will never satisfy my needs nor make me feel content.
Luke 4:14 ESV
“..but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Money and well managed finances are necessities in this world, but they will never give is true happiness and contentment no matter how big the amount is. Only Jesus can give you a full life from which you will never feel lack and thirsty. Find Jesus and invite Him into your life and provision will always come even at the most unreasonable and impossible situations.
2. Focus on being God’s steward, instead of having entitlement to your finances
Since God is the blesser and all of the blessings come from Him, therefore God owns everything. God is the creator and everything belongs to Him.
Psalm 24:1 ESV
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof,[a]
the world and those who dwell therein
Yes, even the hard-earned money you have belongs to God. Then, what are our roles with the provision and wealth He has given us? We are God’s stewards. Once you understand that we do not own anything in this life, the feeling of entitlement will be gone and it is much easier to give and share to others. God knows our needs and once he knows that we are focused on honoring Him and glorifying Jesus, He will entrust us with His treasures and have us managed them. When we focus on God, wealth and multiplication of finances is much easier.
Malachi 3:10 ESV
10 Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.
3. Focus on real wealth rather than richness and money
Have you ever heard of the story of King Solomon? Yes, King Solomon who had wealth beyond anyone has ever accumulated in the history of man, including fame, wisdom and women. And you would think anyone who has immense possession and stature will be content, happy and worry-free. Think again. Read the whole chapter 5 of Ecclesiastes, it is even entitled ‘The Vanity of Wealth and Honor’.
10 He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves wealth with his income; this also is vanity.
What then is real wealth? Real wealth can never be found here in this world. Earthly treasures and those what men deemed to be of importance to be pursued is worthless. Heavenly treasures are the ones our hearts must yearn for. We should long for Jesus, to honor Him and glorify Him. To be the women and men that is after God’s heart.
4. Focus on your Purpose instead of financial problems
Never was there a season that we will not face difficulties and problems even in our finances. Truth is, nothing will be solved if you focus on your problems. To feel sad, disappointed and frustrated is not a bad thing, but mulling over these negative emotions are not productive nor will it do you any good.
Every winner and successful person has faced trials, but the difference is their focus. They focused on their purpose, the purpose that God has entrusted them to fulfill. Remember these words: When God has a purpose, provision will always come. 🙂 And this is only be possible through Jesus Christ! No matter what others will tell you, not whatever deceit or lies the enemy will whisper to your ears and heart, read and never forget these words:
Philippians 4:19 ESV
19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
5. Focus on financial education rather than quick gains
I’ve once been a impatient youth and has searched for quick profits and gains in the wrong places with the wrong focus. In short, I lost Php20,000 with and investment turned into a scam which what I thought was the ticket for me and my family to wealth. There is no such thing as a get rich quick scheme. That is too good to be true. Learn it from me and the rest of the financial advocates and victims from scams. Solid finances can only be gained through proper financial education and slow but steady discipline in growing your investments and legal businesses. Even King Solomon knows about it all too well in the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 13:11 ESV
11 Wealth gained hastily[a] will dwindle,
but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
Learn and be mentored by financial advocates and educators on the basic foundations of finances and investments. Before putting down your money on any investment, do your research, ask, learn the risks that are involved and managed your hard earned money well. Financial education is your first line of defense against scammers. Make financial literacy your priority over ROI and gains.
Proverbs 15:22 ESV
22 Without counsel plans fail,
but with many advisers they succeed.
6. Focus on savings and investments, instead of spending
Saving and investing are habits, so is spending. Whichever you practice and focus most can determine your future financial status. Save up for emergencies, invest in your dreams and goals, and do not spend beyond your means. Prioritized your responsibilities such as utilities, paying your debts, provision for your family’s needs and for your future needs instead of splurging and spending it on unnecessary things. Go back to point one and keep in mind that you are a manager of God’s blessings, thus you must develop the discipline to save and grow the money that God has entrusted you with. If not, you will surely end up in poverty.
Proverbs 21:5 ESV
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.
7. Focus on winning long term rather than short term gains
This life is a marathon, a long marathon and everyone has different paths and stories. But only those who stay focused with long term goals and purpose in their life are able to sustain and win the race. There are far more precious goals than gaining wealth and finances. Life is too short to waste it on something as common as money. Earthly treasure will soon fade but only heavenly treasures will last for eternity. When you understand and accept the purpose that God has given you, only then will you find your long term goals. You only have one life to live, live it well, make the most out of it and win long term rather short lived gains. Lay down your life and passions to goals that truly matters and will never fade.
1 John 2:16-17
16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life[a]—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.
Jennifer is a freelance writer and blogger at JennifersMeraki.com who has the passion to share personal finance and entrepreneurship. She’s also a financial advocate and associate trainer in IMG.