26 Oct 4 Steps to: Christ Focused Financial Success
Financial success, as we discover in the Bible, is about living in peace as much as possible, providing for our household, and leaving an inheritance to our children and grandchildren. Pretty straight forward instructions.
But how do you get from where you are right now, to all the way over there… the seemingly-mythical land of financial peace?
Simply speaking there are three main ingredients to achieving financial success:
- Live debt-free;
- Earn an income in a way that is enjoyable and challenging;
- And invest in your future!
Seems easy enough (and it is) except that we live in a world that says more is better:
- more will bring peace,
- more will bring happiness,
- more will bring contentment,
- and more will bring purpose.
But ‘more’ isn’t better; it doesn’t bring peace, happiness or contentment. Only Jesus does these things.
Two of the most frequently asked questions I hear:
1. How do you live debt-free, earn an income, and invest in a world that doesn’t align with Jesus?
The road to financial peace is paved with activities that are profitable. That doesn’t mean more income will make you happy (it won’t) but profitability can mean different things – not just more money. Profitability can include: increasing time, healthy relationships, and even learning new skills.
As much as we might love more money, time, healthy relationships, and improving our skills, our joy doesn’t come from these things. Our joy comes from Jesus Christ, His sacrifice on the cross, and the salvation He offers.
2. Am I too old (or too young) to become financially successful?
Honey, age ain’t nothin’ but a number.
Your age is less of a factor than you might think! It’s the strategy behind achieving the goals of financial freedom that can make the biggest impact. The plan can be implemented at any age!
Think about children who can start businesses selling cookies, cleaning yards, babysitting, housesitting, pet sitting etc. There is no age restriction on these activities.
An elderly person can start a similar business: sell baked goods, house, baby, or pet sit. Just know that there are income opportunities that anyone can do because people like to hire neighbors, friends, and family for these tasks.
So don’t worry about your age, just start where you are. But you do have to start.
What can you do right now? What is the strategy?
Here are four things you can start doing right now to put you on track to financial success:
1. Put Jesus at the center of all your financial decisions
First comes Jesus as Lord: always. Anybody who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord over their life, who wants to improve the world around them, and who wants to better themselves by helping others is traveling on the right path and moving towards financial success.
2. Determine your core values and vision
What is most important to you? How do you rank things such as family, community and making a difference in the world?
The media and many other voices tell us that the secret to happiness is in self fulfillment, but that’s not true. The more we focus on others, the happier we will become.
So, what is most important to you?
We are called to provide for our own family (this is outlined in 1 Timothy 5:8), which includes needs such as housing, transportation, food, and basic clothes.
Pay attention to that calling on your heart to change the world for the better in some way. In my life I’ve learned that if we can lay down the desire to build a tower of self and help others instead, then the financial resources we need in order to achieve our goals will appear.
3. Keep your fixed expenses manageable and less than your income
Ever find yourself with too much month at the end of your pay check? That’s a classic sign that your expenses are higher than your income.
Lowering monthly expenses is a good place to start but the second part of this equation is about increasing your earned income; preferably from something you excel at, enjoy doing, and that challenges you!
Starting a business or ministry allows us to give value and help others in exchange for something. One individual provides a service or product in exchange for another resource. This could be financial resources (payment) or some other sort of trade. Businesses and ministries run on this model.
In fact, as Christians, all businesses are ministries and all ministries are businesses.
The trick is the balancing act between being content with what we have while fostering a healthy desire to continually improve.
But if we always put Jesus at the center of all we do there will be no difference between your career and your ministry.
4. Use your discretionary expenses as an investment toward profit-driving activities
Your discretionary expenses cover all the non-essential things in life while a variable expense is needed to live comfortably, such as groceries, car maintenance, and electricity. The major difference between a discretionary expense and a variable expense is about wants versus needs.
Investing your discretionary expenses (the money set aside for your wants) in profit-generating activities, over time, will move you closer to your goals of financial success.
Whatever your financial situation is right now, seek the Kingdom of God and put Jesus first. Then put yourself out there and see what God does in your life, business, and ministry!
Have you accepted Jesus Christ as Lord over your financial life?