So, what's in your future? No, this has nothing to do with horoscopes, but many Christians do make financial decisions based on fear of the future, instead of trusting that God will provide for them.
Fear of the future can cause families to forfeit the blessings of God, because they base decisions on the latest headline or stock market report. Too often, Christians give little thought to God's ability to take care of them.
This doesn't mean that we shouldn't plan ahead to ensure financial stability for our families; however, when Christians find that attitudes of fear and worry are motivating financial decisions, they need to reevaluate their financial priorities, and recommit to trust in the Lord.
Withholding from God
Often, Christian families that are motivated by fear of the financial future will cut back on their tithes and offerings. Mistakenly, they see this as a first step in an attempt at financial stability.
Recent events such as U.S. relations with North Korea, war in Iraq, turmoil in the Middle East, gasoline prices, rising trade deficits, major layoffs, threat of terrorism, and an underperforming economy, have caused many Americans to be concerned about the future.
The U.S. economic slowdown has the financial well-being of many Americans hanging in the balance. They worry about not having enough money to pay normal monthly bills, and the rash of recent mortgage defaults has devastated many families. Many Americans live so close to the edge financially that a prolonged economic downturn could put them in serious financial straits.
Despite all this, and even though many are very concerned about the financial future, consumer spending has not dropped proportionately. Actually, there has been very little change in the percentage of their income that Americans spend.
Still, there has been a shift in how the funds are spent. Less money is being saved and contributed to churches and charitable organizations, while more is being spent on credit card interest, recreation, alcohol, gambling (primarily through state lotteries) and pets.
This gives us good reason to pause and review what Jesus said: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.... No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money" (Matthew 6:21, 24).
The Bible says we are to honor God with the tithe – the first-fruits of our income. Keeping our financial vows to God is the way to ensure that we will not become victimized by a financial downturn.
Withholding your financial commitments to the Lord so that you can buffer yourself against potential future financial hardships will end up costing your financial security rather than guarding it, simply because God's blessings will not be on such a self-imposed buffer.
Faith conquers fear
Hebrews 11:1 describes faith as something we hope for that we do not presently have. God's plan seems to be that we have some needs so that we can develop our faith in Him. It is vital for us to view potential future financial needs as opportunities to exercise and develop our faith.
No Christian can truly serve God and live in fear of financial loss. Jesus makes it very clear in the passage from Matthew 6, that we must make a choice - either serve God or money, we cannot serve both. Fear of our financial future exhibits a lack of trust in God and in His provision. In other words, when we fear the future, we choose to serve the fear of financial loss, rather than to trust and serve God, Who has conquered all fear and holds the future in His hands.
Who do you trust?
We live in a materialistic society and generally base our priorities on desires and wants, rather than on needs. The perspective of what is actually a need is often clouded by what our materialistic society says we need.
Although God has promised that He will always supply our needs, He has not promised that He will supply all of the wants that society calls our needs. Even though we sincerely ask God to honor our request to supply the money to repair our microwave, automatic dishwasher or second car, His answer may very well be "no."
You see, we may be asking with the wrong motives (James 4:3). It may not be the right time, according to God's will and purpose (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). Or, it may be contrary to His overall plan (Acts 21:13-14). After all, we are to serve God, not expect Him to serve us (Job 41:11).
It's a matter of who you put your trust in.
There are some important steps we must follow that will help us trust God completely with the present and the future:
- Find God's direction for your life. Most frustrations that Christians experience are the result of trying to model their lives after someone else's life. Instead, through prayer and study, find God's will for you.
- Make a conscious effort to trust God. Put thoughts, words and commitments into action and trust God. Don't buy on credit. Plan ahead and wait for God to supply your needs. Develop a long-range perspective. Trust God's directives and His guidance (Matthew 6:34).
- Pray diligently. Prayer is the key that unlocks God's blessings, power and direction (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).
Although we are bombarded daily with events that can cause doubt concerning our financial future, we must never doubt that God is in complete control. Refuse to panic, and do not be governed by fear of the future. Keep your commitments and vows to God, pray without ceasing and trust your future to Him without reservation.