It takes a great deal of courage and conviction to stand against the financial trends of the day. For example, the over-the-top housing boom of 2004 and 2005 gave most people an excuse to pull the windfall equity out of their houses and spend the money on unnecessary purchases. Or they sold their newly appreciated’and previously adequate’home and moved on up, garnering for themselves a larger piece of the pie, and a bigger mortgage to boot. There’s certainly nothing wrong with selling at the top of the market. But the trend in society is not to save windfalls, or even hard-earned excesses, but to spend them impulsively.
It’s true that Jesus said in the book of Matthew that we’re to take no thought for tomorrow. But these words were given in the context of Jesus saying, ‘Seek first [God’s] kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well’ (v. 33). Therefore, the question is: what does it mean to seek God’s kingdom first?
With regard to money, it means to live by the teaching of Scripture: Live modest, frugal, generous lives; work and save diligently as an expression of faithful trust; acknowledge that everything comes from and therefore belongs to God; adopt the attitude of a steward’a manager of that which God has entrusted to you’and seek His approval for what you do with that which is His.
Regardless of whose survey you look at, money always lands near the top of the hot-button issues in marriages. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. Whatever is a critical issue in one partner’s life is going to become an issue in the marriage and according to a recent survey by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, 68% of American men are fearful about financial security now and in retirement. Therefore, I can assure you that at least 68% of American marriages have a measure of tension in them as a result.
In 1985, Richard Foster wrote a book titled Money, Sex, and Power: The Challenge of a Disciplined Life. Think of those three subjects in terms of marriage and you’ll identify three prime places for couples to either stand their ground or seek common ground.
Far too often you’ll stand your ground, holding tenaciously to practices and points of view you’ve either learned from your parents or picked up along the way in life. Most couples enter marriage thinking about money the way their parents did’detailed record keeping or constantly overdrawn; poor credit ratings or great credit ratings; disciplined savers or dedicated shoppers; planning for the future or living for today.
Men, money is an important and strategic area upon which to build consensus in your marriage. But it requires making a commitment and connecting with your spouse. The future is coming, like it or not. It’s up to you and her to find common and faithful ground on this important issue.
Remember the old phrase, ‘Stop kicking the dog?’ It describes the reaction of someone who’s been hurt or rejected, and then proceeds to take out his emotions and frustrations on those around him’usually family members who had absolutely nothing to do with what happened in the first place.
One way or another, we’re all susceptible to giving the dog a quick boot following losses and hurts that we experience, aren’t we? In fact, you will spend your adult life either making others pay for your pain, or, with God’s help, making them pay less and less.
When a man lives wounded, he withdraws himself from God and people’and that only spells trouble. It compounds the problem. To put it simply: No one likes the feelings produced from blowing it and causing harm to the relationships we deem important. And it’s precisely at this moment that the world, the flesh, and Satan get a better foothold in your heart’and that often results in sinful action you take in an attempt to ease your pain in isolation from God and your loved ones.
That’s one reason why Satan likes for those matters in your life to remain perpetually unresolved: It keeps you distanced from God, destroys your relationships, and keeps you in an ongoing position of extreme vulnerability to temptation and sin. Thankfully, God has the answer for each you, and it comes in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ.