Where is my True Financial Peace?
Personally, November is a great month. It is the transition period to Christmas. It is also that time of the year when we have a great sermon series on what is truly essential in our lives.
Looking back over the past months, the lessons on the book of Deuteronomy in the Bible clearly stand out in regard to how we live our lives.
There are Three Critical Lessons from this book that I would like us to examine.
First, true financial peace has nothing to do with our capacities, inheritance or effort.
Second, true financial peace is allowing God to lead us.
Finally, true financial peace is about Knowing and Being.
In the movie Lucy, Morgan Freeman was a scientist who figured out that the human brain is only used up to 20 percent of its capacity. He concluded that the reason for this is that man is more concerned about HAVING than BEING.
Whether, the movie is true or not, the underlying statement says the truth about human priorities. We are concerned about having things. This does not excuse anyone – including people who follow Christ. For instance, usually, come November, people receive their bonuses. But how much of the bonus has gone into productive and long-term pursuits? The real challenge of having financial peace is the lure for material things.
A quick look at the book of Deuteronomy, we will find out that it chronicles the journey of the Israelites. The Israelites represent the modern-day journey of a Christian. The rescue from Egypt represents our rescue from the slavery of sin and death. The journey along the desert is the pruning and preparation part. While the “Promise Land” is the land of true financial peace. As Christians, we also face the same struggles of looking back at our “Egypt”. Yes, we may be slaves in our own “Egypt”, which we safely say, our “comfort zone”.
That “Egypt” can well be an old relationship, an old job, an old place or anything that holds us back from moving on – they represent our Egypt. We enjoy our Egypt because it is our own strength, our own capacities, or our own self that dictates our situation. But while Egypt may have provided for us financially or even emotionally – it is still a land of slavery.
This is the place where people, no matter how hard they try, they end up where they started. Working hard will only result to so much.
I remember meeting the man selling fish balls in our neighborhood when I was still in grade school. Today, he still sells fish balls, and that must have been 30 years later.
I asked him of any changes in his life, but he responded by saying, “I am used to this”.
I realize how much power the “poverty mentality” has robbed him of the best God has for him. But the truth is, people without Jesus Christ are tied helplessly in this mindset. For them, the solution to life is in their hands. But Deuteronomy 8:18 says:
“God has given us the ability to produce wealth”.
Without God, we will be facing unending toil while we live.
Second, Christians who look back to their Egypts are really those challenged by letting go and letting God.
When we get out of Egypt, there will be shaking and confusion at times. Taking that step to go with Christ also takes the same step in the area of finance.
In the wilderness, we tell God we want to obey you, but our heart refuses. There is that struggle. This is the reason why it took the Israelites 40 years to complete a journey that would have lasted 11 days.
The same is true with Christians today. Our struggle to be our own boss will make us run in circles in our lives. In the wilderness, we will not recognize that God is providing. We long for more and we long to have. Today, we are more concerned about the things that we do not have than the things that we do have. But the question is, “do you really need that iPhone 6 when you have a fully functioning and working Samsung Galaxy Win?”
Do you really need a new car that is worth 1.5 million pesos when your 2010 edition Toyota Vios is as reliable as it can be? Look at your cabinets – do you find things that you thought you do not have? Or do you have any clothes that you have not used for the last three months? You can actually do a garage sale friend!
The best way to recognize that God has provided is to do a cleaning of the house and realize that you actually have more than what you need.
When we do this, we are telling God – please lead me. Let me see you as the cloud that covers the hot sun at daytime and the pillar of fire at night so I can go through the difficulties of life.
Below is a picture of a flower that grew on the road. I saw this flower and took this picture as I was walking from our apartment in Osaka to the University where I was studying for my PhD. It was a tough day. I have not made significant progress and it is less than a year for my scholarship funds. I was talking to God and telling Him to just allow me and my family to go home. This scholarship thing is putting a lot of stress on me, my health and my relationship with my family. I want to go home.
In short, I was in the wilderness – I was recalling the good days of just working in the Philippines with my family, friends and comfort zone. Here we are in Japan – everything is foreign and difficult! I was crying and telling God – Hindi ko na po kaya? All of a sudden I saw this flower across my path. It seems like God was saying, “You are to bloom where you are planted! Even if the situation is tough and difficult, I will be the One to ensure your success! For it will not be your own doing but Mine.”
True enough, two weeks after that – things started to work beyond what I can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). I knew that I am at the home stretch of the wilderness. In short, I got my PhD degree on time – in His time.
Having gone back to Manila since 2006, I have realized that once I focused on KNOWING and BEING a Christian, God will take care of the HAVING.
In the land of placement, God will make sure that your connection with Him is your passport to having an abundant and a fruitful life – a life of true financial peace.
I do not deny that I still worry somehow in regard to money – but I am no longer shaken. I have come to realize that John 6:40 is the purpose of living – this is eternal life to KNOW Jesus Christ.
Knowing Jesus Christ has arranged my life in order. It is not yet perfect – for perfection is not going to happen on earth, but we have the opportunity to live eternal life on earth by becoming what God wants us to be.
Know that your financial peace is in God’s placement and in God’s placement, you will be fruitful and generous!