Money. Practically speaking, we need it to live. We use it to get food, clothes . . . to secure a place to live. To some extent, it influences nearly every decision we make every day. How can Christians keep something so pervasive from becoming an unhealthy, idolized presence in our lives (Matthew 6:24)?
Let’s take a look at five safeguards for not loving money, but actually using it as a tool to serve God!
1. Start with Contentment
Have you ever wished that you had more money so that you could have a bigger apartment, nicer clothes, or a fancier car?
In 1 Timothy 6:6-10, Paul warns against the dangerous temptation of wanting to get rich—of chasing more and more of what is valuable only in this temporal life. He says it’s a trap, and tells us how to avoid it: seek to be godly and content with what we have.
Let us learn to be content by thanking God for the time, money, and talents that we already have. As we seek creative ways to use our current resources, we learn to approach money with a Kingdom-focused mind that will be less likely to fall prey to the insatiable hunger for more.
2. Remember Whose It Is
“How much money do you make?” Even the way we talk about money shows how eager we are to claim ownership of it. But Scripture tells us that everything that exists actually belongs to God (Psalm 50:10-12)—including us, and the money we steward.
While it can be tempting to feel like we’ve earned the money we have, let’s remember that God is the One who designed the mental faculties we use to grow, learn, study, and work. He is the Creator of all things, and everything we have comes from Him and is for His purposes.
3. Don’t Trust Money
Does it ever seem like money provides for you? Whether we’re hungry, bored, cold, or curious, money usually helps us get what we want. But we know for sure that God is actually our sustainer and helper, not money (Psalm 54:4).
We can practice trusting God to help us by turning to Him first when we have needs. Next time a need comes up, instead of running immediately to our bank accounts, let’s first ask God what His plan for provision is.
We might be surprised to find that God often meets our needs through friends, unexpected gifts, or a spontaneous offer for help. As we revel in His creative and generous provision, our trust will shift ever-more to our faithful sustainer.
4. Practice Giving Obediently
Have you ever felt called to support a certain cause, but pushed it out of the question because you’re already giving regularly?
While many of us might allot a certain amount of our income or wealth to giving, tithing, and donations, sometimes God will call us to give beyond that. When we feel led to give, let’s spend time in prayer, and then obey, trusting that God will take care of our every need (Luke 12:24).
Is there a need in the church or elsewhere that has been pressing on your heart? By challenging ourselves to obediently give even if it’s uncomfortable, we stretch ourselves to trust in God’s provision, and are reminded that we are simply stewards of money, only holding it for a short time, and using it however God asks us to.
5. Pray About Financial Decisions
Do you ever get caught up in doing a bunch of good things only to realize you haven’t actually consulted with God about any of the plans you’ve worked up? There are so many ways we can faithfully steward our money for God’s purposes and use it to show our love for Him. How can we know what He wants us to use it for if we don’t ask?
As we grow through this life and continue to make financial decisions, let’s commit everything we do to the Lord (Proverbs 16:1-3). When we do, He will faithfully establish good plans for us to walk in.
As we humbly turn to God, He will lead us with all wisdom and understanding to live lives where He alone is our master, provider, sustainer, and guide. Along the way, we’ll start to see that although money comes with a risk of leading to greed and empty worldly pursuits, when surrendered to God, it is actually a powerful tool for making eternal investments in this life that will continue paying dividends forever!