“The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get”
Proverbs 21:20 NLT
A lot of people’s stress comes from money problems, which can lead to stress in other areas of their lives. Some of our financial difficulties come from the demands of life, but honestly, most of the problems stem from not budgeting, living beyond our means, and not controlling our fleshly desires. We put a lot of unnecessary stress on ourselves for these very reasons. It really boils down to not wanting to do what the Bible says regarding money and wanting to spend whatever you want to spend. If you have this mentality you’ll have stress your whole life.
There are some key areas that will help start the process of relieving your financial burdens, but you must make up in your mind that you will believe what God says about it. Each one that I will list is backed up by scripture. With these steps, self-reflection time, an open and receptive mind, and prayer time with God, you should be on your way to financial freedom.
Tips for Financial Freedom
- Ask for wisdom: Clearly, if you’re in a financial bind, you may not be quite sure how to handle it effectively. James 1:5 says that if you are lacking wisdom to ask God for it and He will give it to you freely without judging you. You need to gather all your bills, present them to the Lord, and ask Him how He wants you to handle each one and do what He says to do, no matter how much sacrifice is required.
Meditation scripture: James 1:5
- Make a budget: You can’t begin to manage any type of financial responsibility until you know how much you are dealing with. Clearly, you need to see how much is coming in and how much is going out. This way you can see how much you’re left with to start tackling your outstanding debt. If you are serious about gaining financial freedom and lessening your stress level, you need to sit down and do a budget.
Meditation scriptures: Proverbs 27:23; Luke 14:28
- Act your wage: Another way to say this is to live BELOW your means. This will require you to be content which is defined as “rest or quietness of the mind in the present condition; satisfaction which holds the mind in peace, restraining compliant, opposition, or further desire, and often implying a moderate degree of happiness.” You can’t have everything you want when you want it, especially if your finances don’t allow for it. If you only have $20 extra to spend in a week, don’t go spending $200 and then complain about being broke. Tame your flesh and train it to be happy with what you have until you can get what you want without added stress.
Meditation scriptures: Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:11-12; 1 Timothy 6:9-10
- Pay your tithes and offerings: Malachi 3:10 gives you a challenge that you cannot refuse. God said to bring Him the tithe and watch Him open the doors of Heaven and pour out blessings that will be so big that you won’t have enough room to contain it. And not only that, but He said that He will rebuke the devourer (Satan) for your sake. So, whenever the devil tries to take your money, God stops him—He will be your financial shield. You need to give regular tithes and go over and beyond with an offering as often as you can. When you take care of God’s business, He will take care of yours. You may be thinking, “I cannot afford to do that,” but I challenge you by telling you “you can’t afford NOT”
Meditation scriptures: Malachi 3:10-11; 2 Corinthians 9:6-8
- Go on a spending fast and save: This also relates to step #3 above. Delay your gratification and put whatever you were going to spend in a savings account. The world will always be filled with something that you think you may want, so if you can’t get something right now, it’s always later. Learn not to spend every dollar that you get when you get it.
Meditation scriptures: Luke 16:10-11; Proverbs 10:4-5; 13:11; 21:20
- Get out of debt and cut up your credit cards: Once you established your budget, you should have an idea of what your outstanding debt is minus your monthly living expenses. One statistic states that US households have over $16,000 in credit card debt. High-interest rates and high balances can lead not only to financial stress but mental stress as well. Shred your credit cards! You can’t be tempted to use it if it’s unusable. The more you keep swiping a card, the more you will continue to be a slave to the lender.
Meditation scriptures: Romans 13:8; Proverbs 22:7
- Pay cash: It’s good to have the mindset, “if I can’t pay cash for it now, then I don’t need it.” This prevents you from swiping a credit card or borrowing money from someone, which is stressful within itself. Paying cash settles the payment right then. You won’t have to worry about adding another monthly payment. I know getting rid of your cash can be painful, but the feeling is temporary compared to the pain of adding to your already mounting debt.
Meditation scripture: Galatians 5:1
- Renew your financial mind: Romans 12:2 says that we must renew our mind and we are not to conform to the customs of the world. Society will tell you to do retail therapy if you need to get your mind off something. Or better yet, if you’ve been working hard that you deserve to buy yourself something nice or treat yourself to a getaway. The world’s system is to promote compulsive spending and credit card swiping. If you are in a financial bind, you must train yourself to think, “I want this now, but one day I will be able to afford it. Once I pay my debt off, I will be able to treat myself to whatever I want.” You must learn how to tell yourself “no” and stick to it until your bank account says “yes.” Train your mind to be content with what you have until you are financially free to pay cash and enjoy the purchase without added stress. It’s time to start distinguishing between what you need and what you want.
Meditation scripture: Romans 12:2
- Stop making the same mistakes: One thing we can learn from the Israelites is how our own actions and the words that we speak can delay how long our circumstances last. One way to have financial freedom is to figure out what got you in the situation in the first place, and don’t do it again. Seems simple enough, right? Once your outstanding bills are paid off, don’t start a new balance. The money that was used to pay on those monthly bills can now go into a savings account/emergency fund. If you ever find yourself in an emergency, you’ll have a nest egg to dig into instead of swiping a card and accumulating debt again. You must start practicing good habits to replace the bad ones. In due time, you will have trained yourself to act more financially responsible, and ultimately be stress-free.
Meditation scripture: 1 Corinthians 10:11
- Sacrifice and develop discipline: This is simple—stop spending! Jesus said in Luke 9:23 (AMPC) to lose sight of yourself and your desires and follow Him. Jesus died so you can be prosperous, and to do that, you must crucify your fleshly desires and follow God’s will, which does not include being stressed. God will always take care of you if you do your part. Psalm 37:4 says to delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. To have what Jesus died to give you will require sacrifice, patience, and waiting on His timing, which requires discipline. Your flesh wants what it wants when it wants it. It is up to you whether you want temporary satisfaction with stress, or waiting until God blesses you with what you want. The solution is simple, but it’s the flesh that must be tamed and the mind that must be disciplined.
Meditation scripture: Hebrews 12:11
This is a lot to take in I know, but God planned for you to have a life that you can enjoy (see John 10:10). It’s hard to enjoy life if you are stressed out all the time. God’s way is always the better way, so apply His Word and His principles over your own and watch Him do a work in your life that will lead to less stress and financial freedom.