By Stephen Phinney

God has established financial principles for us that are not optional, but requirements, if we want to live according to the Divine Word of Truth. If we choose NOT to live by these simple principles, we will view money as a personal possession that can be obtained by our own resources. The result is a self-reliant life; this gains the attention of a God who cares enough to put us in our place.

If we view these seven principles as mandates, we will find long-term freedom in our personal, professional, and spiritual life.

ONE - SPIRITUAL ACCEPTANCE: A man or woman who does not accept their position of being a child of the King or rejects the ways of God, will suffer with overwhelming feelings of inferiority or self-rejection. The negative results of not accepting your position in Christ will often, if not always, manifest itself in self-indulgent spending, or attempting to buy things in order to make yourself feel better about your "self-image." This is the most common form of spending. This can show its ugly head through the purchases of boats, cars, clothes, houses, or by merely "bargain buying." Knowing who you are in Christ, your identity, is critical in being a Godly steward of the King's resources.

TWO - EMBRACING AUTHORITY: It is impossible for a man to steward God's resources if he does not place himself under God's authority. This is practically done through submitting yourself to a mentor that God has entrusted to oversee your life, as well as, to the written Word itself. This is why He gives us spiritual fathers/leaders. People make independent decisions with their finances because they ARE independent.

Most of the people in our postmodern world are not quick to place themselves under God given authority. Authority has become a "nasty" word in our society. Followers tend to only submit themselves to "authority figures" that have proven themselves to be wise. That is not the original mandate given to us by God. Authority is authority. If the authority asks us to do something immoral, ungodly, or illegal, we are to say NO to that particular request. If the authority is asking us to do things that are within the boundaries of the Word of God, we are to wholeheartedly say YES and go do it quickly. This is a practice lost within the pages of Biblical living. The only way to break a man of independence is through dependence.

“Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable” (1 Peter 2:18, NASB).

THREE - A CLEAR CONSCIENCE: People who suffer with a foggy conscience will lower the standards of God to fix their morbid beliefs. Once this occurs, a lifestyle of compromise will fill that follower’s heart and mind with worldly fables. He then can only trust in his own judgment in how to spend God's resources. The guilt that is experienced by a believer like this, will spur him on to spending even more on fruitless possessions. I Timothy 1:19 (NASB) says:

“Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.”

A man, or woman, who does NOT have a clear conscience, will end up with a shipwreck of a life.

FOUR - FORGIVING: The terms forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration are Biblical words to define a balanced Christian life. They are also financial terms used in the Word. To accurately handle ourselves with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we must accurately handle our resources from God in like manner. If we are quick to forgive an individual for hurting us, we will be just as quick to forgive their debt against us. God graced us - we grace them. If we do not forgive others for the pain that has been trusteed upon us, we certainly will not be quick to forgive them of what they "owe" us. Financial freedom equals spiritual freedom. It is that simple. God has also called us to the ministry of reconciliation. That not only means go to our brother to reconcile hurt and blame, but it also includes our finances. To truly reconcile with someone, we must count the cost of loss. We are required by God to let go of any harbored feelings or debt we hold on them. Restoration is restoring the relationship by whatever means God requires of us. Many times, this means releasing someone of the debt against us. The terms of the Gospel are the same terms used in financial freedom (Heb. 12:15-17).

FIVE - I HAVE NO RIGHTS: Only the meek inherit the earth. A meek person is one who has yielded his rights to demand what is right. They quietly wait for the Hand of God to demand His rights. Meek people diligently work to wait for the right time to proclaim the Words of God - not demand it! Those who demand payment are never satisfied with the payment. They usually want a pound of flesh, as they say. Proud people (not meek) enjoy watching people squirm their way into humility. Most lenders find more gratification in the enslavement they create, than they do in being paid in full. This is a technique the Antichrist will use in the final days. Debt equals bondage and bondage requires service.

SIX - MORALITY: Anyone who violates God's principles of morality, sooner or later, becomes a slave to immorality. I believe the primary reason for all the immorality in the world today is because people refuse to respect, and obey, the laws of God's morality. Being moral is not a sexual concept. Being moral is accepting the purity of the guidelines of a moral and just God. As long as the people of this world violate God's principles of finances, there will be immorality. You can count on it.

SEVEN - CALLING: People wander because they have no purpose and people without a purpose have not embraced their calling. When a man or woman of God commits themselves to God's Holy and Righteous purpose for being on this earth, they will properly steward the resources of God. This can only happen when you and I seek first God's Kingdom and His Righteousness. Once we do this, He will add all these things in and unto our lives (Matt. 6:33).

There you have it - the Seven Principles of Financial Freedom. I am not one for making promises UNLESS the promises are backed by our Living God. This I do promise you; if you adhere to these seven principles, you WILL be financially free.

IN OUR NEXT ENTRY:  The signs and symptoms of being in financial bondage.