THREE: Points of Financial Freedom

By Stephen Phinney

The impulse to buy is something most people struggle with, but few realize the bondage that accompanies these impulses. The market place provides so many opportunities to trap us into becoming undisciplined in our shopping habits. We want, we see, and we buy. Many times it can be as "candy coated" as the purchase of candy itself. God wants us to have the discernment of the Holy Spirit in all our purchases. The problem is as old as the garden itself. One example is when Eve purchased fruit with the price of her soul. We must reject all that which appeals to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of our lives (1 John 2:16).

SWINDLERS: The first and foremost problem that needs to be addressed is that of recognizing and rejecting the swindler himself, Satan. No being knows the marketplace better than our enemy. He is a shrewd businessman that uses earthly swindlers to place people in bondage – primarily, those who make claims to be in the Kingdom of God. A swindler, as depicted in man's reality, gives very few evidences of his deception. This con artist is usually friendly, personable, and enthusiastic about their product or in how we can make large sums of money by "buying into" their product. His, or her, technique is to get us to focus on the business aspects, or profits, of their demise. But, God wants us to focus on the warning signs of deception. If we do this, He will find a way to reveal the way of deliverance from such tricks of the trade.

“To deliver you from the way of evil, from the man who speaks perverse things” (Proverbs 2:12, NASB).

God will deliver us, but we must know the ways of a swindler. History has proven that women tend to struggle with impulse buying over that of men. I am not convinced that is the case in God's reality. Men tend to purchase BIGGER toys that cost more; whereas, women do tend to make smaller purchases more frequently. What is true about both male and female is statistics prove that female salespersons are more difficult to turn down - at least for men. This problem roots itself as far back as the Garden of Eden. Why did man say yes to the dress? Well, that is the million dollar question isn't it? Because of Adam defaulting to Eve in the garden, man has had a generational problem of saying NO to woman. Many men have told me through the years that if the little woman is happy, I am happy. The price tag of Adamic default is enslavement. Adam was disciplined by God because of this single factor of disobedience.

Then to Adam He said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it'; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life” (Genesis 3:17, NASB).

I am by no means putting the blame on the woman - on the contrary. In fact, I am putting full responsibility on the man. God disciplined Adam because he listened to the voice of his wife. The weaknesses that Adam and Eve suffered while in the garden are the same weaknesses men and women struggle with today. Satan is still appealing (tempting) through the woman to appeal to the default of man - giving into the voice of his woman instead of listening to God. That puts the responsibility on the man to establish clear boundaries of spending for his entire household. Women are to spend freely within those boundaries. It is an issue of Patriarchy, leadership, and roles defined by the Holy Scriptures.

I have counseled hundreds of men through the years. I have found that most men buy their BIG toys because their wives spend on impulse. It is almost like he uses her shoe shopping as an excuse to buy his boat. Therefore, he continues to allow her cycle of small purchases to justify putting his family in debt; thinking that she will then be silent when it comes to his impulse purchases. This is not Godly logic or reason.

I know that we can't pigeonhole every family into this formula, but overall, I personally believe it is a primary tactic Satan uses to place the whole family into self-justified debt.

BEST BUY: A significant part of financial freedom is getting the best buy; but getting the best buy is not always justifiable to God. Getting a Godly good buy requires taking the time and effort to do research. That means walking away from purchases which do not measure up to the predetermined standards of God. This means knowing exactly what we want and seeing if it meets the checklist of how to spend God's funds. “God buys” are a result of a disciplined life of knowing God and His guidelines of spending.

RECORD KEEPING: God is an Accountant! If He records every word that proceeds out of the mouth of man, surely He is recording how we are spending, or stewarding, His resources. If we are to prosper under the guidelines of Heaven, we must be wise in our planning, be diligent in working towards the purchase, and accurately recording the expenditures of God's bank account. This way, if the Master, God, requires an account of His resources, we will be ready to present an accurate account of how we spent our Master's investment.

LENDING: Another downfall of many men is that of lending with interest and cosigning on loans of family and friends. If borrowing money makes us a servant to the lender, then lending money to a family member, or friend, forces that one to become our servant - that is, if the Bible is correct. Since we know that the Word of God is True, we need to be very careful about making slaves out of our familiar loved ones. When you "loan" - you need to loan under the guideline of not expecting it back. If your new servant pays you back, you are blessed. If they don't, in your eyes, and in the eyes of God, you are still free. Loaning money for profit is NOT a Biblical principle. Our world hinges on this lie and it IS what makes the world turn, at least financially. It is also the technique the Antichrist will use to prosper the world's economy and place the people in a slave position to him. He will be the banker to the up and coming global banking system. God expects us to give to those who are in need. Cosigning and loaning with interest means bondage to the one for whom you signed, and also potential bondage to the lender (Prov. 6:1-3).

DOMESTIC: Those who discover God's Miraculous Plan of Economy prepare their homes for education, medical recovery, the care for elderly family members, housing, food, and clothing. The patriarch of the family will spiritually train up his children and grandchildren to be the providers for their own homes, without going into debt to do it. This will certainly require the leader of the home to become educated on the guidelines of spending, according to the Word of God.

GOOD NAME: One of the most difficult principles of financial freedom is that of choosing a good name rather than great riches. Scriptures show us that broken commitments, secret sins, not taking care of widows, dishonoring parents, and taking revenge are just a few of the sins that get in the way of God caring for His children. If a person of pride thinks he can care for his family without the Hand of God, He most likely will allow the downfall of such thinking. God would prefer for us to put our emphasis on being of good reputation or having a good name - one that the generations that follow us can inherit (Malachi 3:10).

PRAYER: A principle that continues to be a struggle for me is that financial freedom is in knowing how to receive resources from God through prayer. God is pleased when His children call on Him for help. If you're like most humans, when wealth increases, or even stabilizes, it becomes easy to cease depending on God. That proves our independence and reason for wanting the wealth to start with. The answer is in a dependent prayer life with our Lord. Pray about everything and I mean everything, a habit that challenges me to this very hour (Eph. 3:20).

PARNERSHIPS:  A temptation many men struggle with is that of becoming a partner in ventures in order to gain prosperity. The reason why this is not Biblical is it places both parties in enslavement to each other. When one falls, they both fall. It is deceptive thinking that the end justifies the means. Even though the technique works well in the lives of the wealthy, the average business and family usually end up in bankruptcy over such unbiblical practices. It would behoove us to review Daniel 1:8.

LAZINESS: There is no other way to label those who invest in get rich quick schemes. Attempting to live and prosper without working for it is viewed by God as a slothful workman. He placed the discipline on man to work by the sweat of his brow (Gen. 3:17-19) and this is what He expects from the man. Anything short of this, unless it is an inheritance or gift, is strongly classified by God as irresponsible living. Over the years of being in ministry, I have had countless offers to join multilevel marketing (facing words for schemes), and in every case, God has lead me back to Luke 12:19.

LISTENING TO OUR WIVES:  For many of us that are married, listening to our wives (not obeying), can be one of our greatest challenges. Many domestic financial disasters are a result of not paying close attention to our wives’ female instincts. Our wives function much like the Holy Spirit; they have an uncanny ability to discern what is not wise for the family's welfare. She is our "one flesh" and men cannot function without our helpmate, unless we are in full dependence on God. God gave her to us to complete us - even in our financial decisions.

INHERITANCE: True financial freedom comes to a household when the patriarch knows how to pass on a spiritual, relational, and financial heritage. God gave us the principle of inheritance in order to pass on the Truths of His Kingdom, into all areas entrusted to man. From what we can discover in the Word, His purpose of inheritance is to strengthen family life and multiply the investments made by the previous generation. These are God's vital signs for the family: spiritual education, more children, health care, provision, caring for the elderly, family businesses, and having a good name. Proverbs 13:22 tells us that: A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children. He goes on to say in Proverbs 20:21 that: An inheritance may be received in haste at the beginning; but the end there is a blessing. For many of us, we may not be able to leave a boatload of cash, but we can teach our children's children how to manage the inheritance of God's resources - whatever that might entail.

IN OUR NEXT ENTRY, we will be discussing the Seven Principles of Financial Freedom and what the Scriptures have to say about them.