By Stephen Phinney

Many of our financial moves are based upon our lack of trust in God, the Father, having Sovereign control over our past, present, and future. In fact, debt is rooted in the fear that if we don’t control our present, then our future will become gainfully out of control. Fear of the future causes people to make rash decisions, which oftentimes require years of slavery. Whether we are spenders, hoarders, or both – fear is certainly one of the most expensive choices in the entire universe.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that’ " (James 4:13-15, NASB).

My experience is that most men live and breathe this deception. They get up each day ready to wage war with the marketplace, trying to make a profit. How many people do we know that are NOT caught up in this lie? Most men look at life in general through the eyeglasses of profit. Occasionally I will meet someone who really and honestly believes that “if God wills it – I will do it.” Part of this dynamic is because men are called by God to be providers; but when we step over into illusive self-confidence, we activate God’s obligatory actions of showing us that we are only vapors that are soon to vanish. The sooner we embrace the truth that we have no control over the past, present, and future; the closer we will be to peace.

I AM MY OWN BOSS: The problem with the goal mentality of engaging in business to make a profit is that it gives the temporary illusion of independence from God’s authority. Once a person starts living this illusive lie, his decisions begin to “shortchange” God’s passionate desire to be his provider. God will allow the illusion to wear the person down, until his dream becomes a nightmare. God doesn’t want His children to feel that they are in control of their own lives – or dare to think they can form their own version of authority! ALL authority that does exist, exists because of God – for He is authority. The word authority means the “author who acts.” If we take this meaning to be literal, and we should, anyone who makes up his own version of authority is committing the same sin Satan did right before he was tossed out of Heaven. He thought he was God.

Retaining the position of not needing the wisdom that God gives His authority figures (patriarchs, fathers, pastors, and counselors), nor the wisdom of God Himself (directly through His written Word) is the result of a person living like this. A mind-set like this literally condemns God and confesses that one is an arrogant person who is practicing sin.

“But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:16-17, NASB).

Most define sin as an action that purposes to side against God, like stealing. Few define it as not doing something. Once God shows us the right thing to do and we simply don’t do it, we are practicing SIN. There are many walking around in sin, 24/7. When a man confuses this principle, God typically begins withholding funds, and for good reason. I must say though, most take this as a challenge and try all the harder to “beat the system.” God’s response: He fixes a bigger fix to stop the person from fixing the fix that God has fixed on him. No need to panic; this is a sign that God is in the process of evaluating our lives, our plans for His money, and ultimately, our faith in Him.

People who mishandle God’s money, and I’m not talking about the tithe, cause undue pressure upon those who are supposedly dependent on them for leadership, provision, and protection. These individuals are quick to use “their authority” to rule others, but are quicker to rebel when it comes to authority figures in their lives. This is why followers do not trust them and find it almost impossible to follow and obey them. Your average follower knows that the hardship and consequences the leader incurs can transfer to the dependents. The emotive burden of this factor is so overwhelming, in most cases, it leads to a divorce – either personally or businesswise. Debt is a generational fixture; it is passed like a torch from one generation to the next. It is only selfish leaders who do not put an end to this oppressive factor.

BLOCKING GOD’S PROTECTION AND PROVISION: The simple fact is: all God really wants is for each of us to submit to Him as Abba Father. It really is a simple plan – He is the Father and we are His children. When we begin to function as spiritual sons and daughters, He begins supernaturally showing His power through the lives of His children (us). If the child is more comfortable serving under the “father of lies,” well, that is exactly what He allows. Everyone needs a daddy and everyone submits to one. The question then becomes, “Who’s your daddy?”

The big difference between the two “daddies” is that Satan wants “his kids” to think they are the boss, while he leads them around by the ring in their noses. God, on the other hand, will never sit back and allow His child to think, fall, or function in independence. God, as a Father, will never share His glory with anyone. Satan shares his glory all day long with those who do not have a pure heart. But in the end, he will call in all those who are in debt to him. In those days he (Satan) will require full loyalty, submission, and obedience; even from the most rebellious types in the world. Every tough guy has a breaking point – even Satan. That is why I have such compassion for the bullies of the world. God and Satan know that they (bullies) are scared little nobodies who demand to be somebody.

DROWNING IN DESTRUCTION: When we are enslaved to the enemy through debt, it blocks us from experiencing the full blessings of the living God. The primary reason we buy things on, or off, credit is that we believe these things will benefit our lives, even though deep down inside we know they are unnecessary. As any good father, He limits our funding so we cannot purchase such temporary fixes. When we move through His barriers and purchase them anyway, ON CREDIT, we are confessing to James 4:

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3, NASB).

Wouldn’t God be as a fool if He gave funding to us to purchase “things” for selfish pleasure? Since God will never be as a fool, we can be assured He will do what He is able to stop us from purchasing selfishly. If we decide to push through the blockage, then a new dimension to God’s guidance opens up to us.

“But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction” (1 Timothy 6:9, NASB).

Here is the key: God faithfully puts the road blocks in place while we are yet on the road. But when we push through the barrier and fall into the hole of temptation, He steps back and allows the consequences (ruin and destruction) of our fall to be the temporary father to parent us. This kind of discipline seems to be harsh and unreasonable at first. But those who learn to endure by it will ultimately grow in righteousness.