The Big Test
If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
— Luke 16:11
Was getting your finances in shape one of your New Year’s resolutions? Do you wish you had more money available to give to the Gospel? Do you long to be free of the credit-card debt that has a hold on your life? Do you allow debt to keep you from being obedient to God in the area of tithes and offerings?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to know you shouldn’t feel alone, because most of the world, including the Christian community, longs for more financial freedom and less debt.
The fact is, most of the world is in financial debt. Nations are in debt; families are in debt; churches are in debt. But you don’t have to fall into this pattern of slavery and bondage. You can be financially free if you really want freedom in this area. You just have to realize that to get free and stay free will require a firm commitment on your part to make some tough decisions regarding your spending habits.
Many people declare they want to be financially free. But when it’s time to say no to something they really want to buy and to wait until later when they can pay cash for it, their flesh cries out to have it now!
But that is when the true level of your commitment becomes evident. At that time, you must decide: Will you stick with your commitment to exercise discipline and self-control and thereby stay debt-free or avoid incurring new debt? Or will you succumb to the flesh and make that purchase using your credit card, thereby adding to your debt load? It may be difficult to stick with your commitment to do what it takes to become free of debt. But if you’ll exercise discipline and self-control in these types of decisions, afterward you’ll be happy you did when you’re on a solid foundation in your finances! And you’ll never stop thanking God for helping you do what you committed to do until you reached your goal — financial freedom for life!
For most people, credit is easy to get; all they need to do is apply for a credit card. It’s also easy to use! But it isn’t so easy to get free from the debt that builds up from using it. It’s all so convenient and so deceiving as the message is hurled at people, “Why delay purchasing what you want now when you can charge it, enjoy it, and pay for it later?” But the reality is that debt is a destroyer if not properly managed, as is evidenced by the nearly two million credit-card holders who declare bankruptcy each year in the United States. And one of the largest contributors to these bankruptcies is last-minute, emotional spending on credit cards.
So — do you really wish you had more available money to give to the Gospel or to meet the needs of others? Do you long to be free from the load of debt that has a hold on your life? Are you burdened by the struggle to pay your tithe?
If your answer is yes, it’s time to ask God for specific wisdom regarding what needs to be adjusted in your life. For instance, do you owe too much money to creditors because you didn’t exercise discipline and wait to make certain purchases? Do you carry a balance on your credit card and pay a large amount of monthly interest to your creditors?
If you were free of credit debt, you would have more money to give to the Gospel and to meet the needs of others. And if you weren’t paying so much interest to your creditors, it would be much easier for you to obey God with your tithes and offerings — which would remove any guilt you carry in your soul from feeling like you’re robbing Him and His Kingdom.
You probably don’t have a real picture of how much you’re paying in interest each month, so it would be good for you to take a look at your monthly bills, add up how much you’re paying in interest, and see how much money you’re throwing away each month on those interest payments. This situation of compounded interest is so serious in the United States that the total amount of finance charges paid annually is astronomical! At the time I am writing this book, consumer debt is completely out of control! European debt is growing at a similar pace. This means there are very few people in this world who are financially free.
But just because the rest of the world has fallen into this trap and so many people live like this doesn’t mean you have to remain trapped in the prison of debt. The truth is, how you handle your finances is a very spiritual issue. According to Luke 16:11, your finances — how you manage and respect them — is a test God uses to assess whether or not you are ready for higher levels of blessing, prosperity, responsibility, and authority. Jesus clearly taught that God watches how you manage your money and that this helps Him determine if you are ready for promotion. This is precisely what Jesus meant in Luke 16:11 when He said, “If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”
Pay attention, because it is very important for you to understand what Jesus was telling us in this verse. In the Greek New Testament, the word “faithful” used in this verse is the word pistoi, which paints a picture of someone who is known to be faithful, responsible, conscientious, and trustworthy — in contrast to a person who is impetuous, thoughtless, rash, irresponsible, and therefore not trustworthy. This verse could be interpreted to mean: “If you are impetuous, thoughtless, rash, irresponsible, and untrustworthy with unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?”
The word “unrighteous” is from the Greek word adikia, which in this verse is used to convey the idea of something unspiritual, common, worldly, or something that belongs to the realm of human beings. The word “mammon” is the word mamonas, a very old Greek word that denotes money or wealth. When these words “unrighteous mammon” are used together as they are in this verse, it means common, worldly money. It refers to money with all of its buying power in this earthly sphere. In this verse it means, “If you are impetuous, thoughtless, rash, irresponsible, and untrustworthy with money and all of its buying power in this earthly realm, who will commit to your trust the TRUE riches?”
When Jesus refers to “true riches,” the word “true” is the Greek word alethinos, which means true, real, bona fide, genuine, indisputable, or authentic. You see, money seems so powerful in this earthly realm with all of its buying power, but it’s nothing compared to the power of God! Heavenly power and heavenly riches far surpass the power and authority of money. For those who have proven themselves faithful and reliable, God will upgrade the level of spiritual power and authority that operates through them. But according to Jesus’ words in Luke 16:11, before God upgrades this level of spiritual power and authority in a person’s life, first He watches to see how the person manages money. That’s the big test!
If you aren’t faithful, responsible, and trustworthy with money, which is the lowest form of power in this earthly realm, why would God promote you into greater levels of spiritual power, responsibility, and authority?
Your money — how you handle it, how you manage it, and what you do with it — is far more important than you’ve ever realized. It’s good that you want to get your finances in shape this year and get out of debt, but you need to know that what you do with your money is a big test. God is watching to see how you are managing it, and what you are doing with it. If He finds you faithful with money, He will know you can be trusted with real spiritual riches that are unequaled in power.
So determine to listen to the Spirit of God, use common sense, exercise self-control, and plan your purchases in advance. As you do, you will begin to live a life that becomes freer and freer of debt — until the day arrives when you are out from under that burden completely! It will take determination to do it, but if you really want to become debt-free and remain free, there is a way for you to achieve it!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Lord, I am so thankful that You have spoken to my heart today about my finances. The Holy Spirit has been speaking to my heart about getting my finances into better shape, and I now see how crucial it is that I pass this very important test. I want You to trust me with promotion to higher levels of responsibility, authority, and spiritual power. Therefore, I ask You to help me prove myself trustworthy by demonstrating my readiness for promotion by the way I handle my finances. Thank You for granting me divine wisdom, strategies, and strength to help me stay the course until I am finally debt-free!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I listen to the Spirit of God. I have the mind of Christ, and I walk in divine wisdom concerning finances in my life. I will exercise self-control, and I am disciplined in all things. I plan my purchases in advance and practice restraint so I can live a debt-free life. I am determined to remain free with the Holy Spirit’s help. I make the decision to get my finances in order. Therefore, I diligently manage my money, and I spend it with prudence. As a result, I pass this test that is so important in the eyes of God.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Do you know how much money you are spending on interest every month? Have you ever taken a look at all your credit cards, lines of credit, and other forms of debt to see how much money you are “throwing away” each month that could be used in other ways if you were not in debt?
- Do you pay your tithe on your income? Are you able to support other ministries as the Holy Spirit leads you, or does your debt burden keep you from being the blessing you really want to be?
- What specific steps come to mind that you could start taking today to get on the path that leads to financial freedom? Write those steps down, and then continue to add to the list as God gives you wisdom. Trust Him to help you develop a “getting out of debt” plan that works as you focus on reaching this all-important goal this year. Then determine to stick to the plan!