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Managing Your Money In Light Of The Gospel Part 4: Motivated By A Future Reward!

by KNS Financial on June 21, 2011

This is our fourth, and final, article in a series that takes a look at how a proper understanding of the gospel should influence how we manage our finances. In the first article, we examined the fact that we are now slaves of Christ, and merely stewards of God’s resources. Then, in the second article, we took a look at our response to God’s grace – gratitude – and how it should shape our financial management.

Then in the third article, we began to look at our command to be imitators of Christ, and how we should be willing to give up all for the sake of God and others. Here are a few of the things that we took a look at:

The gospel is a call to faith and obedience, in which we are empowered to be imitators of Christ! In a number of places in the New Testament, we find this command:

Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” ~ 1 Corinthians 11:1

“You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit” ~ 1 Thessalonians 1:6

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children” ~ Ephesians 5:1

We are saved by God’s grace – in part, being transformed from being salves to sin, to now being slaves of Christ. Thankfully, God has also given us His Holy Spirit, in part to aid in our sanctification! That means that we are now being conformed to the image of Christ, and we are commanded to be imitators of Christ!

Besides being willing to give up all that He had, there is another aspect of Christ’s earthly life, which we should seek to imitate (especially when it comes to managing our money):

He Focused On The Joy Set Before Him…

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. ~ Hebrews 12:2

Jesus was able to endure the shame of the cross (our sinless Lord bearing the sin of all those who would ever believe) because He was focused on “the joy set before Him“! This joy involved completing the Father’s will, His exaltation, and also being able to “make [us] stand in the presence of His glory with great joy” (Jude 24).

Managing Our Money In Light Of Our Future Reality

Just like Jesus, we need to be able to focus on our future reality, even as we go through struggles in this life. He was able to endure all sufferings, because He knew what was waiting for Him! Paul tells us that we should have the same motivations while going through this life:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. ~ Romans 8:18

We will one day be glorified, sinless, and in the presence of God! Nothing that happens to us on earth can compare to that reality! That means that our earthly riches and possessions should mean nothing to us. If we are called to give away everything that we have (whether though trial or choice), God’s promise to provide and care for us should be all we need.

I wrote about this thought recently as I recounted being the victim of a hit-and-run, and considered the true value of possessions:

The things which hold my affection, and are valuable to me should be the heavenly treasures which the bible promises to believers. Along the same lines, there is another thought that has been in my heart lately, and it is expressed in Hebrews 11:13-16:

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own.

And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.

My true home is in heaven, and as such, I know that I am not trying to establish an “empire” here. As Christians, our purpose is not to simply amass a ton of riches and possessions in this life, but we are to honor and glorify God in all that we do (1 Corinthians 10:31). That doesn’t mean that we can’t work hard or have wealth, but it does mean that we can’t make it our goal.

 

Since I am nothing more than an exile and sojourner on this earth, I am content as long as I have enough to sustain me, while I travel to my real home. If I have to drive around in a car that has a huge gash and plenty of dents, then I’m fine with that!

We must realize that money is simply a way for us to provide for ourselves if we are unable to raise our own food, build our own shelter, and make our own clothing. We only need enough to provide our basic necessities while we travel to the heavenly city prepared for us (John 14:1-7)!

This isn’t to say that God hates wealth, or somehow despises wealthy people. In fact, he allowed many to have great wealth (Solomon, Abraham, Jacob, Issac, Joseph, David, etc), and even gave instruction to rich believers (1 Timothy 6:17-19). However, we must be sure to heed the warning found in 1 Timothy 6:6-10:

But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment. For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either. If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. 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.

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Contentment is a word that should define every Christian. We have been given salvation, the indwelling Holy Spirit to aid with sanctification, the promise of our glorification, a home in heaven, and the right to eternal life being face to face with God!

We can’t help but to be content if we continually focus on that reality!

You’ll notice that the following list of practical ways to make these commands a part of your life is very similar to the previous one. That was not an oversight. These basic things will help us to implement much of the teachings and commands in God’s word, even ones that are not related to our financial management.

What You Can Do To Manage Your Finances As An Imitator Of Christ

  • Examine your heart for any areas of pride and selfishness, repent of those sins, and ask God to help you be humble and selfless
  • Study all of the scripture quoted and referred to in this article and meditate on them daily
  • Constantly focus on every aspect the gospel. Make it a part of your prayers, and the major topic of your fellowship
  • Read Hebrews 11 once a month so you can learn what it means to live by faith and focus on our heavenly home
  • Look for opportunities to serve in your local church
  • Make sure that your lifestyle isn’t stopping you from financially supporting your church and/or helping others
  • Make giving the most important line item in your budget
  • Examine all of your purchases and monthly bills, and ask yourself if you can cut back in some areas in order to put God first
  • Read the first three articles in this series and meditate on the scripture listed there
  • If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment, or contact Jason or I directly if it’s a more personal matter

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