The Depths of Financial Freedom
Financial freedom has really been on my mind lately and the more I think about it the more I believe I need to share more about financial freedom. I have posted on experiencing financial freedom before, but God has been revealing the fullness of what financial freedom really is.
To truly understand what financial freedom is we must first understand what freedom is. Merriam-Webster has a list of definitions for freedom to include, “the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action” as well as “liberation from slavery or restraint or from the power of another” and also “unrestricted use.” Understanding these definitions in relation to our relationship with both God and finances is key to truly understanding what financial freedom is.
Freedom in Christ
In order to be truly free in our finances we must first accept the fact that everything we have belongs to God (Heb. 2:10). We must not only accept this as a fact in order to experience true financial freedom, but it must guide how we handle our money. It must guide us when we make purchases, put money aside in savings, and when we give. Sure it is possible to experience a level of financial freedom without accepting Christ as both Lord and Savior, but it is only through Jesus Christ that anyone is truly set free for “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).
Those of us who have chosen to follow Jesus and submit to him as the Lord of our life are no longer slaves to sin and death, but are to live according to the Spirit (Rm. 8:1-4). The problem though is that we often times do not live our lives in the freedom that we have received. Even though we have been freed from the chains of sin and death and from living according to the flesh we continue to do so. We have been set free, but unless we live our lives in such a way that the freedom we have is realized we are missing out on the fullness of the freedom that Christ died for us to have. One of the areas that we fail to live in the fullness of the freedom of Christ is in our finances.
There are three things that we can do with our money and they are: spend, save, and give. In order to experience the fullness of financial freedom we must not be enslaved to any of these three things. Typically spending and debt is the main one that we think about being enslaved to but we can also miss out on freedom in saving and giving as well; all three must be performed in freedom to experience true financial freedom.
Experiencing financial freedom in spending does not mean that we can spend whatever we want to, instead it means that we can spend whatever we want to, but chose not to so that we can experience freedom in our giving and saving as well. Part of experiencing financial freedom in our spending means getting out of debt, another part of it means that we live on a budget. A budget helps us to direct our finances in a thoughtful way versus just spending money when we feel like it. A good budget will contain all three areas of finances; spending, saving, and giving.
Saving money is an area in which we must experience financial freedom. Some people are natural savers and that is their main focus, but if they do not feel like they can ever spend money or be generous with their money then they are in fact enslaved to their spending. They are unable to experience the true joy of giving or spending because of their singular focus on saving. Experiencing financial freedom in our saving means that we are able to spend, save, and give as we are led to do so by God. We can become enslaved to our saving out of a fear for the future or the through the false thought that we can create security in our future if we can only save a certain amount of money. These thoughts often times prevent us from being able to spend and give the way that God has called us to do so.
Generosity or giving is the third area of our finances in which we must be freed. What’s interesting is that generosity actually has positive effects on our health and yet sadly Americans give on average roughly 2% of their income and the average Christian gives less than 2.5% of their income each year. The freedom to be generous with our money requires us to faithfully follow God and to be intentional with our money every single day. Being free to give must be balanced equally with the freedom we experience in our spending and in our saving.
The Process to Financial Freedom
There will be levels of freedom that we can experience on our journey toward financial freedom and we can celebrate and worship God in those times. By creating a budget and sticking to it we will eventually be able to better direct our finances across all three areas. At first there may not be enough funds available to do all three at once, but it should be the goal to achieve as quickly as possible. You may only be able to start saving $5 a month, but you will be saving and at the end of the year you will have $60. You may only be able to give another $5 on top of that, but you will have given even while you are working toward digging your way out of your debt.
As the process continues we must continually re-evaluate where we are and if we are giving and saving enough in relation to our spending. As we draw closer to God through the process and learn that we can be faithful with our money we will be led to be even more faithful in all aspects of our finances. This process will not be easy, but it is completely worth it. We have not reached complete financial freedom yet, but we are on our way and even though we have not made it all the way we are able to be generous in both our regular giving as well as our spontaneous giving as we feel led to give. Our money is not our own, it is God’s, and while we certainly can be tempted to grasp onto it too tightly we must constantly be aware of our motives and what our ultimate goal is.
If you are ready to start down the path of financial freedom maybe you have started already but could use a jump start then contact me today by calling 573-208-4266. It is my desire to share what I have learned along the way and help others realize the fullness of the freedom in their finances that God desires for them to have. This is not a prosperity teaching, even God said that we will always have the poor with us here, but even when we have a little we can be free in our saving and in our giving. It is our level of faithfulness that counts in the eyes of God, not the amount, so please don’t hear me say that financial freedom is only available for the wealthy. In fact I fully believe that it is only those who are wealthy in Christ who will ever experience financial freedom, regardless of the amount that they actually make each year.