If you live in the united states, our culture could be described in one word; “Consumerism”. You cannot drive less than 5 minutes before you get bombarded with the call to “consume“. In fact, many of us can’t leave our own home without seeing a barrage of ads telling us we need something.
Almost everything that is made to be seen or heard are filled with advertisements conveying a message of “you need this”. Pay attention the rest of your day and you will see it; the post in the mail, any magazine,almost any radio show and anything on television.
When we are told something over and over and over again, it begins to transform our thinking and we begin to believe it. And when we believe it, we consume. In fact, we consume so much that a second word almost always ensues; Debt.
In fact, debt has infiltrated our mindset so much that we seem to believe it’s as much of an individual reality as someone needing oxygen to breathe.
Consumerism capitalizes on the fact that we actually do need things. It is not wrong for businesses to market themselves or their products towards us. The problem is that we can’t wait for it. We don’t save for it. Instead, we get it now. We come up with up with words like “credit” or “finance” to dull the sting of debt.
Well here are two verses for you from Proverbs 22:
Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is slave to the lender.
We have been taught from a young age that debt is a way of life. We live beyond our means, then we become a slave to the lender. As Americans, we earn substantially more than most people in others countries…but we spend it all…and then some. Because of this, we live in a constant state of instability, insecurity and fear. It is no surprise then that finances happen to be one of the leading causes for divorce.
Here is another verse for you:
1 Timothy 6:6
Calling all Christians
If you are a Christian, I am calling you out right now. We are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, a city on a hill that cannot be hidden (see Matthew 5:13-16)…we have to be different. Every aspect of our lives need to point to Christ. How we handle our finances is no exception. We need to actually handle money the way the Bible tells us we should handle it.
Romans 12:2a says “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.“
We need to change our behavior. We have to renew our mind.
Maybe you have heard of Financial Peace University. It is a biblically based curriculum that teaches people how to handle money God’s ways. My wife and I have gone through FPU a twice now. It has given us a unified purpose with our finances that goes beyond consumerism. FPU has helped more than 2 million families change their lives. I strongly encourage EVERYONE (yes, even you; the person who handles money just fine.) to go through the curriculum.
Handling money God’s way doesn’t mean we keep nothing for ourselves or our family. In fact, it is quite the contrary. Proverbs 13:22a says “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children…” and 1 Timothy 5:8 says “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.“
One local hero that I really look up to here in northern California is Larry Dahl. He is the founder of the drive through oil change company “Oilstop” and the car wash division “Wash2Go“. He founded his company with a philosophy directly from scripture; “We will serve people with excellence, humbly, with a servant’s heart.” Larry has found tremendous success handling business God’s ways.
Ultimately, we as Christians need to break out of the consumer mindset. We need turn to scripture to get instructions on all areas of our lives, including business and finances. We need to get out of debt so we no longer live in bondage, but free in order to do the work of Christ.