The Truth About Money. That’s a pretty hefty title, and I have to admit, I’m a little intimidated by it even though I’m the one who came up with it! But that’s what we’re after: the Truth. We are not just trying to become DEBT-FREE for the sake of being DEBT-FREE; we are contending for a complete change in our mindset toward money, and that, my friends, is where we will find true freedom.
So this month we’re going to dig into Proverbs with an attitude that we specifically want more knowledge about money and how we are to handle it wisely.
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
This verse does not explicitly talk about money, but boy is it appropriate. You see, there are all kinds of self-help books about how to get out of debt, how to handle money, how to build wealth, but do you want to know what the real secret is to all of these things? It’s in that verse up there: it’s the fear of the LORD. The only fear that will produce true and lasting wisdom in you, and that wisdom is not just about money but about every area of life. We’re just in a season in which money is the tool being used by God to produce wisdom in us, and I’m guessing that if you are following this blog, you might be in a similar season!
So let’s unpack this a little:
The fear of the Lord- Mike and I were just asking ourselves last night: what does it mean to fear the Lord. Well, it does not mean to live in terror of Him. The Bible also says that “God is love,” and that “perfect love drives out fear.” No, fear here means to honor or worship. The fear of the Lord is a lifestyle that seeks out the Kingdom of God first and not the Kingdom of this World, or the Kingdom of Wealth and Money. To fear the Lord in the context of money management is to acknowledge His sovereignty first, and to honor Him with every decision.
This certainly makes it easier for us when things get tough financially. We acknowledge that our money (or lack of it) is in the hand of God. This may seem silly, but I really think it’s true: He is responsible for our bills. He is responsible for our income. We don’t sit around and do nothing, but in the end, we trust that He has a perfect plan for us, and that everything that happens, good or bad, happens for a reason. He is producing glory in us, and that just could not happen without learning to sacrifice and endure even in the midst of trial.
Fools despise wisdom- there is a footnote in Biblegateway on the Proverbs 1:7 page that says, “The Hebrew words rendered fool in Proverbs, and often elsewhere in the Old Testament, denote a person who is morally deficient.” Say that again??? Fool= one who is morally deficient. The one who rejects God’s wisdom is morally deficient. The Hebrew writer of this Proverb is saying that it is not just “a good idea” to fear the Lord and seek knowledge and wisdom (aka- spend time learning and seeking out truth), it signifies an area of immorality in our lives if we do not seek these things out!
And let me be the first to admit- I do not do this well. In fact, I am only just now learning to seek out wisdom and knowledge concerning finances. Who knows how many other areas of my life there are in which I do not seek out knowledge and wisdom, and I have no idea about it! But I have a desire to learn. I have a desire for those places in my heart to be exposed, and I think that is all the Lord really searches for. “Seek, knock, ask” he admonishes us, time and time again.
So- what is wisdom? You want to know something cool I learned! Wisdom in the Old Testament actually meant something like “skill.” Like a craftsman or a goldsmith- they would have wisdom in making fine furniture or clothing or jewelry. How cool is that?? I want to have the skill of managing money! And like any skill- it does not just come naturally. There will be work and sacrifice asked of me, but it will be so very worth it!
The proper perspective: So, according to my understanding of this Proverbs, the only way to get out of the cycle of debt (and death) is to have a wholesale change in my perspective of who God is, and to learn how to live a lifestyle of fear, or honor, toward Him. Having that perspective certainly forces you to think more about your resources and where they should go.
Is my money being wasted on my own desires and ambitions? Is it rotting away in a savings account? Not that these things are inerhently evil- I do both of them myself! But what is the heart motivation behind each? Is God giving me resources because He wants to use me as an instrument of blessing to others? Am I closed fisted, or do I freely give, even when it hurts, because I have a proper perspective of who God is in my life?
How about you? Ask yourself these questions! We are…and we’re learning just how much we have yet to learn. And while you are at it- read through Proverbs 1-3. Tomorrow we are going to talk more about wisdom and why one would choose to live this life of learning and sacrifice rather than the “easy” life of just doing what comes naturally- living for myself and doing what I want when I want to, and putting it all on credit!
Read more Truth About Money here!