As you know, we’re big fans of planning. That’s because having a plan is the best way to meet your financial goals — or any goals for that matter. The question is how to make sure your plans line up with God’s will for your life. That’s important because if you’re a Christian, and Jesus is your Lord, you know his plans are the best.
In fact, it says in Proverbs 19:21 that “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will succeed.”
The purpose of the Lord will succeed, so it’s worth finding out what He wants. How do you do that?
Well, his Word tells us. Micah 6:8 says, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Proverbs 3:5-7 is another passage that gives us a clue about God’s will for his people:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.”
So, can submitting your ways to God help you plan for retirement, or save up for a car, or plan a vacation? Well, you might not receive a note from the Almighty telling you which car to buy, but if you’re committed to living by biblical standards, you will certainly experience greater peace and confidence about your choices.
Here’s the bottom line: We focus on whatever has eternal value. In other words, “Seek first the Kingdom of God.” When you’re “trusting in the Lord with all your heart,” as you pray, read his Word, and submit your financial plans to him, God will direct you into His will. That doesn’t mean things will always be easy, but they will be godly.
Sometimes, when you’re praying for God’s will to be done, and trusting the Lord for guidance, you might still need a bit of practical advice from someone you trust. After all, seeking wise counsel is a biblical idea. Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”
That said, we have some biblical counsel for your plans in the areas of saving, debt, and employment.
BIBLICAL TIPS RELATED TO SAVING, DEBT, AND EMPLOYMENT
First, saving. Paying for college, retirement, or a home purchase can mean many years of diligent saving. This takes patience and commitment. Our advice is to set a target amount and figure out how much you’ll need to put away each month. Put that money where it will earn the most interest, and ask God to give you the discipline to stay on track.
For retirement, be sure to max out any savings options offered by your employer. Or get going on your own with a traditional or Roth I-R-A. For college saving, we like 529 plans.
What if you’re getting a late start with your saving? You might be afraid you won’t meet your goals because your timeline is shorter. Our first suggestion is: Don’t worry. The Bible assures us that we do not need to worry about having our needs met. Our God is “Jehovah Jireh”, our provider, who cares for the sparrows of the field, and even more for you and me.
Besides saving, another big goal you might have is Eliminating Debt. This is another area where you need a plan. Figure out exactly what you owe, and make a plan to pay it off. Pay off one debt at a time, then apply the payment amount to the next debt. If you need more help, we recommend you visit ChristianCreditCounselors.org. We do not recommend debt consolidation or debt settlement.
Share your goals with trusted friends or family, so they can encourage you, and celebrate your successes along the way!
Remember the Bible says, “The borrower is servant to the lender”, and keep your debt-free goal in sight. Above all, don’t be discouraged. Ask the Lord to help you break any bad habits, and get the advice and support you need.
The third area where you might need financial advice is Employment. Are you unemployed or under-employed? To improve your earning power, you’ll need a new job, or possibly a promotion in your current job. One way to reach these goals is to get training and improve your skills.
Be sure to network – and talk to your job contacts often. Your persistence and enthusiasm will earn you employment brownie points! You’ll also need to update your resume, of course, and practice your interview skills.
Ultimately, as we said at the start, when you focus first on the things that have eternal value, the purpose of the Lord will prevail in your financial life.
On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions:
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