Struggling to make ends meet? It’s tough when they keep moving the ends!
A recent article in the Financial Times (https://www.ftadviser.com/your-industry/2022/08/12/tackling-financial-stress-before-it-manifests-into-ill-health/) mentions research which shows that 63% of workers saw their financial situation deteriorate since the start of 2022 and is expected to rise in the months to come. 56 % of UK adults said their finances are now the greatest cause of stress in their lives, while more than a fifth (23%) admitted to losing sleep as a result of financial anxieties.
With energy bills rising quickly, petrol extremely expensive, food prices rising and inflation continuing to soar into double figures, it’s no surprise that many people are experiencing considerable financial stress and anxiety.
Relevant questions are being asked. “How can I make it to the end of the month?” Will I have enough to make future payments? Where is this all leading?
No wonder our daily lives are filled with thinking about money. Money anxiety and worries can take a hold of our lives so very easily. With the economic uncertainty due to the war in Ukraine, our experience with money is reflecting God’s word to Haggai … “Your wages disappear as though you were putting them in pockets filled with holes!” (Haggai 1:6b) They say, ‘money talks,’ but all mine is saying is ‘goodbye!’
Money has a tight hold on our lives. It doesn’t matter if we have little money or more than enough money, it still occupies our waking hours – and even our sleep! We need financial peace – which is independent of how much money we have, or don’t have. Jesus watched an old widow in the Temple, placing het last two small coins in the offer box. I have often wondered what happened next. I cannot imagine that, having absolutely nothing left, she went back home, sat in a corner, depressed and crying waiting to die. I think she went back home rejoicing, because she knew her God would provide for her. Likewise, the believers in that commercial megacity of Corinth were, according to Paul the apostle, “tested by many troubles and very poor.” Nevertheless, ‘they were filled with abundant joy which overflowed in rich generosity. They gave not only what they could afford, but far more.” (2 Corinthians 8:2,3)
Jesus said to His followers, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth, you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) So, in the middle of trials and sorrows, we can experience peace.
The old widow and the believers in Corinth all realized that God was their source of financial peace and not money. I have often said that money will not solve financial problems. It may alleviate the symptoms for a short time, but if we do not change internally, then these problems will come back and bite us again.
Jesus’ promise of peace was given in the middle of teaching about the Holy Spirit which comes to believers and fills them with new life. Peace, in the middle of trouble and uncertainty is one way the Spirit works in us. One day I took my daughter to the fairground. One of her favorites was always eating ‘candy floss.’ The seller spun a large cloud of pink sugar, and said, “how can a small girl like you eat such a huge candy floss. It won’t fit!” My daughter replied, “No problem. I am much bigger on the inside than on the outside!”
The Holy Spirit makes us much bigger on the inside than what’s happening outside. His role is to produce that peace.
I also have a role to play in maintaining financial peace. Here is a short checklist of what I should be doing to maintain peace in times of financial difficulties.
1. Choose fellowship. Isolation is a big problem – we should share our problems with other believers. Join a small group and share experiences.
2. Make a spending plan according to your new circumstances, together with your partner, in prayer. Cut spending where necessary.
3. Hold integrity high. Don’t be tempted to cut corners on taxes, expenses, or withholding payments. Remember, you’re not dependent on money, but on God!
4. Be patient. Wait on the Lord. He cares and will act!
5. Give thanks for His provision – even if you think it isn’t enough right now. He never makes mistakes. This acknowledges that he is in control!
6. Pray for God’s intervention in your financial situation. (Read 2 Kings 4:1-7)
7. Keep giving, this breaks the power of money and honours God as Provider.
To close, I would like to ask - are you a thermometer or a thermostat? A thermometer reacts to the environment; a thermostat controls the environment. Don’t reflect the temperature of your surroundings, which is hot with fear, worry and uncertainty.
Instead, control the temperature, with the cool, freshness of peace, trust and hope.
Jesus promised, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
Follow our online course on “How to make a Spending Plan”.