God’s economy is not controlled by today’s financial news. Here’s how you can thrive even in the midst of bank failures and a deepening recession.
As a nation, we’re going through some tough economic times. Countless people are fearful about the economy, as well as about their jobs, mortgages, foreclosures, gas prices and a hundred other things.
But I want to remind you of a simple yet profound truth—God is bigger than the economy. He does and will always provide for His children. Psalm 46:1-2 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (NKJV).
There it is: The reason we have no fear is because God is our refuge—not the economy, not the government, not our money. In Hebrew, the word “refuge” literally means “an elevated fortress”—a high place so guarded and protected that you’re completely safe from all your enemies.
I remember one Christmas when I said, “God, we’re not going to be able to have Christmas—we just can’t afford it.” The Lord spoke clearly to me and said, “You know that’s not what Christmas is about.” And He gave me a vision of my wife and me laying our hands on our children and giving them spiritual gifts.
So that’s what we did. And you know what? God was so faithful. Our kids still remember that to this day, and He provided us with the means we needed to give them toys as well.
Why? Because God loves us and cares about us and our families. Regardless of how bad things may seem, He is completely in control.
Developing the Proper Perspective
I realize we’re living in uncertain economic times and it’s difficult to have hope, but I believe if you live by the following three principles, you not only will develop the proper perspective about your circumstances but also will walk in financial freedom.
1. Put God first. The Bible tells us, “Honor the Lord with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase” (Prov. 3:9). Let me ask you, “Do you honor God with the firstfruits of your finances?”
When the Israelites first entered the Promised Land, God commanded them to give all the silver and gold from Jericho to Him (see Josh. 6:19). Why? Because Jericho was the first city they conquered—it was the firstfruits of the Promised Land.
Notice that God didn’t tell them to first take 10 cities and then give one of those cities to Him when it was all over. No, God commanded them to give everything from that first city to Him—and after they did that, He said that they could have the goods from all the other cities.
This is how the principle of the firstfruits works in our lives: Giving the first to God causes the rest to be blessed. God told the Israelites that if they would just honor Him with that first city, then He would help them conquer all the other cities.
Whether you’ve heard about tithing many times over the years or you’re hearing about it for the first time, tithing is really very simple. It is about putting God first.
God told the Israelites that whenever their sheep had lambs, they were to give the first lamb to Him. Why? Because it takes faith to give the first 10 percent rather than the last. Giving the last 10 percent instead of the first 10 percent is saying, “Once I’m sure that I’m taken care of, I’ll take care of You, God. If I have enough room in my life for You, I’ll honor and obey You.”
That isn’t very honoring to God, is it? But when we give God the first 10 percent, we’re saying, “God, I want to honor You first.”
You can claim God is first place in your life—but by observing where your money goes, I can tell you who’s really first place. Maybe it’s the mortgage company, the electric company or even Visa, MasterCard or American Express.
When God is first, He blesses the rest. This principle is seen throughout the Bible. The first check I write every month is the tithe check. Not the second check or the third or the eighth—the first check. Because I want to give God the first part of all my increase, not the last part.
Please understand me. This isn’t law; it’s love! This is expressing love and gratitude and honor to the God who has given us everything.