One of the most frequent and serious problems that come in a marriage or home is family finances. In my 26 years in the ministry, it is the most frequent problem in marriage counseling. If it is not resolved, it will become the lost devastating. Financial pressure affects all other aspects of marriage. The principles, which I will share in this lesson, have changed hundreds and hundreds of homes. I know that these principles will work. I also know that the cause of financial problems in most marriages is usually not an inadequate income, but the inability to manage properly their finances. Jesus said “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). I share these principles with the prayer that you may discover and begin to experience financial freedom in your family finances.
Honor God with the first-fruits of all your increase. (Proverbs 3:9-10)
Leviticus 27:30 says “All the tithe of the land is the Lord’s. It is holy unto the Lord.” The word “tithe”, both in the Hebrew and in the Greek, means tenth. The Bible declares that the first-tenth of all that we receive from any and every source is the Lord’s. Malachi 3:8-12 contains some of the greatest promises in the Bible regarding finances. This passage commands us to give tithes and offerings (this word means “sacrifice” or “a present”). This passage clearly commands us to bring those tithes into the local church. This passage promises that God will bless those who honor Him in tithes and offerings (v. 10). This passage promises that God will “rebuke Satan” and protect us and all we have when we honor Him in our giving. Malachi 3:11 is the best insurance policy in the world (v. 11). Matthew 6:33 promises that if we “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these other things will be added unto us”. “Things” in this passage refers to food, shelter, and clothing (Ps. 84:11).
God gives special blessings to offerings above the tithe.
Malachi 3:8 commands them! Luke 6:38 promises very special blessings upon those who give gifts beyond their tithes. II Corinthians 9:6 declares that we will receive in direct proportion to how we give. Ecclesiastes 11:1 promises that what you give will come back. Mark 10:29-30 promises rewards in heaven and also earthly rewards to those who give sacrificially.
Some places to “sow” your offerings.
- Give to Christians in need (Romans 12:13: Galatians 6:10; I John 3:17)
- Give to the poor indeed (Proverbs 19:17 & Matt. 6:1-4);
- Give to the widows and fatherless (Psa. 68:5: and James 1:27)
- Give to the servants of the Lord (Matt. 10:41; I Tim. 5:17 & 18; Gal. 6:6)
- Give to the circulation of the Word of God (Isa. 40:8 and 55:8-11)
- Give to world evangelism (Rom. 10:13-15);
- Give to your enemies (Matt. 5:44: Rom. 12:20-21)
- Give to friends and loved ones (John 3:16 and Prov. 17:8).
“Sow” your offering seeds with biblical attitude.
- Give anonymously (Matthew 6:3)
- Give as you are led of the Lord (II Cor. 9:7)
- Give, as you are able to give (Prov. 3:27-28).
Learn the difference between wants and needs.
Philippians 4:19 promises that “God will supply all your needs…”. Matthew 6:8 says “God knows your needs before you ask”. Learn to “pray in” your needs. If you are unsure whether it is a need or a desire, prayerfully ask God for this item and wait on Him to supply it. If He does not supply it, then we can assume we did not really need it. This is one of the reasons that borrowing is so wrong. Sorrowing denies God the opportunity of keeping from us wrong things and it denies God the opportunity of providing our needs supernaturally (Psalms 84:11).
Stop All Credit Buying for Depreciable Items
Borrowing for depreciable items is wrong for the following reasons
- It is against scripture. (Rom. 13:8 says “Owe no man anything.” Prov. 22:7 says “the borrower is servant to the lender”. Borrowing produces bondage and servant hood)
- It greatly hinders your testimony to others about the blessings of the Lord (Deut. 28:1-13)
- It presumes upon the future (James 4:13-17)
- It causes one to become care-worn about the future (Matthew 6:34)
- It usually involves co-signing, which is clearly forbidden in scripture (Proverbs 6:1-5)
- It usually involves mortgaging which is a violation of scripture (Proverbs 22:26-27). In order for a person to be saved, they must confess and believe that Jesus is Savior, the promised Messiah, and the Lord of God. All of these were confessed at His birth, throughout His ministry, and in scripture.
Suggestions for becoming “debt-free”
- Destroy all credit cards (except those that are paid monthly, without interest, and used for tax purposes).
- Begin to put all excess money on the liquidation of existing debts.
- Develop a sales resistance (Proverbs 20:14); prayerfully wait 24 hours before making any purchases.
- Learn to ask God for needs and to be content with whatever you have (Philippians 4:11).
- Determine every expenditure on the basis of glorifying God (I Cor. 10:31).
Establish a family budget and live within that budget. (1 Cor. 4:2; Luke 16:10)
These verses declare that if we learn to manage our money, God will be able to entrust us with more.
- Establish your needs first in your budget
- Eliminate all debts as quickly as possible
- Keep an accurate record of all your income and disbursements
- Live within your budget.
A husband and wife should do the budget together.
This will enable both to know what the needs are. It will diminish controversy over where the funds are spent. One of the 11ost frequent questions regards a woman’s role in the family finances. The scriptures clearly place the greater responsibility upon the man (Gen. 3:17-19 and I Tim. 5:8). However the scriptures also clearly teach that a wife is to be the assistant and helper of the husband (Gen. 2:18). Proverbs 31:10-31 describe the Godly woman as it relates to her input in family finances:
- She shops for the best prices (verse 13)
- She works hard (verse 13b)
- She prepares her meals very carefully and frugally (verse 14)
- She is a business-woman who buys and develops property (verse 16)
- She is a seamstress and makes her family’s clothing (verses19-22)
- She sells commercially the clothing that she has made (verse 24). It is very obvious that a woman is to have input into the finances and the budget. Family finances should demonstrate mutual submission (Eph. 5:21).
Have the most financially capable and self-disciplined mate to handle the finance.
Only one person should write the checks and control the bills and that person should be the most conservative, disciplined, and financially wise in the family, whether the man or the woman. However, always combine this principle with the one above!
Start saving something out of every paycheck. (Prov. 21:20)
This money should be set aside for needs and items, which could not be purchased out of a weekly paycheck. This money should be in savings drawing interest and should not be convenient or easy to spend.
If expenses are greater than your income, take action immediately (Acts 17:30).
Consider what items can be sold. Consider a second job. Delay only increases financial problems. I want to share something my father shared with me as a boy. He said “Son, if you ever get behind on your bills and you simply cannot pay them on time, then
- Go to that creditor in person. Don’t call them or write them, but go to them in person
- Go to them before the note is due, not when it is past due
- Go and tell them that you are sorry you cannot pay your bill, but that you are not trying to get out of that bill
- Tell them that you will pay them something every month
- And tell them that you will pay them something until the bill is paid in full. Then keep your word.” That is excellent counsel and God has used it in my life and with many others with whom I’ve shared it through the years.
When there is a shortage of income, or an unexpected crisis, prayerfully seek the reason why (Ecc. 7:14)
- It may be the chastening of the Lord (Mal. 3:9)
- It may be that we have made poor choices and purchased things we did not need
- It may be a test of the devil (Job. 1-2)
- If there is a budget surplus, look for opportunities to give this money away or set it aside for future needs or investments.
Make financial matters a family affair. There is no reason that the children cannot participate and help. Children can learn to pay for their own expenses. They can learn to work and can learn to manage money. Proverbs 12:27 says “the substance of a diligent man is precious”. A person will only appreciate those things for which they have worked. Perhaps you have already violated many of these principles. If so, Prov. 28:13 & 14 says that “if you will confess and forsake your way, God will have mercy”. Perhaps you’ve violated many of these principles through ignorance. Acts 17:30 says “the times of this ignorance God tolerated, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent”. If you will get right with God’s principles, then you can begin to pray and expect God to work miracles in your finances (Jer. 33:3 and Isaiah 45:3). Satan may test you, but if we do not “grow weary in well doing, in due season we shall reap” (Gal. 6:9).
There are marvelous blessings awaiting those who will get right with God’s financial principles. You will learn the joy of being debt free; you will learn the joy of giving more than you’ve ever given before; you will learn many of the fruits of the Spirit such as faith, patience, and self-control. etc.; you will learn that God will provide your needs; you will obtain wonderful, practical testimonies for an unbelieving world; and you may learn that God wills to entrust to you greater riches of His kingdom because you have been a good steward (Luke 16:10-12).