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Living Comfortably on a Budget through Faith and Financial Discipline
Luke 14: 28 -31
Budgeting is putting the money God provides to work and this requires accountability, trust and discipline. As we begin the new year, Christian professionals must carefully plan and trust God for provision and control their finances adequately through effective budgeting that would lead to comfortable living.
As Christian professionals, we must be conscious that budgeting can determine our response to opportunities, challenges and decision making. It can develop our mindset to find peace, contentment and purpose as we have faith and trust in God to help us handle our budget discreetly and wisely.
Question 1: What do you understand by budgeting?
Budgeting shapes our overall financial lifestyle. It is a pathway that, when travelled, helps us experience the unbounded provision of God. By entering into the budgeting process, we can find contentment, peace, and purpose as we learn to place our trust in God and to interact with money as Jesus would (Matthew 6:33).
It is important to note that whatever we have comes from God as He is the owner but only entrusts us with the management of our finances and expects us to use it for His purposes.
Question 2: Who has ownership of our finances and how does He want us to manage the finances?
Many young professionals often find themselves in difficult financial challenges because they do not know how to manage their finances effectively.
This usually arises when financial difficulties surface or when there is need to do big purchases such as renting a house, preparing for a wedding or paying for tuition.
They get into a stress situation when they suddenly realize that there was no proper management of their finances and that they lack understanding of how they have spent their money. The Lord wants us to live comfortably through proper budgeting. Hence, there are things we must realize when managing our finances.
Things we must realize when managing our finances
1. Understand that you are only a custodian of the finances you have and God requires prudence and faithfulness. (1Cor 4:2).
The rare quality of faithfulness is very key in money management. Not only do we need to have faith in God, He should be able to trust us with proper management of the finances He has given us for our wellbeing
2. Be personally accountable
It is important to note that finances are important in providing contentment and comfort if properly managed through proper accountability.
Using money unwisely can lead to frustration, feeling of enslavement, marital strife, desperation and prolonged debt. God requires that we are wise and accountable for the finances he places in our custody.
Our attitude should therefore be:
• Responsibility on how money is earned
• Responsibility on how money is used
• Caution in incurring debt
3. Have a solid finance management based on proper budgeting
Budgeting is key to successful management of finances as it provides clarity on financial situation. To properly budget, we must understand our income and expenses. Understanding the figures representing our monthly income enables us get our finances under control. Understanding our expenses will prevent financial trouble thereby preventing overspending. This can be achieved by keeping track of our expenses. No matter how much you make or earn, you must have a budget. This will help you know that you are properly managing your money and finally lead you to achieving your financial goals and living a comfortable life.
4. Control your spending:
For Christian professionals to be financial responsible requires living within our means. Impulsive spending should not be encouraged as owning and acquiring more and more would lead to covetousness. Therefore the following would help us live more gratefully and contentedly.
• Give first to God through tithing and payment of offerings.
• Evaluate your needs and appropriately prioritize them
• Formulate your monthly needs
• Do not spend impulsively, limit unnecessary expenses and purchase only necessary needs
• Invest to earn multiple financial sources and grow an emergency fund for the unexpected
• Pay off debts
• Track your expenses
• Save wisely and save for retirement because this starts from your first day at work or your business.
5. Where there are financial challenges, learn to turn for help because God is available to deal with such challenges by turning to Him for help by following His Word which contains wisdom and instruction on properly dealing with your finances through self-discipline and control. Jesus offers us the strength required to tackle any challenge before us as he promised never to leave or forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5,6). We are encouraged to have faith and trust in Him by seeking His help.
Question 3: Give an example where you have not properly managed your finances and how you came out of it.
Understanding financial management through proper budgeting requires time and commitment and by doing so can offer you great peace and comfort. The Lord desires us to trust him for our finances and expects prudence, faithfulness and discipline when managing the blessings he has provided for us. The clarity afforded from budgeting and sticking to it will help turn any financial situation into a more positive one that leads to comfortable living. (Jeremiah 29:11; 3 John 2). May you find help in the hour of need as you rely on God for financial provisions all through the year.