As a Christian have you ever thought, “Do I have the right to spend my money the way I would like to, or do I have to live the life of a miser?” Or have you thought to yourself, “Is it ok for me to have a lot of money?” As believers, we have trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation and surrendered our lives to the Lordship of Christ; do we then have freedom when it comes to our finances, or are we restricted to how we can use our money?
I think the best place to start when it comes to talking about money is to start with God. The Bible explains that the thing we consider valuable and a necessity for life (money) belongs to God. Haggai 2:8 says, “‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the Lord of hosts.” Since money belongs to God, it is neither good nor evil. What makes money a good thing or a bad thing is how money is used. For example, money is used for humanitarian causes—those are noble things; but it is also used to purchase drugs, which destroy lives and communities.
While God owns everything, He also knows that money is an important part of our lives, so He provides it to His people; that is to say that God is the one who gives a person the ability to gain wealth (Deut.8:18). So then, what comes to your mind when you hear the word “wealth”? Do you think about the person who has no need or want for anything and has more money than he or she could spend in a life time? You would not be wrong if that definition came to your mind; the word wealth does carry with it the idea of having an abundance of valuable resources or material possessions. However, I think a more biblical understanding of the word wealth carries the idea of having something as opposed to having nothing. I’ve heard it said that in comparison to the majority of the world’s population, Americans are some of the richest people. We also need to view money as a gift from God. We read in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, where the apostle Paul poses the question, “What do you have that you did not receive?” implying that all we have has been given to us as a gift, including the finances we possess.
So I think, according to God’s Word, it’s safe to say that we have the freedom to possess money. That leads to the question, then—does God prescribe or care about how we are to gain money, or are we free to gain wealth by any means necessary? Well, God has established that work would be the means whereby one would gain wealth (Gen.3:17; Prov.14:23). So when it comes to believers, we have the freedom to gain wealth through God’s prescribed means: hard work.
I also believe one of the clearest principles about financial freedom is seen in the book of Romans. In Romans 13:8 we read, “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” Here we see the admonishment to be in debt to no one. However, I do think there is a difference between paying to own a home versus being over taken by debt to the point where you can’t make ends meet. When we are born again, we become a child of God, delivered from the bondage of sin and Satan. We are also indwelt by the Holy Spirit to live a life of freedom from the dominion and tyranny of sin. Therefore, we should not be a slave to anyone or anything (Prov.22:7). So why does God want His people to be free financially? I believe God desires His people to be able to freely respond to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to meet the needs of others when a need arises.
With all that said, I’m the first one to admit that I’m not the poster child of financial freedom; I confess that I was once in financial debt and owed money that kept me struggling to meet my financial obligations. But by God’s grace, I learned that financial freedom is possible, but for me and my wife it came at a sacrifice. By making tough decisions to go without luxuries for a period of time and by being disciplined in our financial spending, we have been able to experience the blessing of the freedom of owing only to love others.