Financial professionals commonly talk about cash flow being the foundation of a financial plan. All of the moves you make and the financial strategies you employ are predicated on how your money flows in and out of your hands. It’s true that your cash flow determines the financial life that you can build, we’ve even written an entire blog series on it!
There’s something even more important than cash flow, though. Your cash flow is the foundation you lay for your financial “house.” But where are you laying that foundation? Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 7 about building a house on solid rock as opposed to sand so that it can weather the storms of life. He illustrates to us the importance of not just how you build your house, but what kind of ground you’re building it on.
The Core Of Your Financial Life
The ground that you lay your foundation and build your financial life on is your mindset regarding money. Just as you can build an exquisite mansion on a sandy beach and have it all wiped away in a hurricane, you can make all the right financial moves and become wealthy and yet lack fulfillment and security if you’re building your financial life on an unhealthy relationship with money. In the same way, you can have a very modest income and lifestyle and still experience contentment and joy if you’re building on the right things.
3 Keys To A Healthy Relationship With Money
What are the right things? Here are some principles you can ascribe to in order to provide a solid base on which to build your financial life:
Your security should come from God, not money.
David sang in Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” In Deuteronomy 8:18, Moses reminded the Israelites, “remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”
When we try to take responsibility for something that only God can provide—security—it only leads to anxiety and stress. No matter how successful we are financially, it will never be enough because we know that there are forces stronger than us in the world. Only when we let go of our own self-sufficiency and turn to God for our security can we experience true peace, as Jesus commanded, “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
God is in control, you are not.
In case you hadn’t realized it yet, no matter how hard we try, we are not in control of our lives. As we are so eloquently reminded in James 4:13-15, “you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” Jesus reiterated the same idea in Luke 12:16-20 when he told the parable of the financially successful man who built bigger barns to hold all of his wealth, thinking he would be set for life. Little did he know, his life ended that night and it was all for naught.
The truth of the matter is that we are not in control. When we try to control our lives, surroundings, and situations, we always end up frustrated and scared. Instead, we need to relinquish control and realize that, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8) God is the all-powerful one that called the heavens into existence and he’s got this.
God owns everything, you are just managing it.
The final thing that you need to internalize in order to have a healthy relationship with money is that it isn't yours to begin with. It’s all God’s and he’s just letting you manage some of it for him. David reminds us in Psalm 24:1, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it,” and in Psalm 50:12, God himself says, “for the world is mine, and all that is in it.” The contents of your bank account were entrusted to you by God, not built by your own greatness. Keeping that in mind will help prevent you from confusing your identity with your possessions, leading to wiser decisions.
The Benefits Of A Healthy Relationship With Money
When you truly embrace those three principles and make them a part of who you are, your life will change. Gratitude is the natural outflow of a healthy perspective on money. When you align your mindset with these principles, it will cultivate a lifestyle of gratitude. Harvard even reports that research has found that gratitude helps you to have more positive emotions, helps you deal with adversity, improves health, allows you to relish experiences more, and fosters the building of strong relationships.
These principles will also help you move from a place of stress to peace. One of the best ways to fight off anxiety, discontentment, insecurity, and fear is by recognizing that God is in control and though he has entrusted certain resources to us, he has not left us to manage them on our own. He is always with us, eager to guide and care for us.
How To Develop A Healthy Relationship With Money
That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? But how do you get there? If you’re suffering from anxiety or a lack of fulfillment, how do you find your way to a life of peace and gratitude? Here are some practical steps you can take.
Pray and ask God to help you.
Start by asking for help right at the top. After all, he’s the one in control, remember? Also, realize that this isn’t a one-time thing, but a continual lifestyle of constant communion with God as you seek His wisdom for your day-to-day life.
Study, meditate on, and memorize Scriptures that address it.
Luckily, God also provided us with a guidebook for life, which we call the Bible. Go to the Bible for answers and encouragement. Here are some scriptures that you can start with (in addition to the ones already referenced):
- Matthew 6:25-34
- Psalm 94:19
- 1 Timothy 6:6-10; 17-19
- James 1:17
- Hebrews 13:5
- Psalm 37:3-4
- Ecclesiastes 5:10-15
- Philippians 4:11-13
- Matthew 6:20-21
- Psalm 37:18-19
Have people in your life who will remind you of these truths.
Finally, make sure you have people in your life that can encourage you and provide guidance in your journey to a God-honoring relationship with money. That may even include a Christian financial planner.
Financial wellness goes beyond wise spending and investing. Those are good but will never satisfy you if you don’t have a healthy relationship with money. At Guide Financial Planning, we provide financial planning, so we look at investments, interest rates, taxes, etc., but we recognize that those things are not the core of a healthy financial life and they are not enough. Our hope for you is that you can develop a healthy perspective of money that will be a solid foundation for security and contentment in your financial life, no matter your net worth.
About Guide Financial Planning
Guide Financial Planning is led by founder Ben Wacek, who is a Christian fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ and Certified Kingdom Advisor®. He has a passion to help people of all income levels make wise financial decisions and steward their resources from an eternal perspective using Biblical principles. Based in Minneapolis, MN, he works with clients both locally and virtually throughout the country and abroad. You can follow the links to learn more about Guide Financial Planning and our team and the services we offer.