I had an interesting conversation with a friend at church a while ago. She said that she longed to be free from fear. I asked her what she feared and she said,
Her answer took me by surprise as it was so honest and so real. It was then that I realised that most people live in fear of just about everything. They fear not having enough money, they fear illness, they fears germs, public toilets, strange people, disabled people, homosexuals, public speaking, dying, flying, failure, intimacy, rejection, spiders, dogs, dentists, snakes, being alone, being in crowds and a long list of all sorts of other things! Fear seems to define us in many ways and determines how we live our lives.
Where did it all begin? It began where most things began, in the Garden of Eden. The very first account of fear was after Adam and Eve sinned. It says that God came to walk with them as He usually did but when God couldn’t find them, He called to them. Adam replied, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” From that day, human beings have lived in fear and they continue to hide from God because they are afraid.
What caused the fear? Nakedness! What caused the nakedness? Lies! You see, we live in fear because we believe the lies that the serpent tells us just like Eve believed the lie that the serpent told her. He appealed to her taste buds, her physical pleasure, and told her that there would be no consequences to her indulgence. Nothing has changed, it is exactly the same today as is was in the beginning of time. Turn on your TV and you will see what I mean. Sign here on the dotted line and you can have zero percent interest free credit for the next six months. You don’t have to wait to satisfy your fleshly needs, just take a bite of this credit apple and you will find true satisfaction. Don’t be silly, of course there are no strings attached, it truly is zero percent interest free credit for the next six months. Come on... just sign here and then you can have exactly what you want when you want it.
Self-control? Who needs that when you can have zero percent interest free credit for the next six months? Saving and planning? Who needs that when you can have zero percent interest free credit for the next six months? Why wait, just sign here and you will be happy, instantly!
What happens next? We believe the lie, we sign the dotted line and the fear begins. Every month we slave away to make enough money to pay the bills, living in constant fear, wondering if we will ever have enough money to get by on.
Next comes a mobile phone contract, then a gym contract, then a massive electricity bill that we can’t pay so we make a monthly payment plan. Before you know it you are consumed with fear, living in shackles and chains, totally enslaved to the financial systems of the world. Worst of all, most people don’t even see it that way, they are so familiar with this way of living that they think it is normal, they don’t even realise the amount of fear that they carry. Living a life that is free from fear is the exception, not the norm!
So what’s the solution, how do we find a way out of this vicious cycle? We consult the life user guide – the Bible! All the keys to a great, prosperous and free life are in this amazing book. It truly is the user manual to life here on Earth, but few ever consult it, they think they can figure it all out on their own.
They are like the people that try to build an IKEA flat pack item of furniture without reading the instructions that come with it. Sure, you may EVENTUALLY have success in constructing it - although you most certainly will have some left over pieces with no clue where they go! In my experience though, you are better off reading the instructions and following them to the letter. The end result is less stress, faster assembly time, no arguments with your spouse and no left over pieces! It makes sense doesn’t it? So then why doesn’t reading the Bible make sense to most people? Seriously, I can’t understand the logic. If you have instruction on how to lead a life free from fear, why do you want to try and figure it out alone? Here is an example, let’s take a look at what the Bible says about money:
The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenty; but the thoughts of everyone who is hasty only to poverty.
Financial Key = Be diligent (hard-working, industrious, meticulous, conscientious, thorough, attentive) NOT hasty and then you will have plenty and not live in poverty.
1 Corinthians 16:2
On the first day of every week each one of you is to put aside and save, as he may prosper, so that no collections be made when I come.
Financial Key = Save your money and you will prosper.
He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
Financial Key = You will be poor if you take advantage of poor people and try and make money for yourself from them.
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.
Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you.
Financial Key = Don’t ever sign surety documents, you could loose everything.
Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, but the one who gathers by labour increases it.
Financial Key = Don’t cheat to get money as it will only disappear anyway, work for it honestly and it will grow.
Honour the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.
Financial Key = If you want to have plenty always give Him the first portion of your money. You won’t lose but you will gain as He blesses your finances.
I could go on and on and on as there are approximately 2080 verses pertaining to money in the Bible! There are verses telling us how to manage our household budget, there are verses telling us how to manage business finances, there are verses on how to be wealthy and there are verses that warn us about the things that will cause us to be poor. Most importantly, there is a wonderful verse that tells us that we can be free from fear because God will take care of all of our needs.
Find out more about what the Bible says about money, worry relationships and all the things that we fear in my new book 'Free'. More chapter snippets will follow soon, full details about this book are available here. Also, coming soon, Money Does Matter - a look at why we as Christians really do need to get our finances in order!