By Ronnie Floyd
We have all been in those situations when we knew the news was not going to be good. Going in, we ask, “How bad is it?” Someone looks at us and says, “It’s bad.”
We are entering into the subject about finances with the same trepidation. How bad is it? It’s bad.
We know this, so I will give just a few sentences here to help us understand its severity. Consider these facts:
- Fifty-nine percent of divorcees say finances played a major role in the breakup of their marriage.
- $179,806 is the average mortgage debt.
- $49,042 is the average student loan debt by household.
- $16,061 is the average credit card debt.
- U.S. citizens spend $1.26 for every $1 they earn.
- There is $1.3 trillion of student loan debt in America.
- There is $1 trillion of credit card debt in America.
- $20 trillion is the national debt of the United States.
- Eighty percent of the small businesses that open fail in the first five years. The primary reason they fail is financial problems.
This list of statistics could easily get longer, but I think you get the picture. Yes, it’s bad.
We need wisdom. How do we move into a healthier position financially? How do we live wisely?
In March of 2017, I began a weekly podcast about life and leadership. Each week, I interview one of the great leaders in America about helping people live well and coaching people to become great leaders. For twenty-two minutes a week, anyone who wants to be encouraged about life and leadership can listen to our podcast.
One of my first podcasts was with Dave Ramsey of Ramsey Solutions. For more than twenty-five years, Dave has been teaching people how to handle money. He does so through his radio broadcasts all over the nation, with millions of weekly listeners.
Ramsey Solutions provides biblically based, common sense education and empowerment that give HOPE to everyone in every walk of life.
In my interview with Dave, I asked him for some principles that would help people handle money more wisely. I want to share these principles, or things to do, with you.
They are relevant for everyone, from those who are trying to make it from paycheck to paycheck, to the wealthiest in the world. From the Bible, Dave has found these five principles:
- Be on a budget: Develop a budget on paper and on purpose before each month begins.
- Get out of debt: The borrower is slave to the lender all the time.
- Save money: Wise people save money.
- High quality relationships: You become who you hang around, and that affects your money.
- Generosity: Outrageous generosity is correlated with winning with money.
How does one improve upon these and other strategies Dave Ramsey has discovered through the years?
As you are pursuing a healthy you, you cannot be healthy if your finances are questionable. I think your financial fitness is just like your fitness physically and relationally. If any of these are not all they can be, it is a reflection upon your spiritual fitness. However, your past choices are past. Now you can begin to make future choices that can influence your entire life positively. Your present circumstances may now be beyond your control due to a few of these past choices, but God can give you a resolve to be faithful as you progress to your future. As your spiritual life goes, so goes the rest of your life.
This does not mean you cannot change your current financial path. Conversely, it means that you need to consider that everything in your life flows from your spiritual walk with Jesus Christ. Start there and line your life up by what the Bible says. This is what it means to be fit!
Fit does not mean you are perfect. Fit means you are working in your life, continually becoming all God wants you to become spiritually, physically, relationally, financially, and emotionally. Start where you are right now and work toward becoming healthy in each of these areas.
You cannot control your past, but you can get on a new path toward your future. Your goal should be to become as healthy as you can be from this point on in each of these five areas of life.
Whatever your personal situation is financially, it does not alter what God’s Word says. Your life should adjust to what God says, even about money. If a person or a family can avoid the traps of poor financial decision-making and management, they can pretty well beat the odds on other issues that come their way.
Excerpted with permission from Living Fit by Ronnie Floyd. Copyright 2018, B&H Publishing Group.
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RONNIE FLOYD (@ronniefloyd) is senior pastor of Cross Church in Northwest Arkansas, president of the National Day of Prayer, and a past president of the Southern Baptist Convention.