As the nation faces an uncertain financial future with a fiscal cliff ahead, Christians must seek the Lord for direction, comfort, and peace. Part 1 of this series discussed the importance of prayer, repentance, obedience, and trusting God as He refines His people through the difficult days ahead. This installment will highlight other Biblical principles to apply as Christians face the fiscal cliff.
As in so many areas of life, Christians must view the fiscal cliff not so much as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. As unemployment numbers increase, Christians should be ready and eager to help, giving generously with willing hearts to those in need as modeled by the early church in Acts 2: 42-47. Christians have consistently proven to be significantly more generous than secularists (source), so the fiscal cliff is a great opportunity to show the world the difference Christ makes in meeting needs and demonstrating genuine love to one another.
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3-5)
To become generous, Christians must first be careful not to cling too tightly to the things of this world. As declines in the stock and housing markets have made obvious, nothing this world offers will last. The Nelson Study Bible likens materialism to “frantically scurrying to get the best deck chair on a sinking ship.” (New King James Version, copyright 1997, page 1722) When consumed by material possession, one’s heart has little room for God.
19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” (Matthew 6: 19-20)
Everything belongs to God. Mankind has been given stewardship over God’s possession so Christians must manage it well, using it for His glory, not their own.
“To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.” (Deuteronomy 10:14)
Wise stewardship also demands that Christians plan for the future, adding margin to their family budgets wherever possible, so that when taxes increase and inflation occurs, they are ready to weather the storm. Before making large purchases now, Christians must factor in the uncertainty of America’s economy. Christians should also strive to eliminate anyconsumer debt as quickly as possible. Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace series and Crown Financial are excellent resources for Christians financial planning. Many Raleigh area churches offer classes and counseling based upon these resources.
As financial challenges grip the nation, Americans may become more disillusioned by government and open to the truths of the gospel which brings hope. Seize this opportunity to share the gospel with love.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:15-16)
The only hope secularists have is what this world offers. Secularism teaches that life came from non-life by sheer accident. This worldview implies that life has no purpose or intrinsic value. What wonderful hope the gospel offers to those seeking purpose and satisfaction in a world that disappoints. The best this world has to offer is only a dim reflection of what God has in store for the redeemed.
“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.'” (John 6:35)
In a nation where political corruption, slander, and deception abounds, where deployed military are denied access to ballots while votes are cast for the deceased through voter fraud, where votes are purchased through tax dollar funded entitlement programs, where God has been denied access to schools, the marketplace, or the public arena, Christians may be tempted to despair. Yet, the people of faith must not back down from standing for the truth. Speaking the truth in love, Christians should continue to stand for the sanctity of human life, for fiscal responsibility, for justice, for sexual purity, for issues supporting Biblical family values, and for the basic human liberties ordained by God. Christ died to set men free. Christians should be servants to nothing and to no one but Christ. (Romans 1:1) While Christians are commanded by God to submit to those in authority and to pay all taxes due honestly and not begrudgingly, they must not violate God’s commands in their obedience to early authorities. Should Christians ever face a choice between obeying God or disobeying God’s commands in order to obey the law, then Christians must obey Christ and then submit to whatever punishments are imposed by the government as a result.
“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.'” (Exodus 14:13)
7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
8 They are brought to their knees and fall,
but we rise up and stand firm. (Psalm 20:7-9)
Finally, Christians must not be anxious. Worry serves no useful purpose while demonstrating a lack of faith in God.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
In Luke 12: 22-34, Jesus teaches his disciples not to worry about their lives or about what they will eat or wear. He asks them to consider the ravens, flowers, and even the grasses of the field, which may appear one day and be burned up the next. Each of these God feeds and clothes so faithfully, so how much more will He take care of His people. God does not promise to give everything his people may want, but he knows each person’s individual needs and will be faithful to supply them.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” (Luke 12: 25-26)
“And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. (Luke 12: 29-31)
God greatly desires that his people resist fear by placing their trust in him. According to BibleGateway.com, the NIV version of the Bible contains the word “fear” approximately 336 times, and the term “afraid” occurs 205 times. At least 79 times, the Bible includes the phrase, “Do not be afraid.” Rest in God’s peace which “transcends all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?'” (Hebrews 13: 5-7)
As Christians face the fiscal cliff, they must seek the Lord in prayer continually, confessing and repenting of their sins. They should give generously, putting the interests of others before their own. They must take every opportunity to share the hope of Christ with others. They should be faithful stewards with all God has entrusted to them while avoiding the love of money. Believers should stand for righteousness without spewing hate. Christians must take their worries and concerns to the foot of the cross trusting Christ to meet their needs.
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
All Bible references were quoted from the NIV Bible translation.
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