God admonishes us to obtain counsel. Proverbs 12:15 states, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel” (nasb), and Proverbs 15:22 states, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
Unfortunately sometimes Christians refuse to seek counsel because of pride. Proverbs 13:10 states, “Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. Proverbs 11:2 states, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.”
Nevertheless, God indicates that your probability of success is greater with many advisers. Proverbs 24:6 states, “For waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisers.”
God recommends that we obtain biblical counsel from godly financial advisers.
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment. (1 Corinthians 2:14, 15)
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked. (Psalm 1:1)
I have met some non-Christian financial advisers who do give good practical advice. However, if you want advice from a biblical perspective, which I believe is God’s will for every Christian, then you can get godly advice only from a godly financial adviser. For example, a nonbeliever is simply not going to understand the desire in the believer’s heart for giving a significant portion of one’s income to God’s work. The believer has an eternal perspective, wanting to build up “treasures in heaven” rather than “treasures on earth.” (Matthew 6:19–21)
In addition, a godly adviser would counsel you to use minimal debt (Proverbs 22:7), while many worldly advisers would encourage the use of a lot of debt, based on the belief that “smart people use other people’s money” or “buy now and pay later.”
Therefore, before making any major financial decision, I recommend that you seek the advice of two or three godly financial advisers. In my view, an appropriate definition for such a person would be as follows: a spiritually mature Christian who understands and applies God’s financial principles (Psalm 111:10), has a close personal relationship with God (John 15), has the necessary practical financial knowledge (Proverbs 24:3, 4), and habitually puts the interests of clients first (Philippians 2:3, 4).
I believe that one of your financial counsellors should be your spouse (Genesis 2:24), even if she or he has limited financial knowledge. God, through his Holy Spirit, can give his peace or lack of peace to an objective spouse who is not emotionally excited about or biased against a particular financial decision.
After obtaining the counsel outlined above, it is your responsibility, to pray and ask God to give you his wisdom (James 1:5) in weighing the advice you have received. Proverbs 14:15 states, “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.”
In summary, before making any major financial decision, seek counsel from two or three godly financial advisers and from your spouse. Proceed only after you and your spouse have spent considerable time in prayer, and God has given you his peace and his wisdom.
Howard Dayton, CEO of Crown Financial Ministries completed an in-depth study of the Bible, and found that God’s Word contains 2,350 references to money and material things. In addition, 16 of the 24 parables that Jesus Christ gave us deal with money and material things. Clearly, God’s Word, the Bible, has a tremendous wisdom to assist you in making any financial decision.
The psalmist makes the following comments regarding God’s Word: “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” (Psalm 119:24) and “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105).
God’s Word was considered to be so important that God instructed Joshua, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).
In my experience, when people have got into financial difficulty, frequently it was because they have unknowingly violated one or more of God’s financial principles. Some examples include
1. no savings for an emergency (Proverbs 21:20)
2. taking on too much debt (Proverbs 22:7).
3. cosigning a loan, for which the Bible uses the term “striking hands in pledge” (Proverbs 17:18; 22:26, 27)
4. getting involved in a financial transaction they did not understand (Proverbs 19:2) and that was not biblically diversified (Ecclesiastes 11:1,2)
Many times the financial stress could have been avoided by simply following the counsel and wisdom from God’s Word, the Bible. God promises great blessings to the believer who meditates on and follows his Word.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3 emphasis added)
Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart.” (Psalm 119:2)
Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. God gave him incredible wisdom and knowledge. At the end of his life Solomon concluded, “Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13). In the financial arena, the only way you can “keep God’s commandments” is to understand and implement God’s Word on finances.
In summary, when faced with an important financial decision, it is absolutely necessary that you seek God’s counsel and wisdom by studying and implementing what his Word says on finances.
If you would like to learn more about what God’s Word says on finances, I suggest that you visit the web site of Crown Financial Ministries (See links under Blogroll) and obtain some of the excellent materials available through this organization.
When dealing with an important financial decision, it is critical to obtain counsel from God. Why? “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.” (Job 12:13)
Too often we believe that we have to figure things out on our own, but this is not God’s will. God wants us to seek his counsel on any important decision: “But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘First seek the counsel of the LORD’” (1 Kings 22:5). Isaiah described God as “wonderful in counsel and magnificent in wisdom” (Isaiah 28:29).
God’s wisdom will be invaluable in making any financial decision. “The LORD gave Solomon wisdom, just as he had promised him.” (1 Kings 5:12) Similarly, today God will provide his wisdom if we ask in faith. James 1:5 states: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
If you want true financial wisdom, the starting point is to have the utmost respect for God—that is “the fear of God.” Proverbs 9:10 states, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” If you do not have a personal relationship with God (“knowledge of the holy one”), you will never be able to access true financial wisdom.
If you do have a personal relationship with God (Revelation 3:20), it is critical that you study God’s Word for his financial principles and spend quality time with God in prayer listening to his voice. God instructed Job, “Listen to me, be silent, and I will teach you wisdom” (Job 33:33). Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).
Many times God will speak to us by providing verses from his Word that clearly indicate his wisdom and his direction in a particular situation. For example, God’s admonition to plan ahead (Luke 14:28–30), the dangers of debt (Proverbs 22:7), and the importance of giving to God’s work (Proverbs 3:9, 10) can all provide specific direction in certain situations.
However, sometimes there are no verses that specifically apply to your financial decision. Then the only option is to spend quality time with God in prayer, seeking God’s wisdom and direction. God has promised that he will direct us (Psalm 32:8) and provide his wisdom (James 1:5).
A committed Christian who has a close personal relationship with God and who spends quality time with God on a regular basis can hear God’s gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:12) and discern God’s will for his life.
Whenever I am faced with any important decision, I spend quality time with the Lord, seeking God’s wisdom and direction. I use a spiritual journal to document my prayer requests and what I believe the Lord is saying to me. I specifically ask God to speak to my heart and mind and protect me from the enemy and my own selfish desires. I regularly review my journal, and if there is consistency in terms of what God has been saying to me, in faith I accept that as being God’s will for my life and act accordingly. When I have listened and implemented God’s wisdom and God’s specific direction in any financial decision, history has shown that it was the best decision.
In summary, whenever you face an important financial decision, you need to “first seek the counsel of the Lord” through prayer and listen to God’s directive for you. God has promised that he will provide his wisdom and his direction to us when we sincerely seek to do his will.