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The Problem With Possessions


Christian talk radio with Rob West

June 6, 2022

Buying something we really want can be exciting in the moment, but the joy of material possessions has a very short life. Once obtained, the excitement begins to wane. We’ll talk fleeting joy vs lasting fulfillment today on MoneyWise. The Roman statesman Pliny the Younger once said, An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit. We don’t often quote ancient pagan authors, but we’ll make an exception when they agree with a biblical financial principle. In this case, that possessions have no real lasting value. FLEETING JOY Jesus gives a long discourse on how we should view earthly possessions in Luke 12. In verse 15 he says, Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. And he goes on to say that we shouldn’t worry about what we will eat, or drink, or wear, because the Father already knows of those needs and He will provide. Jesus says, seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you. Do not' be afraid for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom. And in 1 John 2 we’re told, Do not' love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Martin Luther certainly knew this when he wrote I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands that I still possess. Luther was merely restating a profound biblical principle, that earthly possessions are fleeting. We’re not saying you should sell all you have and live a life of poverty. But it’s important to know that possessions always present a problem. THE TYRANNY OF STUFF Things demand attention. You have to store them, clean them, maintain them and fix them, and if you’re not careful you’ll find that acquiring things tends to push God out of first place in your life. God alone wants to meet our needs and give us peace and fulfillment. He wants to spend time with us and use us in his grand plan for the universe. That gets knocked aside if we look for fulfillment in cars, houses, electronics, new clothes and recreational shopping. Physical things can never meet spiritual needs. We can put this principle into practice through planning and action. PLANNING AND ACTION The first action should be prayer. As believers, we must do this daily anyway, but include your finances in your prayer time with the Lord. Do it together with your spouse if you’re married. Seek agreement on how you should manage your money. Planning means having a budget. It’s the only sure way to avoid overspending on things you don’t really need. Part of it should be a plan for what you’ll do with extra money, even if you don’t see it yet. The free MoneyWise app is a great tool for helping you develop your spending plan. Look for MoneyWise biblical finance where you get your apps. And if you need more help, you can also sign up with one of our volunteer coaches at MoneyWise. org. STEPS TO KEEP POSSESSIONS IN CHECK Here are some more practical steps to prevent possessions from taking over your life: - We’ve talked about the 30-day rule before. Wait that long before you buy something you don’t absolutely need. The desire will probably go away. Also, reflect on stuff you bought in the past and consider how long it kept you fulfilled. - If you’re married, make sure your spouse is aware of everything you purchase. That alone may limit your spending on unnecessary things. You and your spouse should agree on spending. Try to find middle ground if you’re at odds over something. - Avoid becoming house poor. Keep your mortgage including principal, interest taxes and insurance at or below 25% of your take home pay. - Only replace things when they no longer function, not when you want a newer, shinier model. Our friend Howard Dayton likes to talk about how he held onto cars until the wheels fell off. - And finally, ask God to help you be more generous. It’s counter-intuitive, but the key to breaking the chains of materialism is generosity. You’ll find that giving away money and things opens your heart and actually does something to you spiritually which makes giving far more fulfilling and fun than buying things. Well, we hope these ideas will help you avoid many of the problems that possessions can bring both financial and spiritual. On today’s program, Rob also answers listener questions: ● Should you pay off a credit card balance from savings or just pay it down monthly? ● How can you access your credit score? ● What can you do to eliminate your debt without adversely impacting your credit score? ● Will opening a new credit card help your credit score? ● Will closing credit card accounts adversely affect your credit rating? RESOURCES MENTIONED: ● Credit Karma ● Christian Credit Counselors

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