The Bible is very clear when it comes to the things that please God and those things that are contrary to His Word. Unfortunately, we live in a society that tries to rewrite the rules of ethics and godliness to suit their own purposes. And sadly, many believers have chosen to live by those worldly, sinful standards and ignore God’s Word, which leads to a life not according to His will and not pleasing to Him. It is not God’s desire that we live ungodly lifestyles—lives that are in direct contradiction to what His Son has redeemed us from.
Did you know you’re just like Jesus? If you’re a believer, then God says you are. Not only that, but you have the same ability and authority that Jesus had when He was here on the earth, and that He operates in now that He is in heaven. I know that’s a lot to handle, but it’s what the Bible teaches, and what Jesus told His disciples. First John 4:17, New Living Translation, tells us, “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” And in John 14:12, The Message, Jesus said to His disciples, “The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it.”
You are free today! I can say that about you with 100 percent assurance, because it’s exactly what Jesus said about you. In John 8:36, The Message, Jesus told His disciples: “I tell you most solemnly that anyone who chooses a life of sin is trapped in a dead-end life and is, in fact, a slave. A slave is a transient, who can’t come and go at will. The Son, though, has an established position, the run of the house. So, if the Son sets you free, you are free through and through.” Now, you may be thinking, I’ve never been in slavery, so that doesn’t really apply to me. Yes, it does apply to you because at one time you were considered a slave.
On Wednesday, across our great nation we will celebrate Independence Day—the day in history that signifies the birth of our nation and the freedom granted every American citizen through the signing of the Declaration of Independence. As you enjoy spending time with family and friends on the Fourth of July, consider the true meaning of freedom and that your freedom did not come without a price. Celebrate by thanking God for the brave men and women who, down through the years, fought and made sacrifices to achieve your freedom—those whose blood was shed and who gave their lives to guarantee your right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” And thank God for giving all of us His Son, Jesus, who through the shedding of His blood, paid the price for our sin and redeemed us back to a blessed relationship and fellowship with our heavenly Father. That’s true independence!
All month we’ve discussed the fundamentals regarding stewardship, and what it means to be a good steward over your finances. In this final devotion, I want to share with you the first, and most important step toward good money management, and that’s making Jesus Christ the top priority in your life and acknowledging Him as your only Source for everything you need. It’s interesting to me the emphasis that’s placed on money and finances in this country. It’s as though money is the answer to everything—that it can solve every problem. The truth is, money cannot buy everything, and it doesn’t solve every problem. First Timothy 6:10 warns us not to love money. Yet, God chose to make money an important part of our lives for certain reasons. One of those reasons, I believe, is to help finance the building of His kingdom.
In 1 Peter 2:2, New Living Translation, the Bible says, “Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment.” I particularly like the last part of that verse, “Cry out for this nourishment,” because it emphasizes just how important it is that Christians receive spiritual nourishment. It’s vital to our survival. That’s why God’s Word encourages in 2 Timothy 2:15 that we “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The New Living Translation says, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” In the same way, it’s just as important that we seek godly instruction regarding the handling of our finances.