What would you ask for if you knew God would give you anything you wanted? Would you request money, a long life, or some kind of prominent position?
When God appeared to Solomon and allowed him to ask for whatever he wanted, Solomon asked for wisdom. God was so pleased with his request that He not only made him the wisest person who ever lived – apart from Jesus – He also made him the richest person. This set in motion a principle that we need to be aware of in dealing with our finances: wisdom always precedes wealth.
There are over 200 verses in the book of Proverbs that deal with money, and each of them fall into one of seven categories. Proverbs 9:1 says, “Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars.”
When the seven pillars of godly wisdom are in place in your life, they provide support for your financial success. If even one of them is weak or missing, you will have trouble with money.
Here are the seven pillars:
1) Honor God with your money.
Proverbs 3:9-10 says, “Honor the LORD with your possessions, and with the firstfruits of all your increase; so your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
God wants you to have money, but He doesn’t want you to trust in riches. He wants all your confidence to be in Him. When you honor God by giving Him the first of whatever you get, it breaks the power of the love of money off your life.
God says that, when you release what you have in your hand, He will release blessing back into your life. That’s why tithing (giving God the first 10% of all your increase) never hurts you financially. God blesses what you have left, and you are able to live better on the 90% than you would have on the 100%.
2) Be diligent and have a good work ethic.
Proverbs 10:4 teaches: “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes him rich.”
Laziness and idleness always lead people into poverty. God wants us to do everything we do with diligence and excellence. That means you should work hard, have a good attitude, and do the best you can with what you have.
No matter how old you are, God has things for you to do. If your goal is to get rich, retire and do nothing, you are probably not going to be very prosperous. But if your goal is to glorify God in everything you do, you will let Him be the driving force of your life. Then you will be successful in every area of life – including your finances.
3) Be careful of debt, and don’t co-sign.
Proverbs 22:7 reveals a very important truth. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
When you take out a loan, you become someone’s servant. Until it’s paid off, you spend part of your time each week working to pay the lender instead of enjoying what God wanted you to have.
What about credit cards? They aren’t evil; just make sure you use them as a convenience, not as an alternative to saving. And always pay them off 100% each month so you don’t end up paying outlandish interest on them.
A debt mentality will prompt you to borrow for things like VCRs and TVs, or for vacations and going out to eat. Here’s a good rule of thumb: if an item depreciates in value the minute you take it out of the store, don’t borrow money to purchase it. There are some exceptions – like borrowing to get a car when the interest rate is low or at 0%. Generally, though, you will be much better off waiting and saving.
Proverbs 22:26-27 (NLT) says, “Do not co-sign another person’s note or put up a guarantee for someone else’s loan. If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.”
What a shame it would be to lose something vital to your family as a result of co-signing for someone else’s loan. The spiritual principle involved is that you should never assume responsibility for something you have no authority over. Since the Bible says that it is unwise to co-sign, don’t do it!
4) Be generous; give to the poor.
Proverbs 11:24-25 teaches: “There is one who scatters, yet increases more; and there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty. The generous soul will be made rich, and He who waters will also be watered.”
Don’t have an arrogant attitude or be greedy. God will bless you when you love people and are generous with those who have less than you.
5) Seek counsel from those who have proven their wisdom.
Proverbs 13:18 says, “Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.”
The most prosperous people – those who get wealth and keep it – are teachable concerning financial matters.
Some people won’t accept advice either because they think they know it all or because they are afraid of looking foolish. They’d rather go broke than get help. It’s much better to seek counsel from a financially successful person than it is to keep reproducing costly mistakes!
6) Be financially faithful and avoid get-rich-quick schemes.
Proverbs 28:20 teaches us that “a faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.”
It is better to be faithful with what you already have than it is to get involved with the latest get-rich-quick scheme. Faithfulness is important to God. Besides, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. There is no greater insult to you and your family than to gamble your money away. You’ve worked hard, exchanging your time and your life to get it, why risk spending it knowing there may not be a return?
Before you buy that lottery ticket, remember whose money it is you’re using. Ultimately, it belongs to God, and you are the steward over it. Be faithful.
7) Walk in honesty and integrity.
Proverbs 15:6 says, “In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.”
Don’t compromise what you know to be right in order to get ahead. All the money in the world is not worth dishonoring God or losing your reputation. What good is it to be rich if you lose your spouse, your children, or your health?
You will be blessed as you put God first and apply these seven pillars of wisdom from His Word.
“The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it” (Proverbs 10:22).