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Restraint

December 14th, 2012

Living with restraint improves every area of your daily and spiritual life.

“Now, Godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6 NKJV.

Too many America’s families outspend their income, carrying excessive credit card debt. Though some could assign the financial dilemma to rising costs or other unexpected expenses, most debt results from self-indulgent overspending, thereby accumulating growing debt. When I was still a boy, my Dad taught me a profitable, financial philosophy, “If your outgo is more than your income, then your upkeep with be your downfall.” That works for me; that’s Bookkeeping 101.

News reports the national burden of unparalleled foreclosures from sub-prime mortgages. In too many cases, families bought bigger, more costly homes than they could afford at the time through temporarily lower, adjustable rate mortgages anticipating property values to continue rising. Eventually the increase of their payment was beyond what their income could absorb, and they faced losing their homes and owing more than their house was now worth. Lenders with too many sub-prime loans closed and the stock market reacted downward. The problem is not just the struggling economy or rising costs; our problem is personal lack of restraint.

The Bible’s counsel is: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” 1 Tim 6:6-9 NKJV. The answer is not in your income or checkbook balance; the answer begins in your heart and understanding. The problem is simple, an insatiable desire to acquire without financial discipline or restraint first. Such a common problem expresses itself in other areas of personal excess such as misbehavior, immodesty, profanity, or irresponsibility.

We spoil ourselves and harmfully indulge our children with an unspoken philosophy of immediate gratification, the belief that you should and can have whatever you want right now. What happened to the reliable principle of saving responsibly and spending wisely? The lifestyle of many is expressed in the attitude, “Get it now and pay for it later.” Instant gratification replaces deferred satisfaction. If you can’t afford it now, you will not afford it later without the sacrifice of first saving for it. Governments – local, state, national, or international – do not understand this Godly principle; you and I can hardly afford not to understand it.

Fiscal restraint comes from trust and confidence that God will provide, not only what you need but when you truly need it. Now really, is it wise to acquire for yourself something that God has not chosen to provide, or to do so prior to the time He has chosen? The Bible stands true, “My God will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19 NKJV.

My prayer today is that you learn to wait on the Lord and trust in His provision.

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