In Galatians 5, we read about the 9 Fruits of the Spirit:
“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”
These 9 virtues are characteristics of the Holy Spirit living in us and can be viewed as guidelines, standards of how Christians should live their lives. Someone should be able to distinguish a follower of Christ from the rest of the world because these 9 virtues should be apparent in their daily life.
The infiltration of the Holy Spirit in our lives is not confined to our Sunday morning behavior, or the number of Bible studies we’ve participated in. It changes everything in our lives – including our finances.
Since the 9 Fruits of the Spirit should be apparent in every aspect of a Christian’s life, here are some practical ways that each can play out in your financial habits. Today, we will look at the first 4.
Though this Fruit of the Spirit applies to all relationships, I want to focus on talking about money and marriage.
Money is often cited as the greatest area of frustration, fighting, stress, and unhappiness in marriage. One spouse wants to budget, the other doesn’t. Neither spouse can agree on exactly how to spend their money or what to prioritize, so budgeting just leads to more arguments.
A couple can have a great financial plan and solid budget but still be worlds apart in their heart and mind. External solutions do not address the internal problems that cause strife.
But when couples unite under the headship of Christ, their love should preside over money. Treating one another with love when it comes to money requires calm communication, open discussions, humility and forgiveness.
John 15:12 – “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
One of the greatest threats to our walk with God is the trap of materialism. At first glance, the scriptural warnings about riches and their dangers might suggest that we should avoid all luxuries. But that’s simply not true. God does not prohibit us from enjoying the benefits of this world; after all, they are His.
What Scripture warns us against is the empty pursuit of “happiness” in the form of material possessions, wordly successes, and pointless gains.
Things of this world may bring you happiness, but only God can bring you lasting joy. If you want to have joy in your finances, you need to know and follow biblical financial principles.
You find joy when you praise God, thanking him for everything – even the trials and sorrow. This guards against self-righteousness, self-pity, pride, and joylessness. It helps you see your situation through God’s eyes and rest in His loving arms.
Nehemiah 8:10 – “The joy of the Lord is your strength!”
I don’t think many people are able to describe their financial situation as “peaceful”. It seems as though there is a constant stream of stress and worry when it comes to money, and the pursuit of financial peace is a difficult one.
To live with peace in your finances, don’t:
- Compare yourself to others
- Stretch your time and money too thin
- Make God’s priorities your priorities
- Serve others
- Focus on being faithful, not “successful”
Trusting God, we can say “No” to the demands of the world and seek ways to grow in faith, reduce distractions, and serve others. Start your days with praise and thanksgiving to the God of perfect love. He will fill your heart with peace that passes all understanding.
Isaiah 9:6 – “And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Patience is not a natural character of our flesh. In fact, we are naturally impatient. Just observe toddlers or teenagers for a little while!
But, God is patient and wants us to bear that fruit through His Spirit.
Financial patience requires discipline. It’s a matter of adopting a mindset of working and waiting, watching, and willing. Patience and budgeting go hand-in-hand.
So, we must establish a reasonable standard of living that allows us to live in obedience to God.
We establish priorities, free from the love of money, and live simply so we can give generously.
Proverbs 21: 5 – “Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.”
If you want to learn more about what the Bible says about your finances and how to live everyday as a steward, enroll in Crown’s online MoneyLife Personal Finance Study. It’s an in-depth, 7-week course that covers the biblical principles behind every aspect of your finances. It’s the perfect way to start the New Year right!