There is a clear biblical procedure for getting out of debt, for staying out of debt, and for becoming financially independent. The biblical definition for financial indepen-dence is being in the place where you never have to make a decision based on financial considerations, but simply on the revealed will of God. This is the condition in which every Christian should live. This should be our first and most important financial goal. Regardless of how bad our present financial condition is, there is a very simple biblical formula that will provide a sure way of escape: REPENTANCE + OBEDIENCE = FREEDOM We must start by recognizing any ways in which we have departed from the clear mandates of Scripture and then begin to obey the clear and simple biblical instructions for financial management. If we do, we will escape our present situation and begin to live a life of freedom that is better than we have ever dreamed.
Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late — and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work.
As she left a conference in Atlanta, Georgia, a woman was praying, “Lord, I’ll do anything for You. I’ll do anything. Just tell me what You want me to do, and I’ll do it.” In that moment she sensed something and realized, I’m supposed to turn left. It almost felt like a whim, but desperately wanting to obey God’s voice, the woman turned left. After driving for a little while, she felt as though she was supposed to turn right, so she did. Filled with anticipation, she wondered, Is God actually directing me to go do something right now? This is so exciting!
Before she knew it the woman ended up right in front of a little convenience store, which she sensed was the place the Lord was bringing her. Once inside, she couldn’t wait to see how the Lord would direct her, but the only thing that kept coming to her mind was, Go over in front of the clerk and stand on your head. Pretty weird, right? How many of us would reach that point and say, “Okay, no, that’s not God,” and get in our car and drive home? The direction this woman was sensing seemed odd enough that she could have easily discounted it, although it wasn’t something immoral or unbiblical. She prayed, “Lord, are You sure?” Then she felt nothing, no confirmation. So many times, that’s the gentleness of the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t force us to do anything. He’s not a bully, and He won’t shove us into doing what we’re unwilling to do. In that moment, this woman had a real choice to make. She said, “Okay.” It took her a little bit to build up the courage, and she hung around reading chip packages until everybody cleared out of the store. Then she ran up to the register and said, “Hey! Look what I can do!” There happened to be a pole right in front of the clerk, so she did a handstand against it. From her upside-down position, she saw him drop his head and shake it. She swung her legs down and thought, Man, he thinks I’m crazy—a real freak! But she walked up to the register and saw that the clerk was actually crying, so she asked, “What’s the matter?” He told her, “About half an hour ago, I was sitting here working, and I prayed, ‘God, if You’re real, have somebody come in here and stand on their head.’” The clerk ended up giving his life to Christ as a result of this woman’s obedience to God’s voice, and he has attended the same church as she does ever since.
The ability to hear what God is saying, to see what God is doing, and to move in the realm of the miraculous comes as an individual develops the same intimacy with and dependence upon the Father [as Jesus had]. How did Jesus do what he did? The answer is found in his relationship with the Father. How will we do the “greater things than these” which Jesus promised (John 14:12)? By discovering the same relationship of intimacy, simplicity and obedience.
If you know you’re living out your calling, financial security, location, notoriety, applause&power become increasingly less important. Obedience becomes the primary issue. Let others build fortunes & empires; calling leads you to surrender to God.” Gordon Macdonald
common sense tells us that when Paul commands Timothy to “endure hardship as a good soldier of Christ,” that is a command that I should seek to obey whenever I face hardship like Timothy. It transfers to me in principle. But when Paul commands Timothy, “Come before winter, bring my cloak, and especially the parchments,” we know that is a local, particular command, meant for Timothy only. The idea that all the imperative statements in the Bible should be taken literally, as if they all apply to me, is a nonsensical way of handling Scripture.
The crime novelist, Agatha Christie, was married to the archaeologist, Sir Max
Malowan, and she used to say that being married to an archaeologist had a certain advantage: because the older she got
the more interested he became in her! To love someone is to seek to get to know them better and better. And, as we get
to know them, we want to please them; we want to do their will: “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (v.
15). There is all the difference in the world (isn’t there?) between obedience motivated by the fear of the consequences
of disobedience, and obedience motivated by love and gratitude. Christian obedience is ‘love-affair’ obedience. It
springs out of knowing what Jesus has done for us and loving Him for it.