Freedom from debt is not owing more than I have in cash or assets and not having any bills past due.

For as early as I can remember, my mom and dad taught me the most important principle of biblical finances: For every dollar I earned, ten cents belonged to God, and I was to faithfully honor God with that ten percent every week.

When we were young pastors, struggling financially, we had some needs that were going to cost more money than what we had in the bank. We decided to take a loan out from God. We simply would not pay our tithes for several months, then we would try to make it up later. We decided after the first two months we would never do that again!

It started with a complete break-down with our car. Then there was some unexpected plumbing repairs. Then there was a tooth that needed fixing. There were other instances, enough to be very obvious to us that we should not have “borrowed” from God. Since that time, we have learned to trust God to take care of our needs and the tithes have always come out of our paycheck before our bills, and there have never been any regrets!

Financial freedom can be defined this way: “Freedom from debt is not owing more than I have in cash or assets and not having any bills past due. Romans 13:8 (NLT) tells us to “pay all your debts, except the debt of love for others, You can never finish paying that! If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill all the requirements of God’s law.”

There are three basic factors of financial freedom: First, Our giving. We give God our tithes and offerings. Malachi 3:10 instructs us to “bring the tithes into the storehouse…” However, we also give to those in need. Proverbs 19:17 (MSG) says, “Mercy to the needy is a loan to God, and God pays back those loans in full.” And, we are to give to Christians as the Holy Spirit prompts. Romans 12:13 tells us to “help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.”

The second factor of financial freedom is in our receiving. Receiving funds comes through our diligent labor (Romans 12:11), creative resourcefulness, (Proverbs 31:13), and provisions in answer to prayer. Philippians 4:6 (TEV) tells us, “Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking Him with a thankful heart.”

Finally, the third factor of financial freedom is in our spending. Healthy pastors know how to manage their money wisely. And, managing money requires building sales resistance. Proverbs 20:14 (MSG) tells us, “The shopper says, ‘that’s junk- I’ll take it off your hands,’ then goes off boasting of the bargain.” Managing money also requires us to be prompt in meeting our financial obligations.

For years, I have dreamed of winning the Lottery. Especially when the figure gets to be over a hundred million. Then someone pointed out that in order to win, I must first buy a lottery ticket (I have never had that experience!). And then my friend pointed out, “Larry, once you buy the lottery ticket, the odds of you winning the lottery are 1 in eighteen million! On second thought, I think I like simply trusting the Lord to meet my needs.

Heres a question: Do you manage your money according to scripture, or does your money manage you?