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(c) 2006 by Doug Britton, LMFT (Permission granted to print for personal use) The earth is the LORD'S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalm 24:1)
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Acknowledge that God Owns Everything
Understanding God's Ownership Changes How We Look at Money and Possessions
Introduction: Examine your attitude about money
The first things people want to talk about when they meet with me to discuss their financial problems are (1) who is to blame and (2) what steps they should take. They often are surprised when I suggest we first look at their attitude about money.
Budgeting, borrowing and debt, saving, tithing and other financial topics are important, but our attitude about money is more important. Once our way of thinking about money lines up with God's, its much easier to tackle the practical matters.
This online Bible study is the first of a series of free printable studies on money, finances, and possessions. More detailed information on these topics can be found in the book Putting Money in its Place. (This book, although written for married couples, has lots of information that will also help singles financially.)
Acknowledge God's ownership
The most important principle to keep firmly in mind is to understand whose money we are talking about. It's not yours. If you are married, it's not your mates. It is God's.
Gods ownership of everything is a foreign concept to most of us. We like to think of our money and our possessions. Yet the Bible makes it clear that God owns everything. All things were created by him and for him (Colossians 1:16). Everything belongs to him.
To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. (Deuteronomy 10:14)
You might ask, "But don't some Bible verses, such as Proverbs 3:9 and Colossians 4:15, refer to people owning possessions?" Yes, they do, but underlying these verses is the knowledge that everything belongs to God.
For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. (Psalm 50:10)
The world is mine, and all that is in it. (Psalm 50:12)
"The silver is mine and the gold is mine," declares the LORD Almighty. (Haggai 2:8)
For everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. (1 Chronicles 29:11)
Learn from Nebuchadnezzar's example
Nebuchadnezzar, one of history's most powerful kings, learned this lesson the hard way. One day he went for a walk. As he strolled he said, "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" (Daniel 4:30).
God's answer was quick and to the point: He took away the king's sanity and drove him outside to eat grass like a cow. Seven years later, when God restored Nebuchadnezzar's sanity, the king no longer exulted in his possessions, but glorified God as sovereign over all (Daniel 4:34-37).
Acknowledge God's ownership out loud
My wife Skeeter sometimes does a simple exercise to help her realize God's ownership deep in her heart. She says out loud that God owns each particular thing in her life.
She might say, "I'm in God's house, sitting here on God's chair, writing with God's computer and looking out God's window at God's garden."
When she talks like this, she feels refreshed. It seems much more special to live in God's house than our house. She imagines God smiling down on the garden, sniffing a red rose, sending a hummingbird along to drink some nectar.
"But I earned what I have. No one gave me anything."
Nebuchadnezzar's sin was one of pride and the illusion of self-sufficiency. In essence, he said, "Look at what I did all by myself."
You may have had similar thoughts, something like, "I earned my money. No one gave me anything. I had to work for it."
It may be true that you put in long hours to get where you are. Yet it is God who created you in the first place and gave you the strength and talent to make money.
You may say to yourself, "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me." But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today. (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)
For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (1 Corinthians 4:7)
Replace pride with thankfulness
Replace pride with a thankful attitude. It's okay to find satisfaction in your work (Ecclesiastes 2:24). Just remember to thank God for creating you and giving you the gifts, skills and strength that allow you to succeed.
Read 1 Chronicles 29:11-16. What, in your words, do these verses say?
Describe how you will look at "your" possessions:
How will you remind yourself to be thankful, not prideful?
What comes next?
How does seeing God as owner of everything help you deal with your finances? Click here to read part two in this series of Bible studies on finances, "See Yourself as God's Steward (or Assistant)."
To dig deeper into how to apply the Bible's truths about finances, check out the book "Putting Money in its Place". It covers financial principles and planning in detail, including tithing, borrowing, budgeting, investing, spending wisely, and many other practical topics. It includes a chapter for married couples on how to make financial decisions as a team. (Note: This is the seventh book in an eight-book marriage series. However, its biblical truths apply to single people as well as married couples.)
Click below for more tools for daily living
Online Bible study: "See Yourself as God's Steward (or Assistant)"
Book: "Putting Money in its Place"
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(c) 2006 by Doug Britton, LMFT (Permission granted to print for personal use)
The earth is the LORD'S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. (Psalm 24:1)
Unless otherwise indicated, Bible verses are from the New International Version (1984 edition).