Written by Jim Loscheider (Elder) on December 30, 2022
Setting goals is what responsible adults do. I often challenge myself to set specific goals to grow spiritually, personally, and professionally. New Year Resolutions are fine, but most people don’t keep them. Put another way, goals are the starting point for lifelong habits that lead to success.
AW Tozer says, “Faith is not a conclusion you reach…it’s a journey you live.” Unfortunately, good and bad habits have become a way of life. Good habits move us upward, bad habits tear us down. Setting financial goals for 2023 is a move up.
Some might differ with the thought that setting financial goals (habits) fits into the personal/spiritual area of our lives. But as Christians, I would argue this is where financial goals belong. If we understand that the Bible teaches that God owns it all, then our finances are His, and anything that we do with the financial resources He entrusts to us is a spiritual matter first, and then a personal practical matter, second.
With this foundation in mind then, what would financial goals look like for the believer?
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Goal #1: Give to God first, and give generously
The Bible has a lot to say about generosity and money. Here’s where I like to start: “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce” (Proverbs 3:9).
The tithe is where we as Christians start. If you’re not tithing already, set tithing as your first goal for 2023 (also check out Malachi 3:8-12)
Someone asked me years ago, “Should I tithe on my gross income or net income?” My answer: “Do you want a net blessing or gross blessing?” Mind you, this is not giving to get, it’s obedience to what the Bible teaches.
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Goal #2: Set aside $1,000 in an Emergency Fund
Do this in a separate bank account. This is your beginner Emergency Fund because after you complete goal number three, you need to grow this to 3-6 months of your income. Think of this as you think of your spare tire in your car. It’s there for emergencies.
Goal #3: Pay off all consumer debt
This may sound like a tall order, but it’s crucial to gaining control over our tendency to overspend. Another way to approach this is to spend less than you make. Make this your goal…live on less.
Then begin to work on getting out of credit card debt first, then student loans if you have them, then auto loans, medical debt etc. Get serious about getting out of all consumer debt. Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”
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Final Thoughts as 2023 Begins
These are the top three goals (that establish powerful lifelong habits) in priority order. To be successful and counter the culture of materialism that we live in, you need to make these goals into habits.
Once these become habits, you are in a blessable position to fight against the materialism of the world, and wisely manage what God entrusts to you for His glory. Happy New Year!
Wise Financial Resources is a new ministry launched at Alliance Bible Fellowship that provides curated resources from various trusted Christian authorities/experts at our church.