Real Talk is me being real. It could also be that I’m getting down to the real nitty-gritty. In all four Gospels, Jesus liked to get right down to business with those who encountered the Son of God. And His character is the perfect example for all believers (Luke 1:1—24:53).
“. . . and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33 KJV)
Okay. So what does that mean, right? Lately, I have been curious. So I took a look.
To “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” means that we should seek God first when we need help. We should try our best to make His character our own. We should think His thoughts, thinking of things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise (Philippians 4:8). And in everything we do, we should be sure to serve and obey Him.
In this day and age, just about everything else we encounter in a typical day can distract us from God. We must actively seek Him, or any of these things can become what is most important. What is it that is most important to you?
10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.
11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?
Last week’s Real Talk post was The Secret of Being Content, and this week I would like to write about managing money. I used to be reckless and irresponsible with my finances. It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I thought to myself, it’s a good time to start over! And because I never want to be in that position again, whenever my spending begins to accelerate, I hit the brakes and ask myself a few questions:
Is this a wise decision? Is this a responsible decision? Is this purchase a necessity? Is there a better time to purchase this?
The following are biblical truths: it should never be about spiritual pride or religious effort (“confidence in the flesh”) (Philippians 3:2-3 NIV). “And without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). False teachers (“those who reject the truth”) will try to persuade believers to base decisions more on human judgment (“myths or to the merely human commands”) than on discernment through prayer and God’s Word (Titus 1:10-14 NIV).
But personally, the financial responsibility comes from the desire for excellence before the Lord. It’s just something that I like to do for Him. I truly believe that He delivered me from my homelessness. I also believe that being trustworthy with the little I have is reassurance for the eternal. I can’t even fathom what the true riches of God’s kingdom will be!
I have been buying new shoes at a discount department store lately. Before military school, I went to a public high school. And this is Real Talk, so let’s be real. Especially in high school, I cared about popularity. And I felt that being accepted at that school was related to wearing expensive clothing. And that stayed with me until I came to Christ. Anytime I bought clothes, everything had to be name brand.
But that’s not the reason why I went to military school. The reason is that I was a mess. The more I chased the acceptance of the in-crowd, the further it became.
The apostle Paul wrote about knowing “what it is to be in need” and “what it is to have plenty” (Philippians 4:12 NIV). And after reading his story (Acts 7:58—28:31) and his letters, this particular verse especially speaks to me.
There were times in my life, like when I was growing up, that I certainly had. And there were other times in my life, like in my testimony about being homeless, that I had not.
But I declare with great joy 😁 that the Lord has set me free and given me confidence in this area! To be content with maintaining a budget and no longer living beyond my means.
I remember when I first transferred to my four-year university. I changed my major to Public Administration (I graduated with a degree in Marketing 😂) and had aspirations to run for mayor of Allentown and rebuild the city. While working at a retail store, I worked with a retired engineer who told me about the CCC.
The Civilian Conservation Corps was a program established as part of the New Deal during the Great Depression. It helped lower the unemployment rate by providing jobs for hundreds of thousands of young men on environmental conservation projects.
From then on, I wanted to start something that used that acronym. What I didn’t know was what it would be or if it would ever happen. It reminds me of this Scripture verse about being set apart:
Romans 8:28 KJV
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
This verse is a promise that if we love Him and are “called” (have received Christ), God will work in “all things” for our good, even things far into the future. And to fulfill His purpose. The short story mentioned above certainly seemed like an isolated incident at the time!
The Gospel of John shows Jesus as fully human and fully God and the Father’s unique Son—this is the foundational truth of Christianity. I realize it’s a lot to understand at first—that Jesus lived on the earth as a man, yet He is God.
To help put it into perspective, I previously wrote Giving the Glory to God. Genesis 1:1—2:3 shows us that God created the heaven and the earth. And I cross-referenced these verses in Scripture:
“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:15-17 NIV)
Colossians 1:15-17 shows us that Jesus is also our Creator. If we do not believe this essential truth that Jesus is the Creator and Sustainer of all things who gives us eternal life, how will we have the faith necessary to trust in this promise?
God is love (1 John 4:16). Love is the reason why God creates, and He has created us to love. God cares for us even as the sinners we are because He loves us. Each person has a choice because God wants us to respond to Him out of love. Christ’s love for us caused Him to die on the cross because sin was a problem that needed conquering! And eternal life is an expression of God’s love that will last forever.
I wanted to pick a tagline that would be the theme of this blog. I began thinking about one of the most fundamental ways to ensure that a person of faith is moving in the right direction. And then it came to me: make sure that you are “Giving the Glory to God!”
In daily life, it is easy to attribute things to ourselves. Whether it’s creating a website, or maybe it’s a job promotion, or even riding a bicycle 🚲 without training wheels. But the following are only two of the many examples found in Scripture of why we should be giving the glory to God:
God created the heaven and the earth (Genesis 1:1—2:3). Take a moment to think about that. God is our Creator. He created the universe and everything in it, and He made us in His image as reflections of His glory.
God is worthy to receive the glory for creating all things (Revelation 4:11). In my opinion, the entire Chapter 4 of Revelation emphasizes the sovereignty of who God is in our lives.