Making a decision with your best interests in mind is what most people do most of the time. That is natural. Making a decision for the purpose of making yourself happy is something that people also do. That may seem natural, but a decision made to make you happy may not always be in your best interest. You might think, “Aren’t decisions made with my best interests in mind and to make me happy something that go hand in hand?” The answer is: not always! They can often be in conflict with each other.
Our country is in a financial mess. I think almost every American citizen believes that to be true to some extent. How did we get there? Isn’t that the question of the decade? Well, at least one way we got there is through people making decisions that made them happy, but were not necessarily in their best interests.
In the last decade, multitudes of people have become homeowners; many for the first time. Many others stepped up to a home of greater value. I am sure that every one of these people was excited and happy, but a huge percentage of them did not make good financial decisions. They bought something that caused them to live on the financial edge — owing more than they could afford — especially if they were to experience a financial interruption or the economy soured.
Buying a home is a good thing. It will initially make the buyer happy. Buying what you can afford will not only bring initial happiness, but also long-term happiness. That is a person making a decision in their best interest and to make themselves happy. But for the one who did not do due diligence — figuring out what they could honestly and reasonably afford even with a setback — that person made an emotional decision that would only bring short-term joy. It was not truly in their best interests.
This country has become a nation of people looking for artificial and short-term joy born from emotional decisions at the expense of their own and others best interests. Spending what you do not have brings very short-term joy. It is not in your best interests; living within your means is.
For me, that all begins with honoring God with my firstfruits — the tithe of my income. From there, it means planning and prudence in spending; thinking through my expenses and what I can and cannot afford. Like most of us, I have learned the hard way that spending to get joy does not work and it eventually brings misery.
People spend for emotional release — to feel better when they’re down, or because “they deserve it” — not because they can afford it. People make emotional decisions that lead them to buy what they can’t afford, to eat what produces fat and poor health, to enter into relationships or sex outside of God’s word and in reckless ways — to do stupid things — in order to make themselves happier; not because they are choosing what is in their best interests. People that live this way are always working to recover from the collateral damage of their emotional decisions.
1 Tim. 6:10 tells us, “For the love of money is at the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” Money is simply a means of exchange. It’s not good or evil and God does not call it evil. He says the “love of money” is the root of all evil. If money is simply a medium of exchange, you could say, “The love of exchange is the root of all evil.” In other words, it’s the LOVE of exchange or getting things — money, things, people, sex, porn; whatever people are trying to get — without processing getting it with God and their best interests at heart. It first has to prudently fit within God’s boundaries that are there to protect you.
You then have to ask, “If I do this what will it really cost? What will be the long-term fruit? Can I honestly say I am sure that God is fine with this?” When you’ve examined those kinds of thoughts rather than have a lust or “love of exchange” born from an emotional desire to get happier, you’ll make prudent decisions that bring long-term happiness.
John 16:24 “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.