We’ve all seen enormous elephants at the circus, or other public venues, kept in place with a small chain tied to their leg. Doesn’t the elephant realize it can easily break the chain with barely a tug? Yet, it doesn’t even try for the same reason many us allow things to keep us chained far too long. For the elephant learned years earlier, when it was too small and weak to break the chain, that it was pointless to even try. As a result, even though it grew in strength and stature over time, the lessons from its past, continue to keep it bound.
Likewise, what experiences from our past keep us bound to bad habits and restrictive mindsets? In my career, I have found a prime example of this type of restrictive mindset, regardless of income levels, resides in the area of financial stewardship. Unfortunately, this remains a prominent stronghold many struggle with, but there is hope. For as we examine the habits that keep us chained, we soon discover the attributes essential to breaking them are already in our possession:
Our Past: Unfortunately, many of us never learned sound stewardship principals from friends and/or family – especially in regards to money. So, we end up with habits that cause us to struggle against positive progress (Isaiah 43:18). For some, the struggle may be taking on too much debt; for others, they may unknowingly leave their families and businesses unprotected and vulnerable; and for others, they may fail to plan for future emergencies and needs, such as retirement – and the list goes on and on. Therefore, building our financial confidence and stability can be accomplished by improving our financial IQs. Thankfully, this can be done, but only when we proactively seek counsel from reliable sources – and the Bible is the primary source. In addition, there are various Christian ministries specifically organized to serve this broad area of need.
Our Pride: It’s not until we admit we have a potential problem, place our pride aside and apply new habits can we begin making progress (Proverbs 11:2). This, pride keeps many chained, because it prevents us from acknowledging our flaws, seeking advice and making changes. This is because often times sacrifice and discipline is required, and for many, this can be difficult. For we don’t want to control expenses, budget, save and postpone immediate desires. However, the payoff to putting pride aside often proves to be one of the most powerful things we can do in establishing stronger stewardship practices and financial IQs.
Our Prejudice: One source defines prejudice as a prejudgment, or the forming of an opinion before becoming aware of the relevant facts about a case. Therefore, we can have financial prejudice when we falsely assume there is no hope for our situation, or that we have plenty of time to address issues. The truth is, it’s never too late, or too early for anyone to get started breaking the barriers to a more secure and biblically obedient future (Matthew 19:26).
Application: “Avoiding The Pitfalls To Pride and Prejudice” – Isaiah 43:19
Are we still chained to restrictive mindsets and behaviors? Thankfully, these chains can be broken and have been broken by many. It takes work, sacrifice, discipline and planning, but it can be done. We may have never seen healthy financial habits, or even authentic Christian lifestyles, but we don’t have to repeat the negative cycles. When we seek Christ, He not only restores what the “locusts” have devoured, but restores our life so that we can begin making Godly choices and decisions with not just money, but with our lives and for His glory.