You’ve likely heard that there is a looming financial crisis that will effect virtually every American. It’s called the fiscal cliff and without intervention from President Obama and Congress, a series of tax increases and spending cuts will take effect on January 1st, 2013. A lot of what goes on in Washington causes passionate debates among armchair politicians all over the country but this is different. If something isn’t done–and fast–your taxes could rise $2,000 or more annually, 3 to 4 million jobs could be lost, and some economists believe that the country will fall back into a recession. This is a big deal and even for those who don’t interest themselves with financial news, this is one to watch.
But let’s pretend for a second. What if Jesus were walking the Earth today just as he did thousands of years ago. What advice would he have for lawmakers and each of us about the fiscal cliff?
“Bickering Won’t Solve Anything!”
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others..” – Philippians 2:1-4
Pointing fingers and playing the blame game doesn’t solve a problem. The Bible gives us plenty of direction on healthy ways to address and resolve conflict. Listen more than you talk and stay focused on the greater good. Being right doesn’t solve a problem but putting pride aside and being results driven does. That not only applies to Washington, but also to our own lives. Are there people in your life that are difficult to deal with? Jesus wants you to be the bigger person and lay aside pride for the sake of the greater good.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” – James 1:19
“There’s a Better Way to Manage Your Money”
A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. –Proverbs 28:20
Whether it’s a nation’s government or an individual, debt makes life much more difficult. Debt causes us to make decisions and concessions that we otherwise wouldn’t have if we have the financial freedom that a debt free life offers. What makes solving the fiscal cliff so difficult is the fact that America is deeply in debt and furthering the tax breaks does nothing to address that issue.
Take a lesson from Washington. Make the reduction of debt a top priority in your life. This allows you to make financial decisions that set you up for prosperity.
“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity,because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” –Ephesians 5:15-17
With increasing frequency, Washington is being criticized for making short term decisions at the last minute. Instead of working on issues early enough to craft long term legislation, procrastination causes the same problems to be fixed temporarily instead of for the long term. A large component of the fiscal cliff has to do with a measure from last years debt ceiling negotiations set to expire.
God doesn’t like procrastination. Tomorrow is promised to nobody and waiting until the last minute rarely produces great results. God doesn’t want you to fit Him into your schedule. He wants to be first.
“Don’t React Like ‘They’ Do”
for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy. –1 Peter 1:16
The political climate is volatile. People are passionate on both sides of every issue and they’re not afraid to voice their opinion. But Jesus calls each of us to think, say, and do in a way that is different from the rest of the world. He calls us to stand out from the crowd even if the crowd finds us to be, as the Bible says, peculiar. If you’re going to voice your opinion, make it uplifting. Compliment instead of tearing down and respect the leaders in power just as God calls us to do. If your opinion is a negative attack, keep it to yourself.
“Trust Me for Your Provisions”
What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness. – Romans 4:3
Above all, God wants us to trust Him for everything. Since Jesus’ time, and long before, the world has gone through trials. Governments struggled with money, wars were fought, and citizens were upset that their leaders weren’t doing more to help them. As Christians, we aren’t called to rely on our government. We’re called to rely on God for everything from finances to health, to career choices. A deep relationship with God built on prayer is how we gain the tools to stop relying on the world.
Do you struggle with relying on God for everything? Make it part of your prayer life. Be real with God and tell Him that you don’t know how to rely on Him and He will help.