In Psalm 51 King David wrote about his moral and leadership failure. He wrote about repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. One of my favorite verses from this passage is found in verse fifty-one. “But you desire honesty from the heart, so you can teach me to be wise in my inmost being.” (NLT)
Getting brutally honest with yourself is the first step to recovery and restoration of any kind. Until David got honest, he could not get better. The same is true with you and your finances. Take a long, hard look in the mirror and get brutally honest. That is really hard to do. It is a lot easier to make excuses and blame someone or something else. But until you get totally honest about your debt, your spending habits, and your income, you will never prosper. This principle applies to people from every economic level. It really does not matter how much money you make if you don’t manage it well. Spending more than you make is a path that only has one end – disaster.
Did you ever go to a carnival or a fair that had one of those funny mirrors that distorts how you look? I love standing in front of the one that makes you look thin and tall. I like to imagine myself being seven feet tall and playing in the NBA, dunking the basketball, blocking shots, bumping chests with my teammates, and blowing kisses to thousands of adoring fans. While fun to imagine, it is completely unrealistic. I would never blow kisses.
Isn’t that the way we like to look at ourselves? With distorted reality. It is hard to look at ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word, but that is exactly what is necessary. We have to know our own heart before we can change. We must take an honest look at our financial picture before we can improve it.
You must decide about how you manage your money. Do you want margin, less stress, and less worry? Do you want to plan for retirement? Do you want the financial peace that comes from managing your debt well and having enough money to pay your bills? Do you want to live with God’s blessings or if you want to live with stress and pressure all your life? Do you want to be able to give as God leads you? You must decide whether or not you are going to try to impress people you don’t like by buying things you don’t need with money you don’t have. Good luck with that. The better way is to get honest, get a plan, and determine to find contentment with what you have until you can afford more. Decide to get out of debt. You can do it. You can have peace. You can have true prosperity. But you can’t have it if you live like most Americans – spend more than you make, live on credit cards, rack up bad debt, make minimum payments, live a lie, and have absolutely no clue where your money goes.
Before I can live a blessed life financially, I have to get to know my own heart and be honest with myself about what I want in life and where those desires come from. Until you take time to think through your income, debt, and spending habits, you will not be able to establish a strong plan.
Do what David did. Pray. Ask God to help you. Become brutally honest with yourself. That is the first step to obtaining wisdom that permeates your innermost desires, thoughts, and plans. It is the first step to change. It is the first step to success.