Of Budgets and Breadsticks

Making the rounds in all the evangelical churches in this area is the personal financial program called Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsay. It’s a program designed to teach a person/family how to get control of their finances and live in financial peace. I read Dave’s book 3 years ago and it certainly is a good program.

My wife and I have a few friends that have gone through the program or are going through the program. We have yet to see one couple take it seriously. They all enter the program wanting to get control of their out-of-control finances…..that is until they find out they have to stop wanting so much stuff and stop spending so much.

Then, well, maybe being financially sound isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

As I’ve posted before, my wife and I have lost a lot of weight. It’s taken us nearly 4 years and a lot of work to do it the way we’ve done it. Especially for my tenacious wife. But we’ve been rewarded. Between the two of us, we’ve lost around 160 lbs.

This is the third time I’ve lost a lot of weight. The last two being those programs you see on TV. Although successful, I gained it back and then some because I wanted a quick fix instead of changing my life and mindset entirely.

In other words, until we were ready to change for good and realize that what made us fat in the first place is something we needed to stop forever, we were NEVER going to be successful. Period.

We cannot count the number of people we have run across that ask us how we lost the weight. They beg us to tell them. Please, Please tell me. Until we do. As soon as we begin to tell someone they have to restrict the amount of food they eat and make healthy choices, in absolutely every case, their eyes glaze over, they back away, and they no longer want to talk about it. They want a quick fix.

Same thing goes for ‘ol Dave Ramsay’s program. I see almost everyone entering into that program thinking there will be a quick fix not realizing that the very things that made them broke in the first place will continue to make them broke and enslave them until they change their mind and life.

So here is where I get spiritual with this whole thing. These people we are talking about are our fellow church members. Christians. Our friends.

Until we see money for what it is, we will never have control of it. Money is God’s way of providing for our daily needs. It’s not to blow on our pleasures more than it is to provide for our daily bread and that of others. But we don’t want to see it that way. We see big screen TV’s as needs. We see $300 dollar purses as needs. We see 4×4, dually, crewcab, diesel pickups as needs.

And once we have filled our bellies with all of the stuff, we need a quick fix. How does that honor God?

James 1:14 says this:

but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (NIV)

It’s not the devil doing it. It’s not society doing it. It’s not our parent’s fault. It’s our own appetites. It’s our own desires and lusts we won’t control.

We need to make the proper usage of food and money a spiritual matter between us and God. We need to change our way of thinking and see food and money as God’s provision for us, not as something to literally indulge our flesh with.

Christians can  attend all the Financial Peace Universities and Christian weight loss programs in their churches they want to, but until they make the decision to stop stuffing their pie holes, getting up off the sofa and walking, and stop lusting after stuff, they will always struggle with food and money.

I know. I’ve been there. Many times. Until I cut up my credit cards and quit stocking the shelves with junk food, nothing ever changed. The desire was always there to spend and eat. And still is, every day. We had to create our own limits.

A wise man I know once said “If you continue to do what you’ve always done you’ll always get what you’ve always got”.

There I said it.


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