There’s a popular myth that managing money effectively is about knowledge and behavior. Figure out what to do and then do it. That’s it. Simple.
But there’s a crucial factor missing from that equation: The heart.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. – Proverbs 4:23
Marketers understand that principle. They know that making a sale is all about making an emotional connection between their products or services and our identity.
Believing that if we just know the right things about money we’ll be able to do the right things leaves us unarmed in the battle for our hearts.
Writing God’s Word on your heart
To be sure, there is a lot to know about money. Which is better for our situation — a traditional IRA or a Roth? How much life insurance do we need?
But the longer I’ve managed money the more I’ve seen that cultivating the right attitudes of the heart is just as important as cultivating the right knowledge. And the best way to do that is to memorize Scripture.
Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do. – Joshua 1:8
To memorize scripture is to write God’s Word on our hearts.
Doing so creates something of an internal gyroscope that keeps us on the right path when the winds of our culture threaten to push us off course.
Here are a handful of money-related verses that would be good to memorize.
Just as the rich rule the poor, the borrower is servant to the lender. – Proverbs 22:7
The Bible doesn’t say that having debt is a sin, but as one who once had $20,000 of credit card debt, I know firsthand that debt can be a form of bondage. That’s not the life Christ came to offer us. In a culture where it seems that debt is normal and inescapable, having Proverbs 22:7 written on our hearts can help us live in counter-cultural freedom.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. – Proverbs 21:5
Especially since we’re managing money that belongs to God, doesn’t it make sense that we would use a plan? Many people who’ve never tried using a budget (or, as I prefer, a “cash flow plan”) think it’ll be restrictive, that it’s about obsessively spending less. But it isn’t. It’s about freedom and it leads to profit.
Be sensible and store up precious treasures—don’t waste them like a fool. – Proverbs 21:20 (CEV)
Stuff happens. Expensive stuff. Having some savings in the bank reduces stress and prevents the need to take on debt when the unexpected happens.
Once you have a reserve, it can be tempting to spend it. Just think of the vacation you could take, or the TV you could buy. Having Proverbs 21:20 written on your heart can help you maintain an emergency fund.
If you haven’t cultivated the habit of memorizing Scripture, I highly recommend it. It’s an essential part of wise money management with surprisingly powerful practical benefits.