I remember the day Kara and I let our financial statements fall to the table, looked at each other, and realized something had to change. Personal debt had piled on top of business debt and we were just about at the end of our rope. We prayed a lot for relief and divine intervention but nothing seemed to be happening and things weren’t getting any easier.
I must’ve finally been in a place where I could hear God on the matter because a soft voice floated across my heart and asked me a question I hadn’t been able to hear before: “Are you ready to make changes?”
We were ready to respond and plans began to take root. All of our credit card accounts were closed and balances put into repayment plans. Anything that wasn’t received free into our television was disconnected and cell phones left the building. It took a lot of sacrifices and plain old time for the debt to begin disappearing but after a few years credit cards, cars, and other revolving debt was paid off.
I’m not an economist. Most of you know our message centers around the abundant life of Jesus and discovering ways to come alive in him. So I’m sharing this story with you for a couple of reasons. The first is that there isn’t anything that seems to steal the abundant life Jesus came to bring like financial problems. There are other major issues that hinder our walk with Jesus, and I don’t mean to minimize those, but one of the major issues we can almost assuredly find in prayer groups, conferences, and anyplace offering ministry is financial woes.
“We need financial breakthrough,” we cry and rush to buy whatever products seem to offer us the solution. Kind of ironic that those of us who desperately need financial breakthrough spend money we might not have in order to achieve it. But I digress.
This outcry leads me into the second reason I shared my story: Many of us who need something to change with our finances are convinced that the kingdom of darkness is working overtime against us, leveling curses of poverty we can’t seem to escape. We call out to God and others, receiving prayer and engaging in spiritual warfare but nothing changes. We still feel like there’s a curse and we still feel like we’re being smothered.
But what if it’s not a curse from our adversary at all?
Before I explain, I’d like to legitimize the oppression that comes from our adversary. Yes, there are times in which our enemy works some kind of scheme that impacts our finances in a negative way and the answer lies in prayer and warfare. Though we are NOT victims, the enemy wants to victimize us at every turn and sometimes that includes robbing us of the wealth God has for us.
But it’s not always the enemy throwing financial burdens on our shoulders. In fact, many times the reason we’re in a desperate financial place is because we’ve made a string of bad decisions and aren’t willing to bear the cost of making good ones.
The key to financial breakthrough for many of us is to recognize that bad decisions don’t fix previous bad decisions and in order for things to change, we’re gonna have to start making good choices.
That day at the table Kara and I started making good decisions and even though we sacrificed a lot, it was totally worth the freedom felt when making the final payments. There were many weeks during that span of years in which unexpected gifts gave us just enough to make it to payday. We never missed a bill, always had a pantry of food, and cars always had gas.
And that’s the key isn’t it? When we start making good decisions, we walk out of the shadows and into light where God can bless us abundantly. There was one bill we were paying on that was thousands of dollars. It vanished one day as if it was the day of Jubilee, and it was for us. We never received another statement for that one.
I don’t know your situation and I don’t know what you’ve got on your plate. Maybe you are under a legitimate curse from the enemy. But here’s a couple of questions for you: What are you willing to sacrifice in order to make good decisions? What are you willing to give up, cancel, or change?
There are always those of us who are legitimately unable to make better decisions for whatever reason. Telling them that they should choose differently is torture because they just can’t. They need programs that are available to help them. But most of us can take a breath, evaluate our situations and ask God to help us see what areas can change. And when he does, most of us have the power to make good decisions. We just have to find the courage to make them.
Jesse and Kara Birkey