“Many of us look at our money, possessions, and talents as our own to do with as we please. We can have an attitude of ownership and pride. Deuteronomy 8:17–18 warns us against this attitude and reminds us God gives the power to obtain wealth. Psalm 24:1 tells us the earth and everything in it belongs to God. Acknowledging these truths leads us to view ourselves as stewards instead of owners.”
Millennials want to change the world. They’re passionate about living lives of purpose and meaning. Unfortunately, they’re often prevented from pursuing their passions because of vast loads of financial debt.
According to Business Insider, millennials hold $1.1 trillion of consumer debt—nearly a third of all consumer debt in the United States even though they make up only a quarter of the population. Millennials also account for more than half of people who say they’re worried about defaulting on their loans.
How did millennials get into so much financial trouble? They’ve received little financial training, college tuition has skyrocketed during their lifetimes, and student loans have become as easy to get as candy canes on Christmas. This combination of factors has landed many millennials in debt, unable to achieve their goals. With all this debt, it’s harder to buy a home, own a car, save for retirement, and start a family. Many millennials are asking how they can make a difference in the world when they can barely make their debt payments.
We’ve been there, too. No two situations are ever the same—and we don’t want to be overly prescriptive where this becomes gospel truth—but we do believe God has provided his people with principles to help manage money.
Here are four common attitudes about money God wants to change in the lives of his followers.
1. Replace ‘It’s mine’ with ‘It’s God’s.’
Many of us look at our money, possessions, and talents as our own to do with as we please. We can have an attitude of ownership and pride. Deuteronomy 8:17–18 warns us against this attitude and reminds us God gives the power to obtain wealth. Psalm 24:1 tells us the earth and everything in it belongs to God. Acknowledging these truths leads us to view ourselves as stewards instead of owners.
A steward asks, “God, what would you have me do with these gifts you’ve given me?” For many, this shift in mindset revolutionizes every financial decision.
2. Replace ‘You only live once!’ with ‘You live better with wisdom.’
YOLO. Who hasn’t blamed an impulsive act on this catchphrase? But too often “YOLO” is the attitude behind foolish financial behavior, an excuse to overspend now and deal with the consequences later. While it feels good in the moment, overspending sentences us to less freedom in the future.
The antidote to YOLO is the wisdom from God’s Word. Scripture teaches five basic money-management principles that, if followed, keep us financially secure and feeling good for longer than a moment:
(1) Spend less than you earn.
(2) Minimize the use of debt (and follow biblical principles when taking on debt).
(3) Give generously.
(4) Maintain an emergency fund.
(5) Set long-term goals.
Walking in wisdom flings open the door to financial freedom in this life.