Why Do Christians Experience Financial Hardships?
Christianity doesn’t insulate you from worldly problems. Most Christians, if asked, would say they agree with that statement. Yet, when faced with difficult situations, we act as if something bizarre and unexpected is happening to us. Some of us even go as far as questioning God’s faithfulness towards them, especially when faced with financial hardships.
When we read Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you,” it’s easy to misunderstand what it means. Yes, God has promised to take care of us and our needs, but how he’s going to do that may not meet our expectations or keep up with the lifestyles we’re accustomed to, and that’s where the struggle begins.
There are many reasons why Christians experience financial hardships, and we can’t cover all of those reasons in this article. Instead, I want to focus on three main reasons Christians face financial hardships and what you can do to overcome and even thrive through them.
IT’S NOT GOD
Before I get into the three reasons why Christians face financial hardships, let me address the one reason they do not. God! Financial hardship can never be blamed on God being unfaithful to his promise to provide. If you, like me, have blamed God for your financial lack, let me tell you as kindly as I can. You are wrong!
God is always faithful to his promises, and he will never go back on his word. God is faithful! What we often miss when we read God’s promises regarding provision is our part in that equation.
Many of God’s promises have conditions, often involving us doing something. There’s also the matter of God’s will and purposes which we can never fully know. When faced with any struggle, the best position we can take is to acknowledge our limitations and recall God’s faithfulness in the past.
3 Reasons Christians Experience Financial Hardships
1) GOD’S FINANCIAL PRINCIPLES ARE DISREGARDED OR DISOBEYED
God has given us many financial principles in his word. Saving, debt, spending wisely, and investing, are but a few of the financial principles we find in the Bible. Principles are like laws, and consequences and penalties follow if you disregard or disobey them.
If you don’t save, take on too much debt, or spend unwisely and excessively, difficult financial circumstances will result. Though there is a lack of biblical financial education in the church, it is not an excuse when God’s word is readily available to all. The Bible says if you lack wisdom, all you need to do is ask, and God will give it to you. (James 1:5)
As Christians, we are responsible for learning and obeying God’s principles and commandments, which God reveals in His Word. If you don’t yet know God’s financial principles, there are many books and resources to help you learn and apply them. This article specifically identifies 12 financial principles from God’s word, and there are some other suggested resources below we encourage you to consider.
2) LIVING IN A SIN-FILLED WORLD
Sometimes the financial hardships you face have nothing to do with what you’ve done or not done. We live in an imperfect, sin-filled world, and the consequences of sin affect us all. God has given people the option to choose between right and wrong, and sometimes people choose wrong.
There are too many examples of greedy investment firms that ran Ponzi schemes that robbed millions of people of their life savings. There are also economic and natural disasters that we have no control over, which will negatively impact our finances and cause extreme hardships.
Regardless of the cause, it’s important to remember, as Christians, that our hope is not in how much money we have in the bank or our retirement accounts. Saving and investing are essential principles, and we should be diligent in obeying them wisely. But our hope is in God alone, and He promises to always be with us and care for us, especially in difficult times.
3) GOD USES FINANCIAL HARDSHIPS TO INCREASE OUR FAITH
Romans 12:2 says, “..do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...” It is easy to comfort to this world’s ideology and embrace its many pleasures. We have so many material goods available to us, so many comforts and distractions to preoccupy us that staying faithful and true to God and our calling is becoming more difficult.
This world is not our home. The Bible says we are “temporary residents and foreigners,” and as such, we are “to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against our souls.” (1 Peter 2:11 NLT)
God will use any opportunity to grow and keep your faith and trust in Him. He can create or allow financial hardships to occur in your life for the purpose of correction, instruction, and spiritual growth. He does this out of love. Hebrews 12:10-11 tells us that God chastens us “for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.” And though for now the chastening is “painful, nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Financial hardships happen to most, if not all, Christians. If the reason is due to disregarding or disobeying God’s word, there’s something you can do about it. Learn and apply God’s financial principles, and most of the self-inflicted financial struggles you’re experiencing will diminish or disappear entirely.
Remember that if you surrender your life to Christ, your destiny is secure in Him. This world is not your home; whatever you face is only temporary, and God is with you through every circumstance. Let Him lead you as you steward what he’s entrusted into your hands and allow your faith and trust in him to grow.
About the author: Leo Sabo is the president of the Christian Stewardship Network, where he gets to share the incredible impact financial stewardship and generosity can have in the Church. Leo loves to see people experience their own financial awakening. He’s spent the last 17 years working with couples, individuals and church leaders; helping them understand and manage finances conforming to Biblical principles.