The ongoing COVID crisis in India has left people suffering not only medically and emotionally, but also in terms of their finances. Crores of people have lost their jobs or businesses due to COVID, and many have had to face pay cuts. The economic impact of the pandemic has been devastating for many.
Thankfully God offers hope and encouragement in His Word for those struggling financially at this time. This encouragement is particularly for those who are related personally to God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you know Christ today and are one of the many who have taken a financial hit because of COVID, here are eight biblical principles to keep in mind as you pass through this challenging season:
- Remember That God Is In Control.
Our financial struggles are not a matter of bad luck or ill fate. The Bible tells us God rules every aspect of the universe, down to the flight path of every sparrow and the number of hairs on our heads (Matt. 10:29-30). Nothing takes God by surprise, and in fact nothing happens without God’s permission. God loves you, and He is not ignorant of your situation. He is with you even during this difficult time (Ps. 23:4), and will bring you out of it at the right time (1 Pet. 5:10).
- Remember That God Will Provide.
God has promised to provide for His people (Phil. 4:19). Jesus said that if God feeds the birds of the air (who don’t sow or reap) and clothes the flowers of the field (who don’t labour or spin), He will certainly provide for His own precious children (Matt. 6:25-30). We don’t always know how exactly God will provide for us – whether by arranging a job, or an unexpected gift from a friend, or support from our church family. But however God chooses to do it, we can trust in His promise to provide for us.
- Don’t Let Money Become Your Idol.
Have you ever thought the following: “If I just had a little more money, then I would be able to relax, then I would be at peace, then I would be happy.” Be honest! These thoughts may be an indication that money has for you become what the Bible calls an ‘idol’ (Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5). An idol isn’t necessarily a religious statue or image that we bow down to physically, but it’s anything we love or desire in our hearts more than God Himself. Jesus made it clear that we can’t serve both God and money (Matt. 6:24), and the fact is that money can’t satisfy or save us. Only the living God of the universe can do that (1 Tim. 6:17-19).
- Don’t let money define you.
When we struggle financially then it’s easy for us to feel inferior, or to think that others are looking down on us. But the Bible tells us that however much money we might (or might not) have, the fact is that in Christ we are rich: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9). These riches that Jesus purchased for us aren’t merely monetary, but spiritual and eternal. Never forget that in Christ you are rich! As we increasingly find our identity in Christ rather than other things (including money), then we can live with peace and confidence even as we pass through life’s challenging seasons.
- Live Within Your Means.
Living within our means denotes being content with what we have, and not trying to enjoy a lifestyle beyond what we can actually afford. First Timothy 6:8 says, “If we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” If you are going through a challenging time financially then you must be prepared to reduce your lifestyle to match what you have. Otherwise, you will go into enslaving debt (Prov. 22:7), which should be avoided as much as possible (Rom. 13:8). Practically, it may be helpful to make a reasonable budget to guide your financial decisions during this critical time.
- Be Willing To Take Help From Others.
We should be honest about our struggles with our brothers and sisters in Christ (2 Cor. 1:8). The Bible tells us to carry one another’s burdens (Gal. 6:2), so we shouldn’t be afraid or ashamed to ask others for prayer and practical help in our time of need. At the same time, however, we should make sure that we are not taking advantage of others’ generosity! Rather we should work hard (2 Thess. 3:6-12), be careful to repay our loans (Ps. 37:21), and look forward to helping others as God helps us (2 Cor. 1:4).
- Continue To Give Towards God’s Work.
When we are undergoing financial challenges it is tempting to stop giving to the Lord’s work. Be careful not to fall into this trap, even if you’re only able to give a small amount during this time. Giving is more a matter of the heart than how much you have in your bank account (2 Cor. 8:1-4). We will always be able to find reasons not to give, but remember that cheerful giving—especially in the midst of difficult circumstances—pleases God (2 Cor. 9:7).
- Remember Heaven.
Life is short (Jam. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:24)! And when this short life is over then those who have trusted in Jesus will go to live with Him forever and ever. At that time God will wipe away every tear from our eyes (Rev. 21:4), and we will enjoy God’s pleasures for eternity (Ps. 16:11). We may have to suffer on this earth for a short while, but through Christ, we can be assured that eternal glory awaits us (1 Pet. 5:10). So we should focus on storing up treasures in heaven (Matt. 6:20), where an inheritance is being kept for us that can never perish, spoil or fade (1 Pet. 1:4).
The ongoing Covid crisis has been devastating to us in so many ways, including financially. But thankfully God offers us hope and practical help in His Word even during a time like this. May God give you the grace to trust Him during this challenging season, and to persevere in the midst of whatever trials you might be facing.