We are in our series entitled Faith for Finances. Today, we are discussing, Faith for Finances: It’s Time for a Paradigm Shift. Glory to God.
A paradigm shift has to do with mindset. A paradigm shift is a radical change in underlying belief or theory. That’s the definition: a radical change in underlying belief or theory.
As we discussed previously, we do the things we do because of how our thinking has been shaped. Our thinking has been shaped by authority figures, their words and their opinions of us and also, by our social environment. Our social environment would be who we let speak into our lives from our peer groups or our co-workers or church members, etc. Our thinking comes from repetitious information received over time. Whatever you continually feed upon, that’s what grows. So, we have to watch what we let go into our “eyegates” and our “eargates.” For example, we can’t look at everything on TV and think it won’t have an effect on us. We also have to watch what we allow to come out of our mouths. We have to always measure against the Word of God as to what is true or false and then handle it accordingly. We drop it if it’s false, we keep it if it’s true. Finally, our thoughts are shaped by our life experiences. So, whatever life experiences that you have that correspond to the stuff that you’ve been hearing repetitively, you tend to go along with. For example, if you’ve been taught that all short people are mean and you meet a short person and they’re mean to you, you tend to believe what you’ve been taught. However, the question that we have to ask ourselves is, “Who told you?” Who told you what you think about yourself or what you think about a particular situation that you’re in? Then we ask, “What was their motive?” Why did they tell that to you? Would they benefit from it in some way? Finally, we ask, “Did they tell you the truth?” Some authority figures tell us great things. Some things that they told us were with a good motive and were the truth. However, some things we’ve been told were self-serving lies. We have to always test what we’ve been told, and consequently believe, against the Word of God.
Our core scriptures for this lesson are 3 John 2 and Joshua 1:8:
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” 3 John 2
“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8
So, we have to meditate on the Word of God and we have to make our own way prosperous. It’s not just going to happen. A lot of people are just super lazy. They think that blessings are just going to fall on them from out of the sky and that they don’t have to do anything to get them. However, the Bible says we make our own way prosperous. We follow God, we meditate on His Word and then He instructs us. He tells us things to do, we go about and we do those things, and the next thing you know, we’re prosperous. Also, because we’re doing it God’s way, we have good success. We don’t have all that hullaballoo that the world has… messing up their peace… can’t sleep at night. I remember Deion Sanders saying how he had the best bed money could buy, yet couldn’t get any rest. Before he knew Jesus, he would lie in that expensive bed, but get no rest. Without Jesus, you can have success, but it won’t be good success. It will have sorrow with it. Godly success is accompanied by peace. As we’ve seen on bumper stickers, “No Jesus = No Peace. Know Jesus = Know Peace.” When we follow after His principles, we have peace along with our progress. We have good success.
So, it’s time for a paradigm shift.
Romans 12:2 says,
“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
We don’t listen to the world. We are not to be conformed to this world. The prefix “con” here means “with,” so you’re being formed with the world, in line with the world. We’re not to do that. We’re not to be conformed to this world, but transformed. The prefix “trans” means “across” so you’re going away from what they’re doing. You’re not lining up with them, you’re going across. You’re getting away from them. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind. You have to renew your mind. You’ve got some junk in there that does not belong, it doesn’t line up with the Word of God. “Pre-Christ” in your life, you got some stuff in there that you gotta get rid of. Specifically, with regards to faith for finances, the majority of the world is not financially secure. I think everyone would agree with that. A statistic that I’ve heard, and I’m not sure if this is correct, but a statistic that I heard is that 98% of the population is either dead or dead broke by the age of 65. I’m hoping that it’s not 98%, because that is a huge, huge number. There’s only 2% left. However, whether 98% is accurate or not, we do know that the majority of people fall into the category of being dead or dead broke by 65. We don’t want to be a part of that number, whatever it is. We don’t want to be conformed to the world’s way of doing things, because we don’t want to be dead or dead broke by the age of 65. We want to be in that 2% or in the minority that are doing things God’s way and walking in the blessing of God. So be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. What we need is a transformation in our decision-making process. We need to make decisions based on God’s Word and not on anything else. That’s what we need to fix: how we come to the decisions that we make, how we make choices. We need to obey God and we have to change the way we think on purpose. It’s not going to be an automatic thing. We have to re-learn some things. We have to purposely take out the junk and put in something that is good. It’s a purposeful action; it’s not something you do half-asleep. You have to be mindful of what you’re doing. I was listening to a sermon recently and the pastor was talking about this replacement principle. He spoke about how a lot of people just want to be good in life and they say, “God, make me good. Take away the bad stuff.” However, it’s not that simple. He explained that we can’t just expect God to take something out. We have to replace it with something else. He used an illustration where he had a container with some liquid in it and he began to put rocks into the container in order that the liquid would come out and roll over onto the sides of the container. As I watched this illustration, I realized that we have to put in something heavier than what is already inside our containers. In science, we learn about displacement, which is required for this replacement to occur. In this example, when the heavy rocks were placed into the container, the liquid was no longer in place. It was displaced by the rock. The liquid in this case would be the bad thing and the rock would be the good thing. So you get rid of the bad thing by displacing it, by putting something into your container that’s heavier than what’s already inside. I hear the Holy Spirit saying, “This Rock is Jesus!” Hallelujah! God’s Word, praise God, is heavier than any of the junk that the world has used to shape our thinking and it can displace it! That’s good news.
We can change. We just have to make sure that we’re willing to do it on purpose.
Isaiah 55:7-8 says,
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”
We have to forsake our ways, just like the wicked must forsake his way. We have to forsake what our flesh thinks is right and what our so-called friends think is right. We have to forsake it. If it’s not lining up with the Word – that’s the measuring stick – if it doesn’t line up with God’s Word, we gotta junk it. We gotta get rid of it. So, we need to forsake that, forsake the unrighteous thoughts, and return to the Lord, who will have mercy and who will abundantly pardon. We, also, need to adopt God’s thinking process, His decision-making process. His thoughts are not our thoughts. We have to take on His thoughts. His ways are not our ways. We have to take on His ways.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 says,
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
A stronghold actually could be a good thing if you have the right stronghold in place. A stronghold is a mental thought pattern; it’s a way that you think about things. That’s a stronghold. It’s what’s deep down inside of you. It’s what you hold to. It’s your default. Those are strongholds. So, again, some are good, some are bad. The bad ones are the ones contrary to God’s will. So, we have to cast them down. We cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.