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  • Writer's pictureNeil Chacko, CFP®, CKA®

Is There a "Proper" Christian Lifestyle?

By Neil Chacko, CFP®, CKA®

I run a bible study at my church where we explore what God’s word has to say about finances and managing money. Inevitably, as the study progresses, one of the most common questions I get is “What does the bible say about how we should live? Does Jesus want us to sell all that we have and give the money to the poor?” Perhaps Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-25 has us pondering this question. I know it is something I have grappled with as well.

However, a vow of poverty was not a requirement to be a follower of God. Throughout the bible, we see many of God’s followers having considerable means. In the Old Testament, Abram, whose name was later changed by God to Abraham, was said to be very rich:

“Now Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold.”

-Genesis 13:2

His son, Isaac, was also rich:

“And Isaac sowed in that land and reaped in the same year a hundredfold. The Lord blessed him, and the man became rich and gained more and more until he became very wealthy.”

-Genesis 26:12-13

Job was so rich that he was the richest man in all of Mesopotamia. Satan took away his wealth but, later, God restored double what he had, making him even richer.

We also see King David’s immense wealth and that of his son, Solomon, who, by some scholarly accounts, is said to have had wealth that numbered into the equivalence of over $1 trillion!

It is not just followers in the Old Testament that were rich. In the New Testament, we see many examples of followers that used their wealth to further the Kingdom:

· Joseph of Arimathea (Matthew 27:57)

· Joanna (Luke 8:2-3)

· Joseph, called Barnabas (Acts 4:36-37)

· Dorcas (Acts 9:36)

· Lydia (Acts 16:14-15)

· Jason (Acts 17:5-9)

· Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:2-3)

· Philemon (Philemon 1)

So, clearly, it is not a sin to have wealth. The sin, however, is in loving wealth:

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

-1 Timothy 6:10

All the former examples of followers that were wealthy had one thing in common: they used their wealth to further the Kingdom of God. They did not hoard their wealth or spend it lavishly without regard to God’s instruction. They knew that their wealth came from the provision of God, not of their own hands. As such, they remained faithful stewards and managed their wealth by God’s instruction.

So how are we to live? Well, the Bible does not define a Christian lifestyle in detail. However, it does give us some guiding principles:

The book of 1 Timothy in the New Testament provides us a summary of a proper Christian lifestyle:

1. Provision

“But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” – 1 Timothy 5:8

We are called to provide for our own family, and to work honestly to do this. However, it is important that we do not cross the line from provision into indulgence. Perhaps we do not need to provide our family with the most expensive home in the neighborhood.

2. Contentment

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” –1 Timothy 6:6-8

David Jeremiah, an evangelical Christian author, puts it this way: contentment is no regrets of the past, no fear of the future, and no envy in the present. What God provides us is enough. We should not covet more.

3. Enjoyment

“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” –1 Timothy 6:17

We should enjoy the gifts that God has provided us. We do not need to feel guilty when we spend His resources correctly—with His instruction in mind.

That final condition goes to the heart of the question: the lifestyle that I lead should be determined by God since it is His money that I am stewarding. So, instead of asking, “is there a proper Christian lifestyle?” we should be asking, in prayer, “God, what would you want me to do with what you have provided?” He will give us the answer.

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