by Mike CoeGod offers every Christian a life of financial freedom. His Word contains the detailed instructions required for His people to deal successfully with the practical affairs of everyday life including those relating to money. But it is not until a Christian's senses have been "…#/exercised (trained) to discern…/#" (Heb. 5:14) that he or she is able to see the path that leads to true financial freedom. The application of common-sense principles and divine direction will result in a life of peace and freedom that is foreign to an ungodly world. Surveys reveal that a majority of God's people have compartmentalized their thinking when it comes to the financial concerns of life. Even while many pastors and Christian leaders encourage and exhort their congregations and classes about the need to be obedient to God's Word, they themselves may be violating the most basic biblical principles relating to money management. These influential Christian leaders often ignore wise biblical principles as they finance new automobiles, enslave their families with excessive revolving consumer debt, and lead their congregations into building programs that suffocate the very ministries which they are trying to expand. (#/"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways"/# [James 1:8].) Influenced by a narcissistic society, devoted and sincere Christians are joining an unsaved world as they make financial decisions that yield the spoiled fruit of financial bondage. As a result, God's plan for true financial freedom is not realized because the instruction in His Word is being choked out by "#/…the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and the lusts of other things..."/#(Mark 4:19). There are three key stages in a Christian's journey towards putting his or her financial house in order: attitude, application, and assimilation. While progressing through these stages, the wise Christian will continue to focus on learning to make good choices, understanding and applying discipline, growing in wisdom, and accepting God's Word as an absolute in dealing with all of the issues of life. (#/"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin"/# [James 4:17].) The first step in the journey must start with the transfer of ownership to God, who is the Owner of all. (#/"The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein/#" [Ps. 24:1]). The Christian needs to not only understand but accept and apply an attitude of stewardship in his or her relationship with money, rather than continuing as an owner. Claiming ownership to anything results in bondage. Even with God in His rightful place as Owner, the daily struggle to find balance between emotions and logic while making spending decisions presents an ongoing challenge. Understanding the powerful and devastating effects that marketing can have on emotions and the need for teamwork and financial unity in the family can serve as a strategic defense system against impulsive spending patterns. The application of biblical and common sense principles is how we bring about change in our lives. Applied wisdom results in success. This is accomplished through training and education. A logical easy-to-use planning system is necessary to manage the risk and harness the emotions that so often lead to bad financial decisions. Goal setting and planning are critical components in the application process. ("#/The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit/#" [Prov. 14:8]). Through the assimilation of the right attitude, with the application of sound biblical and common sense principles, every Christian can enjoy a life of not only financial order but financial freedom. In addition to living life skillfully, the Christian will also be equipped to share his or her wisdom, knowledge, and success with others (spouse, children, friends, and those God brings into their lives). Once the practical and biblical principles dealing with money management have become a lifestyle, Christians will be free to more effectively focus on God's call to their individual place of ministry. (#/"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them"/# [Eph. 2:10]). Anyone can have financial order in his or her life but true financial freedom is reserved for the Christian. Freeing God's people from financial bondage is no easy task. Just as God's faithful servant Moses was used to free the children of Israel from the bondage and oppression of an Egyptian pharaoh, pastors, staff members, and Christian leaders must accept the challenge to live exemplary lives in the area of fiscal responsibility. God's greatest blessings await those who understand and apply the wisdom found in His Word. #/"The blessings of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it"/# (Prov. 10:22). Mike Coe is president and founder of the non-profit teaching ministry Christian Oriented Education, Inc. He specializes in seminars, classes, and speaking engagements dealing with personal finance from a biblical and practical perspective. To learn more about his ministry, visit #http://www.coeinc.org#.