A Common Cause of Financial Stress or Poverty from the Bible

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; But a foolish man spendeth it up. (Proverbs 21:20, KJV)

The Bible brims with wisdom, providing insight into various facets of life, including financial prosperity and its attendant struggles. Our focus today centers on an often unheeded cause of financial distress—excessive spending.

Solomon’s wisdom-rich words shed light on this issue, painting a vivid picture of the prudent individual who cultivates and safeguards their wealth, contrasted with the folly of one who thoughtlessly consumes their resources. The scripture warns that this recurring cycle of overspending is a mark of financial folly.

A glimpse at the real world reinforces this scriptural truth. Those who accumulate and preserve wealth across generations commonly exercise caution in their expenditure. Contrarily, those trapped in the cobweb of financial distress regularly spend beyond their income, even resorting to loans to purchase more and more things.

Fueled by capitalist engines, our contemporary society propels us towards lavish spending, frequently outstripping our means. You might sense societal norms coercing you into a lifestyle your finances can’t support. Social media intensifies this dilemma by escalating the pressure to flaunt a lifestyle that contradicts our financial reality.

For some of us grappling with financial stress and imploring God for a financial breakthrough, the divine answer might simply be spending less than we earn. Perhaps, God’s plan now is to build financial self-control in us so that we will not devour the wealth He wants to bring us. Suppose we lack self-control(fruit of the Spirit). In that case, the cravings of the flesh, including its desires for pleasure or leisure, will push us to buy more stuff and devour our riches(Proverbs 21:17). So yes, the flesh is not only our spiritual enemy but an enemy of our financial well-being: it entices us to satisfy its cravings with all the money we make or the money we do not have( think credit cards, for example).  

Exercise prudence. Regulate your spending. Alleviate your financial stress.


Reflect on Proverbs 21:20. How can this verse inform your financial decisions?

Act on the Word

If overspending is an issue you struggle with, initiate corrective measures promptly. Start by pruning unnecessary expenses. Commit to living within your means, and resist the temptation of satisfying to buy things to cater to every transient desire or impress others.


Ask the Spirit’s grace to overcome overspending. 

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