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3 Diagnostic Questions to Show Who Is Really LORD of Your Money

I rarely meet people who would consider themselves tight-fisted. Most of us would like to think of ourselves as generous—even if the evidence suggests otherwise. But greed is like bad breath: The person with the problem is often the last one to know it. So we need some help revealing where our true loyalties lie.

A key way to do that is by asking diagnostic questions. Here are three that reveal what kingdom you are really living for:

1. What is “first” in your decisions?

The closest I have to a life verse is Matthew 6:33: “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Before I left for college, that was the verse my dad gave to me to guide my future. “All these things …” he said, “that includes money. That includes your career. It includes your wife, if God gives you one. It includes your children. And all of that has got to come second.”

This question should be at the heart of every decision that every Christian makes: What does God want me to do? I know that sounds simple, but it’s surprising how often the opinion of God doesn’t even register as relevant information for many Christians.

Ask what God wants—for your money, your family, your career. And do just that. Always prioritize the kingdom of God, and God will supply all that you need.

2. Does God get the first and best of all you receive?

I recently noticed something in the story of Cain and Abel that has really rocked me. In Genesis 4, both Cain and Abel made offerings to God. But there was a key difference: Abel gave the “firstfruits” of his flock; Cain, in contrast, made an offering from the field after the crops had come in.

Abel, you see, gave the firstborn of his flock before knowing how many more animals there would be. He gave to God first, but that giving was a big risk. Cain, on the other hand, waited to see how much he had, and only then did he give. In other words, Abel gave God his first and best; Cain gave God out of his excess. And only Abel’s offering was pleasing to God.

Whatever you give your first and your best to reveals what is truly God in your life. It may not be the biggest line item on your budget. It may not be a gift that would make jaws drop. But we all give our first and best to something. It’s that part of our life that gets top priority. And that shows what we treasure most.

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J.D. Greear, Ph.D., is the President of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastors the Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. Tagged by Outreach magazine as one of the fastest growing churches in America, the Summit has grown in the past 8 years from 400 to over 5,000 each weekend. The Summit Church is deeply involved in global church planting, having undertaken the mission to plant 1000 churches in the next 40 years. J.D. has authored Breaking the Islam Code and the upcoming Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary.