Follow Your Heart?

In many of today’s movies and TV shows, the lesson is put forth that we should follow our hearts above all else.  From Disney cartoons to adult-rated dramas, the idea that what is best for us is to look deep within ourselves and do that which we inwardly desire.  But will this philosophy really bring blessing to our lives?

Hidden Assumptions

Oftentimes, ideas that seem pleasant on their surface carry along with them disastrous and erroneous assumptions which are not readily apparent.  When we are not vigilant to test the truth claims of the society around us, we can mistakenly believe some of these pleasant-sounding lies, right along with the errors contained in them.

In this case, the assumption that lies within the “follow your heart” advice is this:  your inner self is perfect and righteous.  This claim lies in stark opposition to Scripture, which teaches us the following:

The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
(Jeremiah 17:9)

 I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
(Romans 7:21-22)

The Corruption of Our Wills

We know that God created us in His image, and that our earthly father Adam was initially without sin.  Yet when Adam rebelled against God in the Garden, he shattered the perfect nature he was given.  Because of his sin, we, his children, have been born corrupted, bent away from the will of God and inclined toward selfishness and self-centered living.

When we look to our inner selves for direction and purpose, we will find nothing but emptiness and ruin.  How many men have abandoned their wives and families because their hearts told them to pursue a fling with a woman at the office?  How many youths have traded their bright future for a life of addiction because their first hit felt like heaven?  Perhaps your own experiences have been less drastic than these examples, but have they not left you empty and unsatisfied?

The Way to Life

There is a better way to live.  Jesus came to give us life, and that abundantly—His atoning death on the cross bought us peace on this earth and with our Father in heaven.  Because He died to take the penalty of your sin and mine, we can be washed clean by placing our faith in Him as Savior and Lord.  He rose from the grave to demonstrate His power over death, and sits now at the right hand of God the Father.

As Christians, we live not to follow our own inner desires, but rather to serve our Lord and Giver of Life.  Living each day to bring God glory will not only fill the emptiness in a way “following your heart” never could, but your life will bring a smile to the face of the Lord Jesus Christ—on the day He welcomes you into His paradise with those wonderful words, “well done, my good and faithful servant!”

 

The Secret to Riches

Ever wish you could get a hefty raise?  Want to enjoy some of the finer things in life as you climb to the top?  Read on to find the secret to advancement and wealth that many don’t know and even fewer practice.

Work harder than everyone around you.

Too Simple?

After reading such simple advice, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “yeah right!  I work hard and I never get promoted!  The way I see it, I’m stuck being paid basically what my salary is now, so I may as well coast through the day as best I can to at least enjoy myself a little.”  Don’t let this lie get you—instead, follow the sage advice of Scripture:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  (Colossians 3:23-24)

Good Work, Not More Work

Note that the verse says “with all your heart.”  We should not misconstrue hard work with excessive time spent at the office, rather, there should be a focus on productivity and enthusiasm, behaving as if you were doing work personally for a king, not just a client or a boss.

This kind of excellence in your work will get you rewarded.  It may take time, and it may not be from within your current company or industry, but as God promises, He will see to your reward.  Not only this, but there is a very practical benefit that comes with pouring yourself into the work at hand and doing your very best:  you learn things.  As you accomplish work in one week that your neighbor would streach out to two, you’ve effectively gained one week of experience over him.  You are more seasoned and capable, and as this pattern continues over time, you’ll become the “go-to guy” in many areas of your business.  Your neighbor thought he was getting a better deal by taking the same salary as you while doing less work, but long-term, he’s actually been cheating himself.

Don’t Believe It?

As usual, I challenge you to test these claims in your everyday life.  While this is a simple and easily-understood principle, a person who’ll put it in practice is quite a rarity in today’s workplace.  Besides, you’ve got nothing to lose but inexperience and a low salary!  😉

 

It Won’t Happen to Me

Nobody likes getting sick, having their house burn down, or dying in a car crash.  Unfortunately, these things happen every day to a single group of people:  people who didn’t think it would happen to them today!  Today’s post deals with the important and too-often neglected topic of insurance.  What kinds do I need?  Which types of insurance are superfluous?  What should my philosophy on insurance be?  We’ll answer those and more as we unpack how insurance in its various forms can be a great blessing to our lives.

 

We’re all in this together

At its most basic level, insurance is the banding together of a large group of people to create a fund which pays the expenses of a few of the people when disastrous circumstances hit.  You’re not very likely to need open-heart surgery next week, but someone near you will.  We just don’t know who!

In this context, insurance is a wonderful blessing because it offers protection for unusual events beyond our control.  While you likely couldn’t afford the $300,000 medical bill for diagnosis, surgery, and treatment for heart disease, you can afford a few hundred dollars a month in insurance premiums.  All these premiums from a large number of people go into a big pot of money to be used to pay the expenses of the few members who contract a serious medical condition.

When to buy, when to pass

Given that understanding of what insurance is and how it works, what should be our insurance philosophy?  Should we buy every kind of insurance that is offered?  Or if we shouldn’t, how should we differentiate between the vital and the superfluous?

Generally, I believe it is the wisest course to insure yourself against any event that is reasonably likely to occur and would have disastrous financial consequences.  In this statement, you’ll notice two inexact terms:  “reasonably likely” and “disastrous consequences.”  You’ll have to apply these for yourself in your specific situation, but let’s take a look at a few examples to illustrate the idea.

An expensive lapse of judgment

When you buy a car and head out on the road, there are multiple potential disasters that can occur.  You could neglect to stop at a red light and demolish a $45,000 truck, along with your own vehicle.  Or worse yet, perhaps you injure the drivers or passengers, creating a stream of medical bills.  So, is this insurance worth having?  First, is it reasonably likely to occur?  Certainly!  Driving is one of the most dangerous things most of us do in our daily lives.  Second, could it have disastrous financial consequences?  Yes again.  This one is a no-brainer: car insurance is vital.

I never get sick

Some people think they can get by without health insurance.  They feel healthy and think that it’ll be cheaper to just pay for minor medical expenses out of pocket.  While this plan can temporarily provide relief to the budget, ultimately it is playing with fire.  You set yourself up to erase years of hard work, saving, and investing in a moment.  A friend of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer, having no insurance, and he now has medical bills approaching half a million dollars.  Another man I know recently broke his thumb in two places, and is facing the possibility of needing surgery—which will cost more money than he has.  In both cases, these men thought they were healthy and could go without health insurance.  Unfortunately, none of us will stay well forever.

As with car insurance, it is strikingly evident that a health issue can be financially disastrous and has a reasonable likelihood of occurring.  Even if you can’t or don’t want to pay the premiums for an expensive plan, you must at least get a basic policy that will limit your exposure in the case of a major health problem.  High-deductible insurance plans are a good fit in this case—you generally pay for minor services yourself, but your maximum out-of-pocket might fall somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000.  Obviously, this would still cause financial difficulty to most families, but it would at least be survivable.

Avoid death by a thousand cuts

Finally, let’s look at an example that doesn’t pass the test.  Many electronics stores offer insurance for computers, TVs, or other big-ticket items.  These tend to be quite profitable for the electronics store, and consequently a bad deal for you.  These types of insurance fail the “financially disastrous” test.  If your TV were to break after the manufacturer’s standard warranty has expired, you’d be without a TV.  Guess what?  Plenty of people survive without a TV!  If you’re managing and saving your money well (as taught by the ThriveWealthy system), you’ll be able to save and pay cash for a new set quickly anyway.  And by avoiding paying extra for unnecessary insurance policies in other areas (pet insurance, laundry machine insurance, insurance providing you with a rental car when yours is involved in an accident), you’ll have more money available to save for that new TV quicker!

So, when it comes to insurance, it’s important to recognize events that are reasonably likely to occur and would have disastrous financial consequences.  For these events, it is absolutely vital that you carry insurance with appropriate limits.  Insurance policies that fail this test are superfluous and you’ll be better off to save or invest that money instead.  And enjoy the comfort and security that goes with knowing that you are protected from financial disaster and are being a good steward of your resources.