By Edwin D. Arceo

At one time or another, we all want something that is mighty expensive. That latest premium smartphone, a new car, jewelry, a one-week exotic vacation, or the trendiest designer clothes. There is nothing inherently bad about such things. Some would say that having or getting these things show God’s blessing on you. Then there are those that are just plain old lust for the things of this world.

Acquiring or buying high-priced items is a spiritual battle in itself. Jesus said in Matthew 6:19-20, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

So think of this, Jesus tells us through the Bible that it is better to have spiritual possessions (salvation, eternal life, praying, fasting, giving to those who are in need) rather than physical possessions which are easily consumed, corrupted or forgotten, like the ones I enumerated in the first paragraph.

So, if you are faced with a decision to buy a high-priced item, consider these things first:

  • Is it a need or a want. You may have heard of this a lot of times from a lot of people and you still go through the same struggle over and over again. For the sake of being thorough, I’ll put this here first. NEEDS are things that are an essential part of our lives like food, water, shelter, and education. WANTS are those that bring gratification to our lives. It satisfies a craving usually things that we can live without. And yes, some stuff can be in the same category as a NEED and a WANT. Usually, a need is way cheaper than a WANT.

Here’s a short checklist to find out if should buy it or not:

– If you NEED it and will allow you to achieve something good with it. BUY IT!
– If you NEED it but you can do without it. WAIT ANOTHER DAY.
– If you WANT it but will survive without it, then DON’T BUY IT. It’s just a “nice to have.” It will only make you feel good but that feeling will quickly pass away. Personal finance specialist, Jayson Lo, suggests that you sleep on it. Don’t buy it at first chance. Pass on it at the first chance and then analyze if you still need it
– If you WANT it but will not add anything to your life. DON’T BUY IT!

Of course, different people would classify a need and a want differently. So go to the next item.

  • Ok, so you decide that something is needed…and it’s expensive. The next question is: Will it put you in debt? God does not want you to get in debt. The Apostle Paul says in Romans 13:8, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” If God wants you to have something you need, He will provide for it…even if it’s expensive. God will use someone or a circumstance to provide for you. But if you have to borrow money or make a bank loan, just to acquire something that you need, then think twice and think long and hard.Maybe it’s for your business? Yes, a loan is justifiable and your business can help you pay it back. If it’s a personal expense, WAIT for God’s provision. Ardy Roberto in his little book, “Ang Pera na Di Bitin,” tells a principle He calls, “Pray before you pay.” It simply means that before you pay for something, ask God if this is the best that He can provide for you. Sometimes He gives something better.
  • Will it stop you from being generous? God wants us to be generous. He wants us to be a blessing to others. If you read the book of Acts, the new believers were selling their possessions so that it can be given to those who are in need. Not so many people do that today but God can use us to be a channel of His blessing to those in need. If you don’t have money, you cannot be generous. How can you give something that you do not have? This can happen because you have to pay that loan first, or your bank account has run dry because you used it all up for the downpayment of a new car or a new house.
  • Are you just envious? You need to be honest with yourself here. There are times when we want what others have. We want to be on the same level as our rich friends or our bosses. Or this may be just a case of “keeping up with the Joneses.” It means like this: when our neighbor buys the latest high definition TV, we also buy one. When they have a new gadget, we buy something more expensive. It’s called one-upmanship. We do not want to be left out or appear that we cannot afford it. Envy is one the things that defile you according to Jesus in Mark 7:22. It makes you unclean. So stop being envious of what others have. It shows that you don’t have enough faith that God will bless you with the things that you need (or want).
  • You just want to prove something. Men can be suckers for this. If they feel that there is any aspect in their life that would tell others that they are weak and incapable, then they will do everything they can to prove others wrong. Some, just to cope with a disability, weakness or inadequacy will go out of their way to buy what would make them feel better. It’s sad. You need to have a better view of yourself. God loves you whatever you think is your flaw.
  • If you are married, does you spouse know that you want to buy something that is (very) expensive? If you are hiding it from him or her, then that is one, and very important reason, not to buy it. You say you want it to be a surprise? Are you sure your spouse would want that? Would they be happy or they would get angry? You should know the answer if you know your spouse well.
  • The last which I think should be on top, Is it God’s will for you to buy that? Or just your stubbornness? Some would say you are passionate. You can always do whatever you want in your life. Your upbringing, education, skills, and family support can help you achieve and acquire whatever you want. But if what you want to buy is against God’s will then you will really just waste your money.

The bottom line is: God wants to bless you with all that you need especially if it’s in accordance with His will. We just need to trust Him to provide it. Let us not go ahead of Him. God’s timing is perfect. It’s our impatience that makes things bad.