First, Pray and Depend on God for His Wisdom & Direction
By: Tom Copland
Prayer and dependence upon God are required in order to develop a personalized and a biblically-based investment strategy. It is well known that the past performance of investment provides no guarantee for its future performance.
The best investment today depends on future events, and since no one can consistently predict the direction of any market, it is critical to acknowledge our dependence upon God for his wisdom and his direction in respect of investing.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 4:13–15)
Notwithstanding all the information available today, only about 15 percent of all professional money managers beat the relevant index (e.g., TSX 60 or S&P 500), and no one can consistently predict the future value of these indices. The same principle applies to real estate. For example, from 1985 until 1989, the value of Toronto real estate increased significantly. Many believed that it would never go down. However, from 1990 until 1995, the values dropped drastically anywhere from 25 percent to 70 percent. From a human perspective, this does not make sense, but God is not surprised. Proverbs 27:1 states, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.”
The good news is that our all-knowing God does know the future (Isaiah 46: 9,10), and he is willing to provide us with the wisdom that we need in investing if we ask in faith. James 1:5 states, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
God has provided us with numerous investment principles/guidelines in his Word, the Bible. Biblical diversification (Ecclesiastes 11:1, 2) and minimal debt (Proverbs 22:7) are two examples. Please see my nine other Financial Moments regarding investing. In addition, I recommend Austin Pryor’s book Sound Mind Investing, available at soundmindinvesting.com.
God will provide specific direction in respect of your investments. Psalms 32:8 states, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”
About three or four times per year, in dependence upon God, I spend significant time in prayer seeking God’s direction to review and adjust my investment strategy. By meditating on God’s Word and listening to God’s “gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:11), I find God’s will in respect of the investments he has entrusted to me. This brings God’s peace and good investment returns.
I encourage you to do the same and document what you believe God is telling you. But take note that if it is in any way contrary to God’s principles, then you have not heard from the Lord.
Never forget that God is in control, and all riches come from him.
Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the Ruler of all mankind. (1 Chronicles 29:11, 12 TLB)
In summary, it is critical to pray and depend on God for his wisdom and his direction in investing the money that God has entrusted to you.