Aligning Your Beliefs with Your Financial Goals


Have you ever wondered how your beliefs shape your financial decisions? 

In this week’s episode of Retire in Texas, Darryl Lyons, CEO and co-founder of PAX Financial Group, explains the philosophy of Biblical Responsible Investing and its impact on financial decision-making. Drawing on personal convictions and Biblical principles, Darryl explores the deep connection between one’s view of God and their approach to money.

Key highlights include:

*Exploring the three attitudes towards God: God is nothing, God is something, and God is everything.

*Understanding how these attitudes influence financial decisions and priorities.

*Insightful analogies and personal anecdotes to illustrate the relationship between faith and finance.

*In-depth discussion on the moral and philosophical implications of prioritizing money over spiritual values.

*Practical advice on integrating faith-based principles into financial planning and investment strategies.

PAX Podcast Ep. 136 – Transcript

Hey, this is Darryl Lyons, CEO and co-founder of PAX Financial Group. Thanks for tuning into Retire in Texas. Remember, this information is general in nature. It’s not intended to provide specific investment, tax or legal advice. Visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for more information. 

And then also I want to encourage you to go to the website for some eBooks on there. Continue to educate yourself. I’d like for you to learn more about the Biblical Responsible Investing, and that’s going to be a subject of the show. Now, the main theme for this show has to have a little bit of a disclaimer because it’s going to feel a little bit like a sermon. And for those that don’t, you know, share, have deep conviction in the Christian faith it may feel like a sermon, but I think you’re going to find philosophically some very interesting points that are going to nudge you and make you think deeply. 

So, I want you to hang in there despite some of the sermon-ish type of format that I’m going to deliver today. But I think, like I said, I think that even the secularists will appreciate what I have to say, or at least, have an opinion, a strong opinion.

So, what I’d like to talk about is, it’s my conviction that everyone has three attitudes towards God. One, would be God is nothing. Two, would be God is something. And three, God is everything. But the reason I want to talk about those three approaches is that by default your position on God actually determines your position on money.

Like a default position is not uncommon even today. So, like if, for example, if you told me, “Hey, I really, really like warm weather,” by default, I could tell you, generally speaking, your preference of cold weather. If you said, “Okay, I really like a hard mattress.” Then by default I could kind of tell you that you don’t like soft mattresses.

And that’s the same thing, that kind of contrast exists between God and money. And we often think, okay, the opposite of God is evil or the devil, but I’m going to really illustrate to you today how closely aligned this relationship between God and money is, and it shouldn’t be a surprise to those that are believers or a theist. 

Matthew [6:24], hear me out says this, “No one can serve two masters: either you will hate the one, and love the other; or you will be devoted to the one, and despise the other.”

And here’s the kicker. You cannot serve both God and money. Now, from a Christian point of view, that makes sense. I’m going to dive deeper. A secularist doesn’t discount either the power of money. I mean, realize that the one of the top reasons people get a divorce is money. They fight about bills, spending, investing. Every day we think about money. Money on our mind. Mo money, mo problems. Right? 

But let’s look at these three points of view distinctively for just a minute. Let’s kind of take this helicopter down. So, let’s start with the secularists who might say that God is nothing. What I’d like to suggest to you is that we are all uniquely wired to worship something. We’re all uniquely wired to worship something. And if I were to define worship, I would say that means you hold something in high esteem. I mean, we can be careful. We can even worship our spouse. And psychologists call this codependency. NFL season is going to start real soon, and I see a lot of people worshiping football. I-I’m not throwing stones, by the way. I love football.

So, but many of us here’s the thing, many of us by default, if we are not intentional, will worship money. Just look back at all the decisions you’ve made over the last year or two. Money was the primary filter in which those decisions were made.

Many secularists who say God is nothing to me have replaced God with money. Let’s go back to marriage for just a second. If God means nothing, then why even stay married? Like, especially if you’re the main breadwinner. Why should you have to split money with somebody else? So from a secularist or a god means nothing point of view, the financial and economic considerations are really the primary purpose of marriage. And so in that case, divorce, yeah, it has meant it has merit. And so that’s why people get divorced so flippantly. Because economically it just doesn’t make sense anymore.

And what about giving? I mean, this one is really even more obvious. I’m not talking about like when you’re a secularist or God means nothing giving you an extra tip. I’m talking about a material chunk of money to really make a difference in this world. If you have a point of view that God is nothing, then the Darwinian point of view says only the strongest survive, and if I have extra money, that means I’m strong and I will survive. 

I’ve seen many examples of worshiping money when God means nothing. We see it in a high-profile perspective. Beggest church pastors, CEOs, anyone making a ton of money. They are susceptible to worshiping money because money is a magnet. And the closer you get to it, the more powerful it becomes.

But it’s not just rich and famous people. The poor people worship money all the time. Especially if you mean, if you have a point of view that God is nothing, you’re very susceptible to worship money. I mean, Americans spend more on lottery tickets than movies, video games, music, sporting events and books combined. And despite the odds, lottery buyers they worship this potential, this potential of more money.

So, regardless of our demographic profile, if God is nothing, then over time you know it subconsciously or very consciously, you have made many, many, many decisions in the almighty name of money. Whether it’s having kids, switching jobs, getting married, getting divorced, accepting a new job, the primary, if not the number one filter for all of these decisions, if God is nothing, the primary filter has been about money.

Now, let’s move on to the next group. This is the God is something group something. Not everything. Not nothing. This is a lot of us. In fact, I was putting this together and thinking, man, sometimes I slip into this group. Just so you know, sometimes I feel like, man, maybe I’m sometimes God is something.

But I’m thinking of mainly like, maybe Christian CEOs. You know, Christian CEOs really means Christian Christmas and Easter only. Like I’m a Christian in Christmas and Easter only. That’s a CEO. So, little play on words there. But unlike the secularists, or who the god is nothing folks, who make the majority of decisions on money, whether they know it or not, these God is something folks don’t always think that way.

But here’s where they mess up. They totally, totally underestimate, underestimate God and overestimate their control over money. I see a lot of business owners who do this. They have a successful business, and they start to believe that they are like they can do anything. So, they have a successful business, and so they discount the power of God, and they decide to start another business and it totally fails.

This happens, by the way, not just like- this is not just every now and again. This is all the time. It reminds me of Deuteronomy [8:18], it says, “But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth.” We underestimate God, and this God is something folks, we think God is kind of like a genie and we just ask him for help every now and again.

And then we try to put these nice hacks. We may even hear these hacks from the sermons, like, I’m just going to ask God for help and I’m going to do my thing. So, I’m going to read books and or I’m going to draw a line on my income or I’m going to, you know what, I won’t buy fancy cars or, you know, I’ll give when I can afford it.

And so, we do this control dance with God. But inside there is a moral code written on our hearts, and it always tugs at us knowing that we could do more, we could do better. And we do know that God is supreme, but we can’t get away of this control of money over our lives. And these individuals, who God is something individuals, will always vacillate between worshiping God and worshiping money. And it’ll always be attention. Always. 

Now the next group is the God is everything folks. And these are often considered fanatics. And, you know, I would like to be in this group, but I do tell you, it’s-it is always a challenge, of course. But God is everything folks they do, hear me out, they do see things differently.

And it reminds me of a story of this discontent farmer. He had a big pond in the middle of a farm, but the hills were difficult to get around and the cows, they always needed his attention. So, he was getting older. He said, “I’m going to sell it.” He met with a local realtor. They designed an ad, but before placing the ad, the realtor came over and said, “Hey, let me review it with you to make sure you’re okay before I place the ad.”

So, the farmer says, “Cool, let me hear it.” 

“Okay, here’s the ad: Drive to an ideal location. Freshwater, well-fed, well-bred livestock and rolling hills.”

Farmer said, “Hey, can you read that again?”

So, he read it again. 

The farmer said, “Never mind about selling the farm. I’ve always wanted a place like that my entire life.”

See, the God is everything people, they see things completely differently. Let me give you an example. A god is nothing, and we can contrast because it’s an extreme, that God is nothing folks, how do they define rich? How do they define rich? They define rich as having a lot of money. But the God is everything folks, how do they define rich? They define rich as someone who doesn’t need a lot of money. 

Very distinct. And I wrote about this a little bit in the last book I wrote, Biblical Responsible Investing. I talked a lot about how motivations in life are completely different when you have a different lens. Like God is everything folks, they think about serving the poor, saving the lost, strengthening believers. The idea of retirement is, doesn’t really make sense because like I mentioned, there’s this moral code written on our hearts. We often refer to it as our conscience. And this, this, this idea that was innate given to us is that we still, we can’t retire because we still have to keep and cultivate. 

This is what we heard about in Genesis 2, we still and there’s more to discover too. But many of us hang out in this God is something arena, and we have this conversion of our heart, but Martin Luther said that “there must not only be a conversion of the heart and mind, but also a conversion of the purse.” So, this has been a challenge for us for thousands of years. That’s why we’re told that you will, you can either serve God or money, but you can’t serve both.

This is something that has challenged us for thousands of years, and I’m really, I was really challenged with this idea in the last three years when I started to write the book. And then I, we started at PAX getting into biblical responsible investing, and I started to have more, deeper conversations with people who are thinking very critically about this concept.

So, I’m bumping into these people, we’re having robust conversations, and it just made me completely like my head explode, about how this tension exists and how we are going to wrestle with this and overcome this deep desire of control in our lives through money. And I’ve worked with plenty of people that are in the God is nothing category, and those that are God is something, and those that are God is everything, and I’ve got to tell you, it’s one of our core values, PAX, that we respect everyone’s unique life story. 

But at the very least, today, I hope this message has challenged your thinking. Because if you modify your change of thinking, it’ll modify your habits, your behaviors, and ultimately outcomes in your life. And remember, finally, you think different when you think long term. Have a great day.

Darryl’s thought-provoking insights aim to challenge conventional thinking and inspire listeners to re-evaluate their financial priorities through a faith-based lens. Tune in to gain a deeper understanding of how your beliefs can shape your financial future, and visit PAXFinancialGroup.com for additional resources, including our free eBooks.

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