BY: RYAN MELLIZA, CPA
My Reflections from scriptures for Sunday, 31 July 2016:
Today’s scripture readings speak about vanities and greed for material wealth. So I thought I’d share my personal experience on overcoming the temptation of greed in time of my financial need, through the Divine Indwelling exercise.
It’s now the tax season in Australia. And like most taxpayers, I am looking forward to calculating and lodging my income tax return in anticipation of claiming tax refund. I am getting a bit anxious about meeting my personal loan payments of $700 per month so I’ve set this amount as an estimate of the minimum tax refund that I should get.
Thursday, 21 July 2016:
I started crunching numbers and the initial calculation showed that my estimated tax refund would only be $600, an amount which is less than what I need. So I recalculated my tax by deliberately “overstating” my deductions for work-related expenses by $250 and this would result to a tax refund of $700. Wow, that’s exactly the amount I need, so I was tempted to submit a final calculation that night justifying that; no one would catch me because the overstated amount is immaterial anyway.
Through my short-form D.I. exercise, I then spoke to God, apologizing in advance that I need to “cheat small” this time. As if He responded through an insight, I realized that in the eyes of God, cheating for $100 is no different from stealing a million dollars. Then subconsciously, the phrase “tax book” popped into my mind. So decided to postpone lodging my tax return until at least I had researched about the eligible tax deductions.
Friday, 22 July 2016:
I borrowed a taxation textbook from my friend who lives next door. I read through the section on the legally allowable deductions but I was unable to find any stipulation that would justify my intended “small-time cheating”. I even told my friend about my intention, hoping that she would tolerate my plan due to the small amount involved. But I was a bit surprised when she said: “That’s dodgy”.
Then again, I spoke to God through my short-form D.I. exercise, to guide me on the final calculation to use on lodging my tax return. Then the following biblical truths flowed through from within me:
“What does it profit a man, if he gains the whole Lord but loses his soul?”
“Give to Caesar what is due to Caesar, and give to God what is for God”
“One who can be trusted with small things would be entrusted with greater things.”
Saturday, 23 July 2016:
So it became clear to me that God’s Spirit within me has spoken that the TRUTH shall set me free from the temptation of greed. I lodged my tax return claiming only the legitimate deductions that I’m entitled to. I thanked God for the grace to accept the $600 tax refund with a clear conscience. Then I also said: “Thy will be done Lord on how else I could meet my personal loan repayments.”
Tuesday, 26 July 2016:
Part of me was still apprehensive about my $700 monthly loan payments. Then I came across a letter from my bank (which I’d set aside and ignored since last month), acknowledging that I had handled my personal loan well. It now stated that I was eligible to borrow additional funds, if necessary. But the bank’s offer was good only up to 31 July 2016.
Although I do not need a lump sum of money at present, I thought that I could use the extra funds as buffer whenever my monthly installment falls due. On the second thought, I was analyzing whether it was feasible to borrow more money when in fact I was already having difficulty in repaying my existing loan. But I needed to decide quickly before the bank’s offer had expired. So again I asked God for discernment through my short-form D.I.. This time, His response was “just try applying and grab the bank’s offer.”
Wednesday, 27 July 2016:
I called the bank to inquire more about the offer. Then the phone banker asked me more personal and financial information. He explained that my acceptance of the offer would be treated as a new loan application subject to further credit evaluation. He said that the credit team would contact me if ever my application gets approved.
I was a bit disappointed because I initially thought that the bank offer was already pre-approved. Only to find out that it was like applying for another loan from scratch. So again, I spoke to God through my short-form D.I. saying: “Lord, I’ve tried and I’ve done my part. So please do the rest.”
Thursday, 28 July 2016:
I was thankful that the bank approved my application! Not only did they lend me additional funds, they also waived the loan application fee of $150 and they gave me a discounted interest rate. What really amazed me was that my new monthly loan amortization had gone down from $700 to $600 (matching my tax refund). I believe this is not a mere coincidence, and that it’s actually God working within me as my Tax Planner.
I thank you for reading through my long and wordy story. The chronology of these events is a testimony that God always makes a way for us as long as we let Him do things HIS way, not our way. We are usually pre-occupied with what we do not have and we often ask Him for things to satisfy our needs. But this experience of mine is a revelation that God could sometimes work the other way around: He can modify our needs to suit what we already have.
I guess my point is, practical application of the Divine Indwelling in our day-to-day decisions could truly bring tangible results. To me, invoking God’s Spirit within me has given me a “built-in moral compass” that helps me overcome or avoid occasions of sin. D.I. has also made me dependent on God’s guidance, instead of relying solely on my own analytical mind. It truly provides clarity of thought and conscience specially when making decisions in life.