Since “The love of money is the root of all evil” (money itself is NOT the root of all evil), and because our society has become very debt-minded, I think is a very important topic. Our national debt is 15,000,000,000 (15 trillion), and there is 1.7 trillion dollars in consumer debt in our country. The average household has $7394 in unsecured debt (credit cards, not including student loans). The key for today is DEBT IS BAD.
Romans 13:8 commands us not to owe anyone anything. God never commands us to do things that are impossible (it may be impossible in ourselves but with God’s help NOTHING is impossible), so clearly this is something God wants us to do. It may take a while to get there, but we bring glory to God by being able to do all He wants us to do without giving an excuse “I can’t afford it.” What we do with our money is part of what we are responsible for in the kingdom. We want to be ABLE to hear God’s voice to do something and be able to just do it.
Here are some synonyms for debt=owe, obligated, in deficit, in default, insolvent, in over one’s head, in arrears, paupered, destitute, needing, lacking, distressed, penniless, in difficulty, a deadbeat, empty, having seen better days, bad off, hard off, beaten down, reduced to ruin, embarrassed, broke, busted. Next to the kingdom of heaven, money and finance is the next most often mentioned by Jesus, and the Bible has 2000 scriptures that reference money and finance.
6 danger signs that we’ve got problems in the area of debt:
1) You live on credit instead of paying cash and depend on credit to maintain your lifestyle. Proverbs 22:7 says the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is enslaved to the lender. We should only be enslaved to Jesus, whose yoke is easy and burden is light. A bonus, if you’re ever considering loaning money to friends or family, don’t do it. The relationship immediately changes. If you want to help them, give to them. Proverbs 3:27-28 says not to withhold payment on debts.
2) Delaying payment or always paying minimum payments.
3) You’re unable to tithe, or save, or invest. We are still robbing from God if we use it to pay a bill. We are called to leave an inheritance to our children’s children (that means we have to leave enough for 2 generations, and train our kids well enough to handle it well and leave more to the next generation). Proverbs 21:20 says that wise people have “choice” things and a foolish person devours all they have. A wise man plans for the future, eats well (not a lot but healthy), and has resource.
4) You’re unable to pay your taxes. You don’t need to pay more than you need to (the laws are there, but you don’t cheat or lie), but Jesus says to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s.
5) Habitual extravagant spending. Dave Ramsey calls this “Buying stuff you don’t need with money you don’t have to impress people you don’t like.”
6) You’re always looking for a get rich quick idea. This includes playing the lottery.
Steps to Becoming Debt Free
1) Commit to be debt free from this point forward. Commit to not bring on any more debt. If you’re forced to, do it smart. (For example, the average millionaire buys a 3-4 year old car and pays cash for it.)
2) Make a list of all you own and all you owe (if you’re making payments on it, you don’t own it). Proverbs 24:3-4 is a good reference.
3) Have a sale. This is the stuff that is sitting and not getting used. Then use the money to pay down debt. If our money is moving, it can do something.
4) Start paying God (tithe) and yourself (invest in your future) first. Live on 80% (invest 10%, tithe 10% and live on what’s left)…or better yet give an offering of an additional 10% and only live on 70%. That employs God to multiply what you plant in the earth and allows us to tap God’s wisdom, beyond just the protection of the tithe. With the 80/20 plan, if you’re making $60,000 starting at 40 years, by age 60, you’ll tithe $120,000 and have investments worth over $250,000 (with modest gains). Remember, that the goal is to start doing something (you might start at 1% now instead of 10%).
5) Set up a repayment plan (realistic).
6) Share it with your creditors (really). They may tell you all they will accept only full payment. Take what you were going to pay them and put it in a separate account, and then when you have it pay them.
7) Employ God, and believe God to do it in less than that time. As we change our heart and actions, God will work on our behalf. Proverbs 16:7 says that if we do what we know to do and trust God, He will bring us favor and bring us to peace.
8) Make a commitment that we will NOT add any more debt.
9) Stick to it and trust God.
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