Getting out of Debt

As September is fast approaching so is back to school, and then black Friday and Christmas shopping.  I want to talk about getting out of debt before we start to get into these seasons.  There are so many students who have thousands of dollars of student loans to pay back, and people seem to lose all discipline regarding their spending and budget around black Friday… and the result is that they have to pay for their bad choices for a long time after they actually purchase the item.  This item is about getting out of debt.

And Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me; what have you in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” Then he said, “Go outside, borrow vessels from all your neighbors, empty vessels and not too few. Then go in and shut the door behind yourself and your sons and pour into all these vessels. And when one is full, set it aside.” So she went from him and shut the door behind herself and her sons. And as she poured they brought the vessels to her. – 2 Kings 4:3-7 ESV

The woman and her sons collected vessels from their neighbors, pouring oil into them from their one pot.  The oil stopped pouring only when they fan out of containers. The number of vessels they gathered was an indication of their faith.  God’s provision was as large as their faith and willingness to obey. Beware of limiting God’s blessing by a lack of faith and obedience.  God is able to do more then we ask or imagine.  God wants to use what you have in your (that you probably don’t know you have) to pay off your debt.

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. – John 10:10 ESV

God wants you to live abundantly. Because of unbridled desired that may be in your heart it may be easy to purchase things on credit that you can’t pay off. This is a plan of the enemy to steel money from you because you will have to pay interest on that purchase until its paid off.

Then one of them said, “Won’t you please come with your servants?” “I will,” Elisha replied.  And he went with them. They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”  The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. “Lift it out,” he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it. – 2 Kings 6:3-6 NIV

We see the power of God in this verse that was displayed through Elisha to retrieve the ax head.  In these verses, an item that jumps out at me is the fact that one of the servants said that it was borrowed and was concerned to return it.  God wants you to repay any debt that you have and is concerned that anything borrowed is payed back.

For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? – Luke 14:28 ESV

I know that people usually borrow money for big purchases like a house or car but this verse is saying that you should consider the cost. Think about how long it is going to take to pay off the debt and also how much of a monthly burden it may place on your finances.

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. – Proverbs 22:7 ESV

This is a reality when you have debt.  Until you pay off purchases made with credit then you will always have it hanging over your head every single month.  Often times interest keeps borrows captive long after the item purchased has passed its useful life span.  Be sure that you examine your ability to pay back before you borrow any money.

Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. – James 2:26

I place this verse in this episode because it’s important to have a strategy to pay off debt. Without a budget or plan to pay off the debt it will take you a long time to pay off and possible affect your credit if a payment is late or missed.

“The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives” – Psalm 37:21 ESV

You can tell a lot about a person’s character by the way he or she handles money.  The wicket person steals under the guise of borrowing.  The righteous person gives generously to those in need.  The wicked person focuses on himself while the righteous person looks at the welfare of others.

Then he said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own.” – Luke 12:15

Jesus says that the good life has nothing to do with being wealthy, so be on guard against greed.  Advertisers try to entice us to think we need to buy more of their products to feel happier, more fulfilled or comfortable.  As Christians we need to focus on living in a loving relationship with God and not base hour happiness on possessions. This is how we avoid the trap of greed.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. – 1 John 2:15-16 NIV

I know most of you have heard this phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses” This is a trap of the enemy and the cause is the lust of the flesh, eyes and pride of life.  The lust of the flesh is preoccupation with gratifying physical desires.  The lust of the eyes is craving and accumulating things, bowing and worshipping material things.  The Pride of life is obsession with one’s status or importance.  If you are overspending and purchasing things on credit that you can’t pay off, one of these three areas may be affecting your life.  Pray against it.