Bible Ballistics: Vol. 9 No.18 The Danger Of Debt???
I’d like to revisit a series that I posted several years ago, and so for the next several posts we will be looking at the import of not only being ready to meet The Lord Jesus when He comes, but also five things that I think will help us examine our lives in light of His coming:
Debt, Diligence, Discernment, Decency, and Dependence.
We will take the next five sessions together to consider each of these topics that we might equip ourselves as faithful servants of The Lord Jesus Christ while we are here on “Planet Earth”! There are a lot more things that we could consider, but I pray that these five will help us be better equipped to face each day and the challenges that come our way.
We are inundated with stress, confusion and chaos on a daily basis, and my prayer is that these articles will be a help and an encouragement to each of us, that we can walk forward in Biblical truth and power.
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth
unto those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark
for the prize
of the high calling of God
in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
Jesus IS the prize for the believer! Yet we live in a culture that is enamored with “stuff”, and it has given rise to a people who want material things over spiritual things. And this has bred a culture of “DEBT”, even in the community of believers! Personal debt, corporate debt, national debt……debt, debt, debt….. We must face this issue now, while there is still time.
The number one cause of conflict in most homes is a financial one—DEBT. This is a problem of epidemic proportions and although we can’t solve it all here, we can seek some scriptural advice that will help us make good decisions as we apply scripture to our lives.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11
The first principle we want to consider in controlling, and hopefully avoiding debt, is to remember that Jesus teaches us to pray for our “DAILY” bread. We are to live today, and within the means that we have TODAY!!! We must recognize the danger of living in the past or the future. We are to live in the here and now, even though our hope and our real home is in heavenly places with our Lord. We are to be faithful stewards in all our dealings—both spiritually and physically. Paul gives us some good advise in Romans 13:8,
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
Our goal ought to be DEBT-FREE!! Why? Firstly, because Jesus calls us to live today, and to pray for our “daily bread”! This doesn’t mean we aren’t to consider and plan for the future, but our focus and dependence is to be on God, today!
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God,
and his righteousness;
and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow:
for the morrow shall take thought
for the things of itself.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:33-34
When we incur debt, we are spending what we presume will be “tomorrow’s” money. But when tomorrow comes and there isn’t and money there, then how do we meet the “daily” needs of that ‘day’? We won’t, and then the downward spiral begins—more need, more borrowing, more borrowing, more debt, more debt, more stress, more stress, more conflict, more conflict, more discouragement, which can lead to despair, demoralization and despair. Oh my, all this because I sought the ‘lender’ instead of the “lover of my soul”!
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” James 1:17
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
James and Paul both remind us that our sufficiency and provision comes from our Sovereign God Almighty! When we are willing to walk by faith and dependence on God, we will find that He will guide us and provide for our needs. Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t borrow money to buy a car that you need, or a house for your family, but I am saying we should seek God’s face first, and then proceed to get the car, house or other large ticket items that we may “need”. But we are not to be driven by Madison Avenue advertisers to consume every gadget that they say we “must” have TODAY!!! It’s not the gadgets that will get us into trouble it’s the greed that wants it all TODAY!
When we are confronted with the decision of whether to incur debt or not, we must seek the Lord’s guidance and direction. We need to do our ‘homework’, so to speak, and be sure that we are getting the best thing that we can, at the best price and financing options that we can obtain. We aren’t to just keep buying everyday consumables on credit. That’s what leads people to have thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars in ‘credit card debt’! And that is a bottomless pit almost all of the time. We must seek God’s face in every decision—that is our hope and confidence.
“If any of you lack wisdom,
let him ask of God,
that giveth to all men liberally,
and upbraideth not;
and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith,
For he that wavereth
is like a wave of the sea
driven with the wind
7 For let not that man think that
he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” James 1:3-8
We are to keep our eyes on Jesus—on the ‘prize’—and not be that double-minded person who asks, but doesn’t really believe in God, or believe that He will hear and answer. It’s also the believer who asks, and then when God answers, he/she just can’t bring himself to believe that “That is God’s answer!” I can’t do that! I can’t go there! I must have this NOW! We become adult two-year-olds pitching a temper tantrum because God is leading us in a direction that we don’t want to go. We all must decide whether we will keep our eyes on Jesus–The Prize—or on our own selfish desires and dictates?
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily beset us,
and let us run with patience
the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus
of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand
of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured
such contradiction of sinners
lest ye be wearied
in your minds.” Hebrews 12:1-3
We must keep our eyes “fixed on Jesus” in all our ways, so that we will be going HIS way and not our own, if we want to be found faithful when He calls us to Himself! The prayer of my heart is to hear HIM say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”
Are you aware that the reason many young people never make it to the mission field where God has called them is because they have allowed themselves to become trapped in the shackles of debt? And debt can shackle us if we aren’t diligent to hear and obey our Lord!
Anther reason that we ought to beware of debt is so that we can love and share our resources with those around us more freely. God calls us to care for our families, and to care for those around us who are less fortunate than we are. Callings of love often neglected because we have allowed debt to gain control in our lives.
“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10
“Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Ephesians 4:28
We are to labor and work to be able to provide for our own, and also to share with those in need. We are to share the ‘wealth’, rather than hoard in ‘greed’. As my husband is known to say, we aren’t to “Get all you can. Can all you get. And sit on the can.” We are to have a heart of generosity and compassion as our Lord did. But that’s hard to do when we are shackled by greed and debt!
We are able to love so much more freely without the encumbrance of ‘DEBT’ draining all our time, effort and emotions. Proverbs 22:7 reveals a lot about the reality of debt.
“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
Debt enslaves and should be avoided when possible, waiting until we can afford things because:
“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
Waiting is like a “tree of “life”, much to be preferred over the shackles of debt. A message our culture needs to hear.
Where then is the balance? We must live within our means and make decisions accordingly. I don’t have to acquire the biggest, best or fastest – first. God will never lead us to violate His word, but rather to make good choices for ourselves and our loved ones based on His principles. His way will lead us to create a legacy of reason & ‘readiness’, rather than one of merciless debt!
As the religious leaders of the day, were trying to entrap Jesus about money, He revealed a great principle of financial reason and direction.
“And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:20-21.
When we give God His due place in our lives, then he will teach us how to exercise due diligence in the appropriate use of our resources. Just remember Jesus’ call to us:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God,
and his righteousness;
and all these things
shall be added unto you.”
God’s blessing on you as you ponder these things.