“Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.” – Romans 13:7-8.
Our current teaching series is entitled Making Change and as the name implies, it is about making changes in our lives. I believe most people believe the idea of change sounds good, until we realize we may have to do things differently. And too often we spend our time and effort trying to change others other than changing ourselves. Warren Wiersbe said, “Real contentment must come from within. You and I cannot change or control the world around us, but we can change and control the world within us.” And that includes controlling our spending and thus our debt.
We all have them. Those bad spending habits that break the budget on a monthly basis. Maybe you always have to have the most up-to-date electronic gadget. It could be that you can’t help purchasing something on sale, even if it’s not budgeted for. Whatever it is, you know it’s a problem and adds up to living a life on lease.
Whatever we’re controlled by is what we’re enslaved to. When we’re in debt, we belong to those who lend us money. The more debt we take on, the fewer options we give ourselves when it comes to where we work and how we spend our time. Instead of making decisions based on what we want to do, we find ourselves thinking about what we have to do.
We are never going to get out of debt accidentally. It’s got to be intentional. You’ve got to have a plan. The Bible says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity…” (Proverbs 21:5). Once you have decided to eliminate or reduce your debt, you need a plan of attack. The plan will solve the case of the vanishing dollars and identify where funds went and how they got there. And when you have a handle of where your money is going, set up a procedure to prevent a recurrence.
Debt will always leave us feeling stuck, and Jesus wants so much more for our lives. When Jesus died for our sins, He paid the ultimate debt, a debt we could never afford to pay. Jesus died to give us freedom from sin and an abundant life. That’s why Paul encouraged the Christians in Rome to pay off whatever they owed, whether it was money or an apology. When the only debt we’re concerned with is how to love the people around us, we’ll do more for God than we ever imagined (Romans 13:7–8). To do that, we need a plan.
- What has been your experience with debt?
- In what ways does debt limit freedom?
- What makes it so difficult to get out of debt?