What does being free with your money mean? Carefree? Expecting free money? No! How about emotional freedom; free from debt; and freedom to give? You bet! God desires money and freedom to be compatible. Unmanageable debt imprisons us.
The average US household credit card debt stands at $15,191, the result of a few deeply indebted households forcing up the numbers. Based on an analysis of Federal Reserve statistics and other government data, the average household owes $7,087 on their cards; looking only at indebted households, the average outstanding balance rises to $15,191. Here are statistics, trends, studies and method behind the average U.S. household debt. (current April 2014)
The Bible teaches us how to be free with our money.
What does the Bible say about debt?
- Christians should pay their debts. “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” Romans 13:7 ESV
- Cosigning a loan is not smart. “One who lacks sense gives a pledge and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.” Proverbs 17:18 ESV
- Unmanageable debt enslaves you. “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 ESV
Why should we live Biblically about debt?
- Experience internal and external peace. The world teaches to “get it now!”; “just charge it”; and “you deserve it!” This teaching often leads to bondage and trouble…not peace.
- Grow closer to God as we see Him provide. Trusting God by living by his financial principles draws us into a sacred dance with Him—We trust; He provides; We grow closer. (italics mine)
- Give freely to others. Apply Biblical truth to your finances allows you the capacity to invest in things of an eternal nature and not only depreciable investments.
How can we live Biblically about debt?
Spend less than you make. Easier said than done! The key though is—Do you really want to live free of debt, experience peace, grow closer to God, and give freely to others? If so, here are some ways to become free of debt:
- Discern between needs and wants—Issue of entitlement. Often times we spend money on what we think we need. In reality it is what we want. We could live on something less or something else but we don’t realize we can or simply don’t want to.
- Be content with what you have—Issue of contentment. A discontented spirit produces greed and covetousness. Contentment results from a proper relationship with God based on accepting the lifestyle that He has made provision for in your life. A good rule to use—wait 24 hours before small purchases; Seven days for large purchases.
- Don’t compare yourself with others—Issue of jealousy. We often toil to “keep up with the Jones’”, influenced by envy. We conclude that we are failures because we don’t have what everyone else has. Let’s be content with God’s favor. Keeping up with the Jones’ is a vain pursuit.
- Choose delayed gratification—Issue of impatience and greed. Common purchases that portray impatience and greed—too much house or car, spending too much on Christmas, paying credit for household items such as refrigerators.
- Work hard to make more money—Issue of laziness. Sometimes the only way you can cut debt is to make more money. Many debt heroes have taken on extra jobs for a time period to generate more income. It’s exhausting but necessary. Pay now, play later!
- Plan ahead. Develop a budget. A budget is a written plan for managing your money, and without such a plan unless you’re one of the fortunate few with an endless supply of money, you could be setting yourself up for unnecessary debt. You tell your money where to go.
What keeps you from being debt-free?