|By Crown Financial Ministries
Our nation has gradually turned from a cash economy to an all-consuming debt economy, beginning first with financing of the home, then the car, the refrigerator, consumer goods, luxuries, and even pleasures.
The average American owes in excess of $4,000 in installment credit (not counting home mortgages). Many families pay more than $1,000 per year on installment interest alone.
Signs of too much debt:
- One credit card is used to pay another.
- One bill is delayed so an overdue bill can be paid.
- Paying only the minimum amount due on charge accounts.
- Getting a new loan or extension to pay your debt.
- Using credit card cash advances to pay living expenses.
- Using savings to pay bills.
- Depending on overtime to make ends meet each month.
Consequences of borrowing:
- Borrowing consumes resources through interest payments. The price of your purchase increases when you have to make interest payments. The cost is higher than most can imagine. Often you are still making payments after the item you purchased has depreciated, broken, or become outdated.
- Borrowing denigrates the Lord's reputation. It says to the world: God is not supplying all my needs; therefore, I have to make up the slack by borrowing. “And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not” (Mal. 3:18).
- Borrowing removes the barriers to harmful things. God may be protecting you from harmful things by not providing the money. If you borrow to get them anyway, you in effect are circumventing the Lord's wisdom. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3).
- Borrowing fosters impulse buying. This occurs when decisions are based solely upon the whim of the moment rather than prayerfully considering the decision. “Haste leads to poverty” (Prov. 21:5).
- Borrowing interferes with God's provision. God has promised to meet the needs of His children. He wants you to put your trust and faith in Him, rather than in a line of credit. “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).
- Borrowing represses creativity. There may be an alternate means to obtain the needed item which you have not yet explored or acted upon.
- Borrowing presumes upon the future. Not knowing what the future will hold, you obligate yourself to making payments.
- Borrowing is not the Lord's best. “If you do not obey the Lord your God...the alien who lives among you will rise above you higher and higher, but you will sink lower and lower. He will lend to you, but you will not lend to him. He will be the head, but you will be the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:15, 43, 44).
Debt is symptomatic of the real problem. Debt itself is not a sin, but the Bible discourages the use of debt. The underlying root problem is usually greed, impatience, lack of self-discipline, or poor self-image. Once you know the real cause, getting out of debt becomes easier.