Biblically Based Money Management Planning
Debt Valley Days, Part 1
“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 Law of Dominion: Genesis 1:26
“And God said,” Let Us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over all the earth.'”
Looming Shadows of Debt
So, who’s afraid of a shadow? Shadows are deceiving and create illusions. Debt, also, is a deceptive illusion that we possess things that we do not really own. According to Webster:
Debt- (L) n. debitum that which is owed to someone; an obligation to pay or return something; the condition of owing (morally obligated); theologically, a SIN of unbelief that God can and will meet our needs.
Obligate- (L) v. to bind by a contract, promise, sense of duty; bound by a responsibility.
Very few people in today’s society escape at least a short period of circumstantial debt. Whatever the life event, downsizing, illness, divorce, accidents, death of a loved one, most of us have had to be “more than a conqueror through Christ.” Using a Debt Triangle we can build a pyramid of the highest to the lowest types of debt.
So, What’s Wrong with DEBT?
Debt in itself is not always bad. Once your home, cars, creditors are paid off, debt for investment purchases is actually very good. There are countless advantages for expenditures that arise out of property investments. Debt that creates a bondage and threat to a healthy consumer lifestyle, however, is actually a sin, in that it separates us from the belief in the call of God on our lives. God has a plan to prosper us and not do us harm and give us a future. Jeremiah 29:11. Because we know not the future, we have no authority to presuppose on God to provide beyond His daily promise. When we willingly enter a debt agreement, especially in an ungodly, material world, we gamble that God will extend His blessings to cover our lust for other things. Whatever way we justify our needs, debt is often a clear sign that we need to examine our true motives when purchasing.
“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender?ye know not the future.” Proverbs 22:7
Four Things Debt Causes:
1. Compound Interest in reverse.
Instead of the creditor paying interest for the amount of money in savings, they are charging interest for the time we borrow their money on their goods.
30 years….60 months
Total paid..$312,925.00 (additional $215,925 for $100,000.)
The sin is the $215,925.00 that could have been used for so many other ways for building the Kingdom of God.
2. Borrowing Presumes on the Future:
“Go to now, you that say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For What is your life? It is even a vapour, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away. 15 For that, you ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. 16 But now you rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.17 Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:13-17
When we borrow, especially in times of economic uncertainty, we are gambling that the money will come in, or that God will rescue us. Yet, He can only perform things in agreement to His Word. If we are not following His Wisdom and guidance then we are acting out of our own reasoning; boasting in our ability to buy great purchases. Rather, we should humble ourselves and boast only on what the Lord has provided for us. Again, we are living under an illusive shadow that we have bought goods, when in honesty, we have merely charged goods.
3. Denies God an opportunity to prove Himself.
“Bring ye all the tithe into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine House. PROVE ME NOW herewith says the Lord of Hosts, that I will open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that you cannot contain. I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes. He will not destroy the fruit of your ground. Neither shall your vine cast fruit before its time and all the nations of the world will call you blessed.” Malachi 3:10-11
God says prove ME not First American Bank! Tithing will not get us into or keep us out of heaven. Tithing is an act of trust and obedience. If we bring all the tithe, the full ten-percent to the storehouse, God’s promise is to rebuke the devourer (one who greedily swallows up), prohibit anyone from destroying the fruit of our ground (fruit of our labor). Certainly the finance charges at 18-24 % devour our profit and make our labor a futile effort.
Neither shall our vine (of opportunity and blessings) cast fruit before their time (before we are equipped or prepared to harvest), and all the nations of the world shall call us blessed, because we will be providing for their needs with our overflow.
The degree of devastation we suffer often determines the time necessary to return to financial stability. Our degree of releasing and surrendering our recovery to the Lord instead of legal or governmental agencies often determines the length of our shadow. The Lord promised David, “though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me. Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23. When we substitute our financial circumstances in that phrase, we discover a more peripheral position of God’s protection. Let’s examine the mind-set that determines which lifestyle we choose as believers.
American-Christian: “Because I dwell in the valley of the shadow of debt, I will fear all creditors, their collectors and attorneys are ever after me. Their fine print and laws discomfort me.”
Christian-American: “Though I walk through the valley (low-lying place between two high places through which waters have drained) of the shadow of debt (illusion of lack, poverty, and bondage), I will fear no evil (absence of God’s presence), for Thou art with me. Thy rod (Word of correction) and Thy staff (symbol of Spiritual authority) they comfort me.”
The Lord never intended for us to take up permanent residency in Poverty Valley. We are to dwell in the secret place of the Most High, under the Shadow of the Almighty, in His image, which is NOT a poverty, thieving, hand-out mentality. We are expected to honor our agreements and contracts to God first and quickly repay any debts so that we may be a good witness to those watching our actions. To walk in the blessings we must honor the Lord with our First Fruits, not what is left over.
4. Block or Detour God’s Calling for our Life
In identifying our positions in the earth, the majority of Christian-Americans are being chased by shadows of lack, fear, compulsive buying, impulsive spending, and are dominated by the remains of their checking account. Any or all of these things will not keep us out of heaven, but they will financially cripple us and prohibit us from walking in God’s promised covenant and His perfect plan and purpose for our lives as believers.
In Galations 5:1 Paul exhorted the believers (not unbelievers) to “Stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free, and be not entangled again (and again-and again) to the yoke of bondage.” Especially as believers, we have an obligation to our debtors to repay them at our earliest opportunity. Instead, many repay at their latest convenience, accruing increased finance charges, late fees, and overlimit fees. By that time there are brewing hostilities between them and their creditor, they begin taking on un-Christ-like attitudes, defensive actions, and eventually begin a lifestyle of a thief, i.e. “Catch me if you can!” The chase begins and the Debt Shadow pursues and overtakes them! Debtor mentality is a thief in that excessive charges and fees rob us from the financial freedom to fund ministries, travel on mission trips, and develop programs that present the Gospel and build the Kingdom for the Lord. WE become the enemy!
God’s promise, however, is that “if thou shalt hearken diligently to the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all His commandments?that the Lord will set you on high above all the nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings (verses 3-15) shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God.” Deuteronomy 28:1-15.