What do my hopes and prayers for earthly things have to do with debt?
I know this message is long…but debt has a profound influence on how we live our earthly life! I hope it gives you something to think and pray about…
In today’s American culture, people usually have no problem charging to their credit cards and carrying debt to get what they want now. People also believe debt in the form of loans for houses, cars, remodeling, boats, etc are also not a problem if the bank is willing to give you the loan. People are concerned about their credit rating. Our “normal” life deals with debt. And this is not only in our worldly life, but also in our “church” doctrine. There has been an infiltration of praying for worldly riches and calling them blessing in our modern church doctrine. How does this all fit in my life in reality?
What does God think about debt? Should it be my hope, goal, and prayer to be released from debt by paying it off ASAP? We can see examples in God’s Word to show His character and what He thinks about debt.
His Old Testament law to the nation of Israel included release from debt every 7 years and a 50th year of Jubilee. That says to me that God understands that debt happens, but He does not want people enslaved for a lifetime…and desires to give a second chance!
Deuteronomy 15:1, “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts.”
Leviticus 25: 8-17 gives the set up for the Jubilee years every 50 years and how to work it out fairly.
God is not pleased about anyone being enslaved or oppressed. He sent Yeshua Jesus that we might be set free! Debt is enslavement and being oppressed through economics. Yet, truth and justice demand consequences that we reap what we sow. How wonderful that we can turn to God for another chance and a helping hand! We have another example of debt relief by God using His prophet to deliver a widow and her sons from debt:
2 Kings 4:7, (read more about this woman who experienced the flow of oil that did not stop until all the containers were full) “Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”
In Proverbs we are instructed in the wisdom of not being a cosigner on another person’s debt. If your word is your bond, then you too become enslaved in that debt….especially if something unexpected happens. A cosigned debt may not be a safe place even if the one you cosign for is trustworthy…. due to no one’s fault by the occurrence of trouble in the world the debt could fall into your responsibility!
Proverbs 22:26, “Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety for debts.”
So, what would be the best goal concerning debt?
Romans 13:8, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
Debt enslaves us to the borrower, plus forcing us to labor to pay off the debt until it is paid. The Bible tells us about the debters prisons of the past. Our debters prisons may not have bars, but they still enslave. Debt actually means that the paycheck we bring home is not really ours…it belongs to the one I owe.
Have you ever examined your balance sheet of assets and liabilities? Most of us are in the negative most of our lives! And that person or organization we owe has the right to collect through scheduled billing or call in the debt! Debt enslaves me. Debt puts me at risk of the borrowers hand. Debt causes stress! Who am I willing to be indebted to? Who am I willing to trust my life and sustenance to? Who and what is running my life?
These are hard questions I had to ask myself. Have I been living all these years the wrong way? Is there a way to make it better for my children and grandchildren? If someone really took this to heart, what would it look like? Imagine if someone got extreme about it….they might have enough equity in their house to sell what they have and purchase a house they can pay for…they might never use credit cards…they might always save to buy… they may even be forced to trust God for necessities…they might have to quit going on vacation or spending money on extra clothing, new gadgets, entertainment, or restaurants…etc. They would be living within their means.
BUT they would be free to live without the same restrictive demands. It might be working at a job that pays less, but brings more fulfillment…or maybe one you feel God led you to! Or maybe God does want you to be an influential money manager for His kingdom. Without paying any interest, you could build wealth…instead of working to build someone else’s wealth. What would that be like? Whether you know it or not, restriction and responsibility to another is the unconscious agreement we are making when we go into debt. Everyone should make a conscious choice if the debt they are signing onto is worth the consequences to your life, goals, and how you spend the time in your life! Each person needs to make their plans and choices.
I believe God wants us free! When we are free, we are better equipped to love and give! We are free to go where He says to go and do what He says do. We can focus more on our responsibilities to Him then our responsibilities to the world.
He also desires to make a way for a second chance should we find ourselves in debt. God is on our side and He does not want us to be in debt. It is another form of slavery. So, keep praying and working towards that hope of being debt free….and be wise concerning taking on more debt and who you are willing to owe. If the Holy Spirit shows you a way out of debt, be ready to follow and obey….even if your logic or desires scream at you….or you think it is not what everyone else is doing. Pray and seek God’s will concerning debt and finances…and then obey what He says.
Now, do you see how to examine if what I hope and ask for is in line with the character of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and in line with His Word and in line with His call on your life? Our example of working towards being debt free shows to be in line with God’s Word and character…so it is a good hope and prayer! I believe being debt free should also be a good goal.
We should pray before going into any more debt. We should pray for our needs. We should even pray about our wants. But, before we pray concerning the earthly things we hope for, we should ask ourselves, “ In all honesty can I feel righteous in asking my Father through the name of His Son by the power of the Holy Spirit for these material earthly things I need or want? Are my hopes scriptural according to His Word and His character? I am welcome to come before the throne of my loving heavenly Father, but He is also holiness and all authority and all truth. Is this worthy of asking?
Sometimes even if it is a good thing and scriptural, He may answer “not now”. Our loving Father is more concerned about us…. our attitude, motive, if am I ready to handle it, and how it is to be used. He is our Father and He knows best. We are to be good managers of the Masters riches given to us and always thankful for His great generosity! (Remember the parable in Matthew 24:14-30.) Keep your hopes in Him! AND ALWAYS keep asking and hoping for His heavenly treasures as first priority!