Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Of Houses & Things, Part 5: If You're in Debt

If You're in Debt

Romans 13:8 says, "Owe no one anything except to love one another." Proverbs 22:7 points out that "the borrower is servant to the lender." God wants us to be free to serve Him. For this reason, my husband and I determined to live free from debt, except perhaps for a mortgage or car payment that fits our budget.

If you are in debt but want to become financially solvent, here are some steps to take:

  1. Determine to become debt free. Ask God's help.
  2. Determine to put God first. 
  3. Write your life's goals to guide your spending. 
  4. Write a budget and stick to it.
  5. Always set aside God's portion first from each paycheck.
  6.  Determine to buy on a cash basis only. 
  7. Cut up your credit cards.
  8. List your assets and liabilities and draw up a debt repayment schedule. 
  9. Notify your creditors of your plan and stick to it no matter what.
  10. Sell all the things you never use, as well as unnecessary luxury items. Apply the proceeds to your debt.
  11. Cut out activities that distract you from your goal of putting God first and becoming debt free. Apply that money toward your debts. 
  12. Learn to be content with what you have.
Getting out of debt takes determination, persistence, and time, but it is worth the effort. As Americans, we have confused wants with needs. We don't need cable television, the latest electronic gadgets and games, fancy cars, the latest fad in clothing. When I am tempted to buy, I ask myself, "Do I really need this?" By saving ahead for larger items so we can pay cash, we've kept from going into debt and have saved a lot of money in interest.

We began this series of posts with my story of how I was forced to re-evaluate my attitudes about material things when my husband decided to answer God's call to full-time ministry. I can truthfully say that through 35 years of pastoring, God has not only provided our needs but many of our wants too. We lived in lovely parsonages. Our furniture is all paid for. And now that we are retired, we own our own manufactured home and cars debt free. We are comfortable and enjoy life. "The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it" (Proverbs 10:22).

How has the Lord proven faithful to you financially?

In my next post, I will begin a series of true stories of the Lord's provision in our lives and in the lives of our families, nuggets of faith to encourage you to trust God to "supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).

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