This is one thought that Josh and I know very well, unfortunately. It wasn’t always that way though. As someone who never even owned a credit card of any kind until the age of 22, I never imagined that someday I would be nearly $80,000.00 in debt. But fast forward ten years and that’s exactly where we were. While it can happen to anyone regardless of their spiritual walk, the majority of our financial mishaps happened when both of us were living far away from Jesus. The world had gotten a hold of both of us and we fell into the lie that we could “buy now and pay later.” And boy oh boy, did we ever pay for that mentality! As we sank farther and farther towards bottom, this thought truly had grabbed a hold of us. It seemed hopeless and we could not imagine a way out. We really believed we could never get out of the hole we were in without some sort of worldly solution. But, then one day in 2008, our eyes were opened and we saw, through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, that God and His word actually did have a plan for us and our money. If we would just be faithful and follow it, we could be free!
In fact, the Bible instructs us on money more than any other subject, including love. This sounds strange, doesn’t it? After all, doesn’t Jesus say that the most important commandment is to love one another? But we’ve learned over the last three years that how we handle our money is incredibly important to God because it shows, at its very core, where our true desires lie. Do we desire God and His way or do we desire our own agenda?
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). For many years, our treasures were anything that helped us “keep up with the Joneses.” Sound familiar? Clothes, cars, trinkets, and so-called treasures, that meant nothing when compared to the incomparable love of Jesus. Instead of placing our faith in Him, our faith was in our paycheck, our checkbook and any solution the world sold us. We’re being sold all the time that we just need to “consolidate” our debt, file for bankruptcy, borrow against our homes, and rob Peter to pay Paul. Beloved, please know that we truly understand your hardships and the temptation to try to attack this problem on your own, but I promise you that God has another way that will not only set you free, but pays incredible spiritual dividends!
Money is such a tool of the world that we have a hard time believing God cares about this, but He does. The day we began moving forward in His plan to get rid of our debt, being completely faithful to Him in every financial decision we made, we saw God’s incredible provision begin to lead us out of the dark and towards freedom. Like all battles, this one begins in the mind. We must believe God is faithful, and that we are precious to Him, more so than anything He has created:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:35-34)
When you are battling debt, remember that God sees your struggle and He is caring for you. God does not want to see His children in bondage! He sent His son Jesus so we could be free to live with Him and His righteousness, free from the lies of the world. Start with this empowering truth and then take action according to God’s Word to begin battling your way out with Him by your side. We are proud to tell you that by starting with this truth ourselves and putting Dave Ramsey’s program into practice, three years later we have paid off $70,000.00 of our debt. We did not use a debt service, consolidation plan or any sort of bankruptcy. We gave faithfully throughout, “counted the cost” of every decision we made, joined in the battle together in our marriage instead of allowing it to separate us, and prayed for deliverance every day. Most of all, we believed that He would deliver us.
DON’T THINK: “I’m in too deep, there is no way out.”
INSTEAD THINK: “God cares for me more than anything He’s created and He is my deliverer! Nothing is impossible with God”
Prayer: Father God, I know I have made mistakes and I confess I have not been faithful with my finances. I have relied on the world when I should have relied on You. I thank You, that You see my struggle and that I have nothing to worry about because You love me above all creation. I ask you to come along side me and give me wisdom through Your Word to deliver me from this debt. I place my faith, my hope and my trust in You, believing that You will lead me into freedom.
Engage: What fears or doubts do you have that are preventing you from trusting God with your finances?
Please see the Condition of Use for this blog.
© Joshua J. Masters and Think This, Not That, 2012.
Photo Credit: Flickr Commons 401k