Monday, May 16, 2005

Biblical Debt Help for Yourself

The first thing you can do to help yourself get out of debt is to live on cash, and cut up your credit cards. Credit cards encourage excessive spending, they are specifically designed for that purpose. It is a proven fact that people spend significantly more using a credit card. Even when you pay off your credit card each month, you are still in danger and you still spend more due to the convenience of it. Proverbs 3:27,28 tells us not to withhold our payments on debt (incurred at the time of purchase) if we have the cash to pay it now. That is putting your payment off into the future. You are incurring debt.

You can't live on credit. It shows you are not content with what God has provided you. 1 Timothy 6:8 tells us what is enough. Hebrews 13:5 tells us that we should be content with what God provides. It is better to have little wealth and be serving God's purpose for our lives, than to be wealthy without living our God given purpose (Psalm 37:16). Wealth provides a false sense of security. (Proverbs 27:7)

Proverbs 27:1 tells us that when we use credit to purchase things, we make a bold presumption of what the future holds. In fact anytime we borrow money we do that. We take away our flexibility to follow God's direction, and become slaves to paying our creditors instead. You simply can't serve both masters. So the first step to giving yourself "debt help" is to live on cash.

Dave Ramsey has a great system for doing this. You might check out his book "Financial Peace" which helps you with a system for living on cash. This is probably a difficult step for many, since you have too much debt and are playing the "credit card shuffle", or have a mortgage that stretches you too thin. However, it can be done, and takes discipline and patience. When you get your spending priorities striaght, it can reduce a lot of stress. You have to make decisions to "downsize" your spending, and find ways to increase your income. The easiest way to downsize spending is to sell things that can be used to pay off loans, including your house and moving into a smaller, less expensive, place to get your housing expenses in line with your income level. It can be a quite liberating experience!

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