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God’s way to avoid the Debt Trap

person signing loan agreement for purchase of apartment

It is easy to overspend and build up debt. I want to encourage you to avoid taking on more debt. Think twice before you spend!  

I want to encourage you to AVOID THE DEBT TRAP.

Reasons why so many get into Debt

1. Peer pressure

Many are trying desperately to “keep up with the Joneses.” You may feel PEER PRESSURE to have what your friends have. You may say, “I have to have it too!” If I get that new … (fill in the blanks)” I will be happy. Please don’t fall for the lie!

The truth is that often when you end up buying that “latest thing”, it is outdated by the start of the next month anyway! Even that brand new car does not feel that new by the time you need to make the first repayment!

Exodus 20:17 tells us, “You must not covet your neighbor’s house”

Do you realize how crazy it is, to try and keep up with the Joneses?

Many buy things they don’t need, with money they don’t have, just to impress people that they don’t even like! Trying to keep up with the Joneses will leave you debt-ridden and empty. Before you buy that “thing” on credit, that creates debt, first ask yourself – Is it worth it? If you want or need that item, rather save up for it!

2. Instant gratification!

You see that advert for that new awesome gadget. You just cannot wait! So, you convince yourself that you HAVE TO HAVE IT NOW! Not next year, but NOW!

So, you buy that item on credit and, wow, it looks good, and it feels so good NOW! But a few days go by, and the newness wears off, and all you have is a nice debt and a monthly repayment schedule that messes up your finances.

Can I let you in on a little secret? You are allowed to save up for things! The advert on TV tells you that you can buy that car for a “special discounted” price and that you only need to make the first payment in 3 months. Many think they have got the deal of the century, only to have to face the harsh reality of repaying the debt installment over the next 5 years! And then after 5 years, you have another debt. They call it a residual payment. WHAT A DEAL!

Many buy now and choose to pay it off later. This makes you feel good NOW, but not so good over the next year because the extra debt repayment leads to stress on your cash flow. A little short-term “feel good” GAIN, often leads to a lot of long-term PAIN!

In Luke 14: 28-30 Jesus said, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” 

Don’t just buy things on the spur of the moment. Count the cost! Ask yourself: Do I really need it? Can it wait? Can I afford it? How long will it take me to save up for this? I promise you that you will appreciate that item more and you won’t face unnecessary debt stress if you carefully consider spending first and make wise decisions instead of the spur of the moment decision that can leave you bankrupt. You don’t have to live in debt.

Like the old Queen song “I WANT IT ALL, I WANT IT ALL, I WANT IT ALL, AND I WANT IT NOW! I want to warn you: Don’t fall for the “feel good now” lie.

In the old days, people used a “lay-buy” system. You saved up first. Why not try this approach. It will save you a lot of heartaches.

When you continue to just buy things on a regular basis on credit, it eventually will catch up with you. The vicious buying on the credit cycle leads to more and more debt. This debt can easily spiral out of all control and really mess up your cash flow while causing mounting stress and heartache.

So, count the cost. Think twice before you buy it! If you really want it or need it, then put a plan in place and save up for it!

3. Retail Therapy 

You have a bad day or a bad year! So, to feel better you decide to treat yourself on the spur of the moment, without having the cash to do so!

You may choose to take a holiday when you are feeling stressed and book it on your credit card. “Just charge it!”. Or you just go out to spoil yourself. You may end up buying new shoes even though you don’t need them. (Often you use it once and it gets left in the cupboard to gather dust). Many call this “retail therapy”! 

Proverbs 14:16 says, “The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.”

“Retail therapy” may give you some instant and temporary relief and make you feel better now, but a mountain of debt tomorrow will not do much for your future stress levels. Rather make room in your monthly budget to fund your entertainment and other needs. You can also save some of your hard-earned money to fund your dreams. 

4. Addicted to spending

Just like a person can be addicted to drugs, some people get addicted to the emotional high of spending.  The old saying “money burns a hole in his pocket” seems to be true in people who are addicted to spending.

If your spending is out of control, you need to get help. Overspending leads to large amounts of debt.

Proverbs 21:10: “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.”

So, get rid of the bad habits and start forming some good ones. Why not start investing some of your hard-earned money instead of foolishly spending your money on junk! 

You can avoid the debt trap!

Why don’t you consider setting up a budget? You can even start tracking your spending.

By having a budget, you will know what you can afford, and more importantly, what you can’t.

Set up a strategy to manage your money well, and don’t forget to set some funds aside for your entertainment and shopping too!

Proverbs 21:5 says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty”

By budgeting effectively, you can create a well-balanced approach to your money management. Why not set some money aside for your entertainment and to have some fun? But make sure that you also live within your means and that you also include saving and investing in your budget, so that you can build towards financial freedom.

It is vital that you spend less than you earn. Only spend money you can afford to spend. You can greatly reduce your “stress levels” and increase your “joy levels” by forming good money habits.

An interesting concept

Before you spend money ask yourself …

Is it worth it?

Do I really need it?

Can it wait?

Can I afford it?

Dave Ramsey has the following to say about debt …

“We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”

“Act your wage!”

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.”

“You must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”

What does God have to say about avoiding the debt trap?

Repay your debts …

“The wicked borrow but do not pay back, but the righteous are generous and give.” (Psalm 37:21)

“Give to everyone what you owed them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes, if revenue, then revenue, if respect, then respect, if honor, then honor. “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.” (Romans 13:7-8)

Debt enslaves …

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7)

Don’t crave the things money can buy …

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people eager for money have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

Be content…

“Stay away from the love of money, be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5)

Don’t be tempted into debt …

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

The measure you use in giving or withholding will come back in abundance …

Jesus said, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Luke 6:37-38)

We all owed a debt we could not repay. It is called sin. But Jesus paid the full price. Surrender to him and receive his mercy and undeserved love …

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

“By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:14)

Trust in God …

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5)

“And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”(Philippians 4:19)

May God give you wisdom and pour out his favor on you. You can avoid the debt trap. Remember the best things in life are free. Put your trust in God.

May your life be filled with God’s richest blessing!

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