Figuring out Your Finances: Part 2
trap, or you’re already entrapped.
1. Living on Credit
If you depend on credit to maintain your lifestyle you’re spending too much. Proverbs 3:27-28 “Don’t withhold repayment of your debts.” In other words, if you have cash to pay it now, pay it now.
There are a couple of problems with living on credit: It shows a lack of contentment in your life. And it is a presumption on the future. You say, “I can always pay it off tomorrow.” How do you think so? You might be disabled. You might have a major accident. Proverbs 27:1 “Boast not of tomorrow, for you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”
2. Delaying Payments or Paying the Minimum
That’s a telltale sign you’re in the debt trap. The Bible says in Romans 13:8, "Let no debt remain outstanding.”
3. Unable to Tithe or Save
Malachi 3:8 says, “Will a man rob God? Yet you rob Me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob You?’ In tithes and offerings.” If I’m not tithing, I’m robbing God. How do you expect Him to bless your finances if you’re robbing Him?
The Bible tells us, “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” If you’re not saving any money, if you’re not tithing, you need a radical overhaul of how your budget is being built.
4. Unable to Pay Taxes
The Bible says in Matthew 22:21, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” If you can’t pay your taxes, you are in the debt trap.
5. Extravagant Spending
Proverbs 21:17 says, “Indulging in luxuries, wine, and food will never make you wealthy.” Today we have an entire luxury market that targets people with catalogues. I read this Christmas about a $200 nose-hair remover! Folks! I could show you a much cheaper way to do that.
6. Looking for Get Rich Quick Ideas
The Bible says run from get rich quick schemes. It says it over and over again. Proverbs 21:5 says, “Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty.”
People often get in debt because they live in a fantasy world. They’re always dreaming of some big strike tomorrow. Some people are always waiting to win the Lotto. You are more likely to be hit by a meteor than to win the lottery. And don’t get me started on the stupidity of gambling! The Bible says: Don’t do it! Don’t go to Lost Wages for your vacation.
Ecclesiastes 5:7 “Dreaming instead of doing is foolishness.” I’ve talked with many people, as a pastor, whose financial situation, when you look at it on a piece of paper, it did look humanly impossible. You’d think, “There’s no way they’re going to get out of debt.” But there is a way out. If you follow God’s financial plan:
Commit to becoming debt free today—not tomorrow, not next week, not next month— commit to being debt now. Psalm 37:21 says, “The wicked borrow and do not repay.” I know you’re thinking, “But I’m in so much debt, why don’t I just file for bankruptcy and start over. It’s legal.” Yes it is legal but it’s not moral. There are many things that a Christian, a believer, a follower of Christ, someone who’s seriously trying to live with integrity, shouldn’t do.
Start paying god and myself first—I get that paycheck and the first ten percent goes back to God and the second ten goes to my savings account. Where did your ability to make wealth come from? God and yourself. Yet these are the last two entities we often pay. You say, “I can’t afford to tithe, I can’t afford to save.” You can’t afford not to. If you want God’s blessing, you have to do it God’s way.
List all I owe and all I own—Proverbs 24:3 says, “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established.” You need to know where your money is coming from, and how much it is, and you need to know where it’s all going. Proverbs 18:13 (Living Bible) says, “It’s stupid to decide before knowing the facts.” You’ve got to get the facts on your financial setup.
Have a sale—if God told you to give something away or to sell something and you say, “I could never do that.” There’s a word for that item. It’s an idol. The Bible says in Ezekiel 20:7, “Get rid of every idol.” Some of you have idolized your house. You’ve idolized your car. The Bible says