Debt Series– Part 2
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7, NKJV
Paul writes that we should have anxiety about nothing, and finances are included in that. For when we bring our needs, worries, and requests to the foot of the throne, not only does God hear us, but He will give us a peace that is greater than allunderstanding and beyond explanation!
As a pastor and saint of the Kingdom of heaven, I am going after the demon of debt.
I have been in debt, am out of debt, and like being out of debt much better than being in debt. Church, God wants the same for you, too!
But unfortunately, we live in a country where people have adopted debt as a lifestyle.So I want to challenge you with the Word of God and the principles found in scripture not to live according to debt.
Here are three principles to implement in our finances.
I. Borrowing and not repaying is a sin. (Psalms 37:21, Ecclesiastes 5:5)
The first principle is straightforward: if you borrow money from someone, you must pay it back!
Psalms 37:12 in the New King James Version says, “The wicked borrows and does not repay, But the righteous shows mercy and gives.”
I would even argue that the wicked borrow, but they also don’t pay back. So, therefore, church, I implore that you do not do as the wicked do and borrow from this earth but rely solely on God for your needs.
“Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.”
Ecclesiastes 5:5, NKJV
This passage is clear; it is better not to make a promise than to make a promise and not keep it. Simply put, let your yes be yes and your no be no. If you can’t commit, then don’t continue down that path.
II. Don’t borrow money or loan money to others. (Romans 13:8, Luke 6:30-36)
“Owe no man anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.”
Romans 13:8, NKJV
I challenge you not to live in the constant obligation of debt to anyone. Do not borrow from or lend money to other people.
When people come and ask to borrow money from you, I pray that you will be met with the revelation thatthe fact that their needing to borrow may be an indication that they are mismanaging what they already have. Church, let us have eyes to see!
I recognize that sometimes people find themselves in unusual circumstances and may need help. So my challenge to you is this, if you don’t have it to give, tell them you can’t help them.
It’s okay to say, “I can’t help you!”
“Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods, do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.”
Luke 6:30-36, NKJV
Let me start by saying give and loan are not the same thing. When we loan something, we expect it back. However, when we give because God gave to us, we do so, expecting nothing in return.
Most of us loan to others, taking them at their word that they will return what was borrowed in a reasonable amount of time. This kind of thinking destroys relationships.
A friend asked for help, so you lend them funds intended for your rent or mortgage.They assure you they will pay you back on Friday when they get paid, yet, here you are, five years later, and no repayment. This leads to avoidance, shame, and broken relationships.
Saints, if you need money for something, ask God, and allow Him to satisfy that provision.
III. Don’t Co-Sign (Proverbs 6:1-5, 11:15, 17:18, 22:26-27)
What is co-signing?
Your friend goes to the bank and says I need a loan. The bank, which is in the business of making loans, reviews your friend’s track record, income, and practices, and they tell your friend theyaren’t sure he or she can paythem back.
In other words, the bank says, “Go find some fool who will agree to pay back if you don’t pay it back, and we can talk.”
Now my concern is if the bank thatmakes money by loaning money concluded that through all of their experience and knowledge,they are questioning yourfriend’s capacity to pay it back, why in the world would you cover for them?
“My son, if you become surety for your friend,
If you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
You are snared by the words of your mouth;
You are taken by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, and deliver yourself;
For you have come into the hand of your friend:
Go and humble yourself;
Plead with your friend.
Give no sleep to your eyes,
Nor slumber to your eyelids.
Deliver yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
And like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
Proverbs 6:1-5, NKJV
“He who is surety for a stranger will suffer,
But one who hates being surety is secure.”
Proverbs 11:15 NKJV
Look at the comparison here: you will struggle if you are surety for a stranger, a friend, or a family member. But if your financial boundary says “No,” to lending, you will remain safe and secure.
“A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge,
And becomes surety for his friend.”
Proverbs 17:18, NKJV
“Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge,
One of those who is surety for debts;
If you have nothing with which to pay,
Why should he take away your bed from under you?”
Proverbs 22:26-27, NKJV
Debt Q & A
Q: I just co-signed for an off-campus apartment for my college student. Would that be considered co-signing under these Biblical standards?
A: If you co-signed for your child, who is still in school, that is your parental responsibility.
Q: Is it okay to have a rental property?
A: For those of you who have a property you are renting out, here is a word of caution: if you cannot afford to pay the mortgage when it is empty, you should not own that home.
Q: Do you have any advice for student loan debt?
A: Our kids are graduating with astronomical debt. Debt that they will never be able to pay back in their lifetime.I suggest that a child go to school for one semester and work a semester, alternating so that the funds they make when they’re working will help pay for college. Not only will they understand the value of their schooling, but they will have a deeper appreciation for that college education!
Church, it is my heart to have an educated congregation and one that makes Biblically sound decisions. What will you implement in your own debt journey?