The folly and pains of debt
Text: Romans 13:7-8.
In the last two weeks, the Lord has been opening our eyes into His word through this series from Romans Chapter 13, especially verses 7 and 8, as we considered the first two topics “OWE NO MAN” and “THE LOVE DEBT.” Today, as we round off the series, we shall consider deeply the issue of debt using the topic, “THE FOLLY AND PAINS OF DEBT.” Is there anyone here who has never fallen into debt?
I had fallen into debt before and I will share with you. My first major debt was in the year 2001, when I was pastor of Amazing Grace Baptist Church, Ilupeju. My debt came as a result of disobedience to divine instructions, thinking I was smarter than God. I got into a debt that was more than my annual salary package. But the Lord saw my foolishness, had mercy on me and rescued me, as the valley of my debt was filled. From my experience, it could be stated that majority of men’s indebtedness is due to man’s foolishness or errors. As many who are going through same, may the Lord save you. Amen.
• Understanding The Menace Called Debt
There is an argument, today, as to whether a debt can be good or bad. This description is not in line with the Accountants/Bankers categorisation that says a bad debt is the one the creditor can no longer reclaim. Good debt actually refers to debts that make one’s life better, while bad debt refers to those that make one’s situation worse. There are certain businesses that only borrowing can help one to expand. Good debt is exemplified in the old adage that says, “It takes money to make money.” If the debt you take helps you to generate income and increase your net worth; that can be considered a good debt. Therefore, the good debts are money borrowed for
• Business/Investment Purposes
• Technical or College Education
• Real Estate/Home Ownership
Bad Debts, on the other hand, are money borrowed to Purchase depreciating assets. Borrowing to buy a new car, when you can only afford used one, clothes, consumable services, pleasure travels parties etc. Nevertheless, debt is-
• A FOLLY- Especially the bad debts. It often comes out of the desire/temptation to live above your means. This leads us to what makes people incur debts. Some of them are Medical Problems, Poor Spending Habits, Bad Money management, Underemployment, Loss of Employment, Buy Now Pay Later Syndrome, Overspending and Trying to Belong. In this age of fake status on Facebook, you need to be very careful of imitating people you see. In an attempt to meet up or trying to belong, you may suffer the pains of debt.
• PAINFUL- Debt definitely comes with pains. To be in debt exposes us to defraud others of their just due. It also robs the debtor of his independence and not infrequently of his moral principle. (Prov. 22:7) Unfortunately, members of the debtor’s family are not left out of the pains. Debts subject the debtor to great sacrifices.
• The Way Out-
The Bible is very clear: indebtedness is unfavourable to the Christian life. God’s promise to His people is that they shall lend and not borrow. (Dt. 15:6, 28:12) Living in debt, therefore, is in direct opposition to God’s command and perfect will.
To live a debt free life therefore,
• Live within your income. Avoid luxury you cannot afford.
• Cut off all Unnecessary Expenses.
• Be Diligent in Business and incur no liabilities.
• Be wary of Speculation and Artifice
• Practise the Economy of the Kingdom. Earn all you can, give God His portion generously and spend within your means. Frugality is not a work of the flesh.
It is a great deception to think time will solve the pains of debt. No matter how long you are given to pay up, the day of payment will definitely come. Let me conclude with few suggestions I gave in my book “Your Pathways to Undeniable Blessings.” To stay out of debt, don’t give loan you cannot write off; be wary in standing as surety. (Prov. 22:26-27) Do not cultivate the habit of borrowing. Let it be a matter of last resort. If you need to borrow, let it be for the purpose of investment i.e. something that you know can bring you genuine returns. When you borrow, make every effort to pay back. Don’t look for debt forgiveness or begin to pray that your creditor will forget or die, so that your debt might be forgotten. (Psalm 37:21) Debt does not only rob you of your peace and freedom, it also transfers your destiny/fortune. No matter what your case is, God is still in the habit of delivering His people from the pit of hell. He did it in the Bible. He has done it for others, including me, and I believe He will do it for you. Are you ready to cooperate with Him and let Him deliver you? Surrender to Him today. Shalom.
Rev. Dr Israel Kristilere, Shepherdhill Baptist Church, (Sanctuary of Grace & Glory), Baptist Academy Compound, Obanikoro, Lagos.
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