These are notes taken from a sermon given by my pastor, Randy Nation as few months ago. These are mostly his words with some of my own added. His message was entitled “Debt or Freedom”. I call it “Who is your Master?”
Have you ever bought something you wished you had never bought? As most of us do at times we buy because get talked into things we think we need or should have. That happened to us a few years ago when we went on a vacation get-away for only $69. It sounded like a good deal. We went to beautiful Sedona. It was breath-taking. When we arrived, we were told we had to sit through a short sales pitch with no obligation to buy. Right! We left with a Time Share. They made us think this was something we must have and we were convinced. Bad mistake!
Yes, we used the time share points each year and had great family vacations. However, every time we arrived at our vacation resort we had to sit through another boring time consuming “update to our time share account”. Each time they tried to talk us into upgrading to a bigger and better time share. Of course we would say no thank you but received a free dinner coupon for our trouble. Also we received numerous sales calls at home – at least 3 a week wanting to rent our points, give us another free vacation because we were an owner, buy our time share, or something. This was very aggravating and they would not stop! I think our time share people put our names on a list and all these calls were from others who wanted to benefit from a sucker like us. Also, did I mention we had yearly maintenance fees that went up every year? My advice is NEVER BUY A TIME SHARE!!
Several times we tried to sell it, but all the companies seem to be a scam. They all wanted money to try to sell it for us. Finally, we did sell it and took a huge lose. I guess we learn by our mistakes.
What is debt?
Debt is not a tool – People say it’s a way to use other people’s money.Debt can be an idol – An idol is where we spend our energy. Our credit card can be our idol.
Debt plays to our weaknesses – We don’t have self-control. We are a slave to our Master Card.
Debt is our master – we can’t say “no”.
The world says we are who we hang out with, where we live, what kind of car we drive, etc. We want to keep up a good appearance so we buy what we want when we want it. Proverbs 22:7 – “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
There are 2 kinds of slavery: (1) Imposed – we didn’t volunteer; (2) Selective – we volunteered to be under someone. This is what we’ve done. We sacrifice our family for debt by arguing about money, worrying about money, and working more to pay on the debt. Instead of saying, “Do I need this or how much does it cost?” we say, “Can I afford the payments?” Debt is a cruel master.
Do you serve God or Money? The Bible says we cannot serve two masters. 1 Timothy 6:10 – “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.” There is freedom in Christ. Which master do you serve? Credit cards are deceptive. When you make a purchase, they don’t remind you will get a bill at the end of the month. It’s liked being chained up. It controls you like a weight around your neck. Believe me there is grief when there is debt.
There are 4 aspects of debt: (1) Mentally it says I will never be free. (2) Physically says I desire it. (3) Emotionally says it will make me happy. (4) Spiritually it says God isn’t taking good care of me. People want to give more generously to others, but there are tied up financially and mentally.
We need to wait on God if we can’t afford something. The average family debt is $8,000 – $15,000. After paying the interest, you’ve paid it back 3 times over. Americans have an average of 3 ½ credit cards. The divorce rate is 52% and divorce in the first 7 years of marriage is 90%, because of money.
What can you do?
Romans 13:7-8 says “Give everyone what you owe him: 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, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” So bankruptcy is not the answer. One debt you won’t have to pay is the debt you owe Christ. What happened to that? The debt of sin had to be paid and Jesus paid it for you. You can’t pay that debt, because God is good!
We could be victorious and do something about it. 1 John 4:4 – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” We have freedom in Christ. He paid our debt and will help us manage our finances, if we will let Him. Just say “I will do something about this” and ask God to help you. How can you fail? He will give you strength and wisdom. Why is it important? You can give to people in need and spend your money on whatever you want. We own him our allegiance. Allow God’s Holy Spirit to control us. That’s the master we want.
There is also Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University which is usually is offered in churches for a small fee. Dave also has many books on the subject of debt and how to get out of it. He teaches you exactly what debt is, how to get out of it, how to make a budget, how to save money and how to build wealth.
We need to be content with what we have. Contentment is real financial freedom. “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…” – Hebrews 13:5. Jesus talked more about money that He did heaven or hell. There are over 700 verses that talk about money in the Bible. Financial freedom is found as you apply the biblical principle of work, investing, budgeting and avoiding debt in your life. Every financial decision is a spiritual decision and obedience in giving to God helps us remember to keep God first in our finances. It’s not our money; it all belongs to God. Make Him your master.