Debt Is Not Forever

by Khaleef Crumbley on January 29, 2015

in Debt Management

I have talked to hundreds of people about the topic of debt and their plans to pay it off. The one thing that I have found is common among most of them (probably 95%) is the belief that they will be in debt until they die, and all they can do for now is manage it.

I cringe every time I hear that type of thinking, because it implies that you are fine with living as a slave to your creditors with no hope of escape!

Debt Is Not Forever

My wife and I have been greatly impacted by our debt. I know what it’s like to feel like this is a normal part of life, but it isn’t. There are many reasons why I hate the attitude that our lives should be funded by debt and we shouldn’t work to get out of it, but here are three that really hit home for me.

Debt is not Forever

The Purpose Of Debt

The main purpose of debt is generally to buy something that you can afford, but don’t have the money at the moment. For example, let’s say that you have to buy groceries on Monday but you don’t get paid until Friday. A “good” (obviously, this is somewhat subjective) use of debt would be to buy your normal groceries on Monday using a credit card, and then paying that amount back on Friday when you get paid. Of course, there are other ways to handle this (moving money from savings would be ideal), but you get my point.

Another responsible reason that people go into debt is for an investment. If you are fairly certain that the rate of return on an investment will be greater than the rate of borrowing, then taking on debt in order to make or increase an investment may make sense.

The idea of investment doesn’t just mean stocks and bonds, but it also can mean an education, healthcare, or anything else where the return is greater than the cost of the debt.

Because of the short-term and strategic nature of debt, it is inconsistent with sound financial living to stay in debt for life, being satisfied with losing money month after month. Therefore, debt is not forever!

[Learn 4 benefits of using credit cards!]

The Bondage Of Debt

I’ve written before about the terrible bondage/slavery associated with debt. I am not able to do most things that I want to because of the cloud of debt which hangs over my head. Because so much of our paycheck goes toward debt repayment, we can’t just fly down to visit my wife’s parents whenever we want, for instance.

We would love to have a 2nd car so that my wife could take care of things and/or visit people during the day, but our master (debt) won’t let us. The same is true about our giving to church, investing, and even building up our business – we want to be free to pursue our ambitions/convictions in these areas, but then ‘Massa Debt’ tells us NO!

Because being in debt can, in many ways, be compared to being imprisoned or enslaved, it is unwise to take a cavalier approach to borrowing and owing money. To go through life never knowing the joy of financial freedom is a fate that many people accept, but you don’t have to be one of them! Tell yourself that debt is not forever!

The Testimony Of Debt

Even though a large amount of Americans have debt and many accept it as a normal, unavoidable part of life, they still look down on someone who has it. A person with massive debt often appears to be irresponsible, lazy, and undisciplined.

Oftentimes, it isn’t even a deliberate association, but more of a deep-rooted subconscious thought. Having debt – especially for a long period of time – makes it seem as though you are immature, and unable to fight the impulse to spend money that you don’t have.

Because of this, people with long-term (or excessive when compared to income) debt are turned down for financial opportunities, employment, and even places to live. You don’t want to live your life with that stigma hanging over your head. That’s why we have to live life as if debt is not forever!

What About You?

  1. What is your attitude concerning debt? Can you honestly say that debt is not forever?
  2. Are you prepared to live the rest of your life in debt or are you fighting to pay it off?
  3. If you have paid off your debt, what were some of the things you did to change your mindset?

This post is part of the debt is not forever movement started by Jackie at the Debt Myth. She is also holding a giveaway through the end of the month, so make sure you head over and tell her why you want to get out of debt, for a chance to win!

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With the beginning of a new year, the internet is a-buzz with resolutions about saving money and getting out of debt. We have a few of our own goals, and since our savings challenge went well last year, we are doing it again this year with a few changes.

As Christians, we share a lot on this site about finance from a Biblical perspective. We believe the Bible has answers for many of the financial situations people find themselves in, and that God’s desire is for us to have a healthy relationship with money as a resource, while not allowing the love of it to take root in our hearts (1 Timothy 6:10).

Bible Money

When we are weighed down by financial stress, or are singular-minded in our desire to overcome debt’s hold, it can become easy to focus on our own abilities or helplessness and forget that we have a heavenly Father who sees our situation, is in control of it, and actively involved in working it out for His glory!

I have to be reminded that my finances are not separate from anything else in my life, and certainly not separate from my spiritual life. The same Biblical truths that govern everything else, should apply to how I view my financial situation.

1. Remember That God Cares About Your Situation

Whether I’ve made made poor financial mistakes and gotten myself into a mess, or am doing well and trying to decide what to do with the surplus funds I am taking in – God cares! In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus reminds the people that our Heavenly Father knows what we need and that he will take care of us (Matthew 6:28-33). While we should (prayerfully) plan and be diligent, those things should not lead to unhealthy anxiety and worry. Whatever is out of our control can never be out of His!

We are not alone in our sea of financial concerns just as we are not alone in our relationships, in our problems, in our struggles with sin. As you consider your next step on your financial journey, remember Who is walking with you, and already has the future all mapped out.

2. Remember That God Has Given You the Ability to Be Content in Any Situation

Many Christians struggle with contentment: the inward state of satisfaction (regardless of the outer circumstances), yet that is what God wants from His children. Contentment does not equate to complacency or surrender, nor does it mean that you have to put on a pretense of joy in times of hardship.

In Philippians 4:11-13, Paul says, Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

In many places, including the passage above, the Bible exhorts us to look to Christ as the source of our strength and our joy. Your happiness shouldn’t be determined by whether you can afford a certain luxury, or pay off your student loan. Those things are nice, but the contentment in your heart should not be affected by them, not if the true source of your happiness is the Lord.

3. Remember That God Will Use Your Life For His Glory

One of my favorite passages, and one I’ve heard many times in my life is Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” It used to make me feel great because it meant that eventually things were going to be okay.

But there is more than just the first half of the sentence, the last part is equally important  “called according to His purpose”. Being a Christian means that my life is not my own, I follow and serve Christ. There are other passages that talk about the need for our focus to be on God and glorifying Him, like 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, or the end of the passage from the sermon on the Mount that I mentioned earlier – Matthew 6:33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you“.

Even though things may not happen in the time frame you’d like, or the way that you’d like them to turn out, remember that God’s plan for you is bigger than what you have for yourself. The things that we go through serve reasons that go beyond our temporal success or satisfaction. While we are alive, we are also being made holy, and sometimes that happens through trials (James 1:2-3). That is only one of many possible reasons,  we may never know the answer to until we meet the Lord.

As you go through your financial journey this year, whether with hope, gusto, or trepidation, please remember that God is your source. He is your strength, and your great reward.

Every Sunday I am blessed to look at this scripture on a banner in front of me during our service, and it is one I think of daily. I pray it will bless you also as you focus on God:

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight”.

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