Summary: Don't let debt be the source of stress in your life or family.

I. Introduction

--Are you drowning in debt? Can suck the life out of you. Steal joy and rob peace. Here’s an interesting statistic: Total consumer debt in the US stands at $12.84 trillion. The average American household carries a total debt of $137,063. The US is quickly becoming a debtor nation! Causes stress at work, stress with the kids and stress with the spouse. Debt causes stress, and stress is bad.

--Perhaps that’s why Jesus spent so much time talking about money

--5 times more passages dealing with money than with prayer.

--He knew money could steal our joy.

II. How did we get that way?

--Have to answer this question first, b/c to change the situation we have to change the behavior that got us that way.

Five critical mistakes…

1. Overestimating the value of wealth

If I could just have a little more, then I would be happy.

Proverbs 22:1

Choose a good reputation over great riches, for being held in high esteem is better than having silver or gold.

Proverbs 23:4-5

Don't weary yourself trying to get rich. Why waste your time?

For riches can disappear as though they had the wings of a bird!

# of self-storage unit businesses in 1960? 0

# of self-storage unit businesses in 2015? 58,000 @ $22 billion/year

2. Instant gratification

Maturity the ability to postpone pleasure…

We want things and we want them now, so we use credit cards and debt…and the government takes its cue from us, or we take our cue from the government.

That was the life we lived early in our lives. Credit cards ruled the day, we went into credit counseling…paid it off, but we paid the price…We learned the lessons.

Impulse buying—can you say “upside down”?

3. Self-destructive behavior

Luke 15:13

"A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and took a trip to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money on wild living.”

The high cost of sin…we trade an ounce of pleasure for a pound of pain later…

Cigarettes $6.00/day X 365 days = $2,190/year

Cigarettes the cheapest of the behaviors we indulge in—alcohol, pornography

According to, gamblers lost 116.9 billion in 2016

Americans purchase lottery tickets to the tune of $300/year per adult…twice as much as the average person gives to charity.

4. Spending more than you have

Skit of SNL “Don’t Buy Stuff You Can’t Afford”

It used to be that everybody knew the rule… “Don’t spend what you don’t have”

Credit card offers in the mail are keeping the US Post Office afloat

5. Being unprepared for bad times

Newsweek reported in a recent article that the savings rate in America was now a negative number…something like -1.2%.

Pray our way out to pay our way out! We’re “making change.” Change comes through prayer. If prayer changes nothing else, prayer changes me…

Three simple prayers…

1. Lord, give me self-control

Like the couple in the skit…we don’t know how we got into it, and we don’t want to acknowledge that we are in it, but…

Proverbs 22:7

Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.

When we sign up for debt, we sign up for slavery. It steals our joy.

Learn to say “no” for a little while, so we can say “yes” for the rest of our lives…

2. Lord, give me understanding

Life is filled with decisions…to go to school, to get married, to take a certain job, to have children, to follow Christ…

--to get out of debt, you have to decide, then develop a plan

--it’s called a budget.

3. Lord, give me a plan…

Proverbs 21:5

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.

Not like the guy’s whose plan was every time he got overwhelmed he went to the Post Office, filled out a change of address, and quit getting his bills.

We may wander into debt, but we will not wander out…

Dave Ramsey’s plan:

a) Stop spending

b) As quickly as possible raise $1,000 for an emergency fund

c) Start a debt snowball

d) Build your emergency fund to 3-6 months living expenses

e) Start an investment fund—Roth IRA, 401(K), whatever

Developing a plan is imperative to saving your marriage…

Finances are the number 1 reason for divorce…either because we can’t agree on money, or we don’t communicate about money…

Hebrews 13:5

Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,

"I will never fail you.

I will never forsake you."

We will be faithful to our God, because he's been faithful to us. He gave us his son Jesus that we could live eternally, therefore our only reasonable response is to give our whole lives back to him. What do we know? God, you blessed us with gifts. You blessed us with income. You blessed us with resources. They do not belong to us. They are from you. Therefore, God, we will honor you, being faithful with what you've given to us, even if we messed up a lot in the past. We thank you that you are forgiving, and a redeeming God. Therefore, God, give us self-control. Give us understanding. Give us a plan, in which we can honor you. God, one day we believe with all of our hearts we won't be in bondage to anything in this world. Just as Jesus sets us free from spiritual bondage, you will set us free from material bondage, and we will live radically generous all along the way, because you are a good God, who gave Jesus so we could know you and live forever. May we live in a way, today, God, that truly honors you.

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