Summary: This message focuses on the fact that debt enslaves us...
Happy New Year everyone... What if I could grant you one wish this next year? Health? Family?
Some of you might just say, “Money.” With the current economic crunch, Money is a topic that’s on everyone’s mind. Last year this time it was energy, because the price of gas was through the roof - but can you believe its back to under $1.50 for a gallon of gas?
The truth is that for most of us, 2009 would be a great year if we could learn to handle our finances better. Regardless of how much you make, or what you bring in annually, figuring out what to do with your money is very important. I think its not only important to you as a person, but I think its also something that is important to God!
The bible talks a lot about money. Jesus talked a lot about money. ...and its been said that preachers talk a lot about wanting your money! But if we are honest, the bible isn’t generally our primary source for deciding what to do with our money and how to decide things relating to money. In fact, we all have myths about money.
Myths like: If I had more money, I would be happier - or this is my money - or money can bring me security. These myths, if we are not careful, override whatever God says and if we let myths run our money then we end up all out of whack.
So for a while this new year - we are going to do some myth-busting... This morning, we look at a biggy: Debt.
How many of you have debt on these things? (You don’t have to raise your hands)
How many of you have debt on your home? ...pretty common - but one thing thats really surprising is how many people never pay off their home debt. With home improvement loans and the like, its become really common to take out loans on the equity in your home.
How many of you have debt on your vehicle? ...there is no better feeling than paying off a car loan! My motto is the best car is a “paid off car.”
How many of you have debt on Credit Cards? ...the average american family has anywhere from $2000-$8000 in Credit Card debt. Credit cards are almost impossible to do without, and they are incredibly convenient. if you pay them off every month, they can be okay - but its very easy to get behind. When Dana and I started having kids we got real behind on a credit card. We were able to pay the minimum, but we were spending like crazy, and the hole just kept on getting deeper. The danger with a credit card is that its really hard to notice how much you are actually spending...
How many of you have debt on furniture?
How many of you have debt on Medical expenses?
Here’s the truth about debt - it traps you and it binds you.
The difference between someone who has debt and someone who owns everything free and clear is one word - Freedom! When you don’t have any debt, you have a tremendous amount of freedom! On the other hand, when you are is debt, you are a slave to someone.
That’s exactly what Proverbs 22:7 talks about... “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” I really like the way the Todays New International translates this verse “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”
The difference between being in debt and out of debt is freedom. When you owe someone money you are really a slave to that debt.
Think about this for a second - who controls you? Most of us want to say, “well, God controls me - I do whatever he wants me to do” But if you are in debt up t your eyeballs, does God really have control? Can you really give something if you were asked to give?
I had a friend this past year that went through a rough patch. he had some medical bills that were piling up and his insurance wouldn’t pay for an experimental treatment. I felt like God wanted Dana and I to help and so we talked it over, and we helped out “with what we could.” The truth is that we couldn’t really help as much as we would have liked because we our money is obligated to other things! Now mind you, we are not hugely in debt - but any debt ties you up and binds you and enslaves you...
So what do we do?
Decide to get out of debt. That seems like such a basic, simple thing - but trust me, the biggest decision is the first decision. You have to want to get free of debt. Once you decide to get out of debt there will be changes that need to occur - but if you have not decided to get out of debt, you will never make it.