To Owe Is Slavery
Rather go to bed without dinner than to rise in debt.—Benjamin Franklin
How much money do you owe? Most Americans carry some debt, and that’s not including home mortgages. The stats are alarming. More to the point, how does your debt make you feel? Stressed? Suffocated? Enslaved? You’re not alone, brother! I believe we can all agree that debt is not our friend. Indeed, it’s an enemy. But knowing the enemy can better equip us to defeat it.
So let’s take a look at a few choice bits of wisdom about debt from God’s Word.
One: Debt is financial slavery
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7)
The very second you borrow money, you are burdened with an obligation to pay it back. And this obligation carries weight — it adds to your load. It means you’ve already spent money you don’t even have yet, and it’s defeating. Suddenly you’re having to add another item to your list of bills and then exercise the discipline to pay back a portion of it from every paycheck. Face it — you've become a slave. This is not the identity God wants for his man.
Two: We owe enough already
“Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.” (Romans 13:7)
It’s not a sin to have expenses. Every month we pay taxes, utility bills, insurance premiums, service fees, the list goes on. We owe substantial sums of money already without adding debt to the picture. Who needs that? Stop the insanity. You don't need another recurring payment that own's you.
Three: Debt is a sign you love something too much
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6:24)
Don’t fool yourself into believing that we actually can serve two masters. Isn’t it possible to rack up the debt and still put God first? Nope. Won’t happen. Debt is distracting. It’s bothersome. It occupies the mind and sort of shoves everything else aside. It doesn’t help that our culture encourages an attitude of entitlement and a mindset of instant gratification. Sure, it’s okay to look forward to a new purchase of some kind, but first we need to assign it the appropriate priority in our budget, save for it, and patiently wait for it until we can pay for it. It’s called “living within our means.” And sometimes after we’ve waited awhile, we realize we don’t really want or need this new thing after all. This is true most of the time.
Four: There is one debt you can owe
“Owe no one anything, except to love each other.” (Romans 13:8)
Love each other. Now there’s a debt we can afford and embrace. We owe it to our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers — indeed everyone in our circles of influence — to love them. Even those we find hard to love. It’s a debt God actually sanctions. In fact, He commands it. But in a very real sense, to love is more of an investment than a debt. The more we love, the more our capacity to love grows. So I guess the moral of the story is “Be free from debt and love freely.”
Final word: Whether or not you have any debt, seek God’s guidance to establish a budget and stick to it. Figure out how much of your monthly income you’ll need to spend for each budget item, and be disciplined about adhering to your plan. Be sure to give back to God first — your giving should top the list. And don’t add to your debt. Rather, whittle it down and whittle it down until there’s none left. Got more expenses than funds? Then cut back your spending wherever possible and increase your income. Not easy, I know, but it is that simple. Trust me. Better yet, trust God. Between you and Him, you’ve got this.
Vince Miller is an author and speaker to men around the world on topics that include manhood, masculinity, fatherhood, mentorship, and leadership. He has authored 18 different books for men and is hosted on major video platforms like RightNow Media and Faithlife TV. He hosts a weekly podcast, writes weekly articles, and provides daily thoughts from God's Word all just for men. He is a 27-year ministry veteran and the founder of Resolute a Men's Ministry Platform that provides bible studies aimed at building better men found at www.beresolute.org. See his latest book and small group study Called to Act: 5 Uncomplicated Disciplines for Men.