Update: You can read our entire debt-free story here.
Last week, I started this series with a post about the discouragement of debt, and a prelude to our debt-free plan. I’ve had many people wondering why we would want to work so hard at getting out of debt, when most of our society is working hard to get into it. It’s pretty much accepted these days that consumer debt is a necessary part of life, but that is a fallacy. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way.
The Bible tells us to work hard and earn what we have. But our society tells us the opposite. That we “deserve” everything we want, and that we are entitled to get it right now before the hard work. But that’s not what the Bible tells us.
God advises us against debt.
As Christians, I believe our first place to look for advice or direction should be God’s word. God speaks a lot to us about debt. Proverbs 22:26 says very clearly, “Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts;” It goes on to say in verse 27 that if you can’t pay, then your very bed will be snatched from under you.
Debt is bondage.
The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 7:23, “You were bought at a price, therefore do not become slaves of men.” We’re told in Proverbs 22:7 that a borrower is servant or slave to the lender. Yes, that verse was speaking of a different time, but the idea behind it is still true today–by having debt, we are willingly allowing ourselves to be in a type of bondage. You can read a couple of well-written articles that sum up this connection as I see it, here and here. If we are in debt, then the things God wants to bless us with aren’t ours anymore. We are willingly giving it up. We get ahead of God’s blessing and take what He hasn’t yet given us. And we pay for it big time in the long run.
Debt is usually motivated by covetousness.
We get in debt to buy something that we cannot afford. Because we want more stuff, better stuff, more convenient stuff, prettier stuff. Christ tells us in Luke 12:15 to “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Read a more in depth article about this here.
Let me say right here that I know there are legitimate reasons for debt. Medical bills can be unavoidable, and unforeseen circumstances can happen. But, when we get in debt, I believe (with more and more certainty) that the best thing we can do is to get out of it as quickly as possible, even if it means letting go of things for a little while.
Debt is a waste of money!
Do you have any idea how much interest you have paid over the last few years? If you have debt at all, you’d probably be surprised. Over the course of the first 5 years of our home loan, we’ve paid approximately $23,000 in house payments. Our principal amount has lessened by about $6,700. That is over $16,000 in interest paid! If we are successful in our debt-free plan to get out of debt in 6 years, we will save over $40,000 in interest. That is a lot of God’s money that we can use for His good and glory.
We need to honor God with our Finances.
We believe that God has promised to meet our worldly needs. He may not always meet our wants, but he calls us to “be content with such things as you have,” in Hebrews 13:5. Going into debt (or even staying in debt) in order to eat at fancy restaurants instead of cooking in, to get nicer clothes, a bigger house, newer cars…that is not following God’s desire for us to be content with what we have. That is coveting other things and going out to get them, even against God’s will and advice as set forth in His word.
I’m really excited about getting into the meat of this series.
(Disclaimer: I am NOT a financial advisor. I am just a mom with a family living on a single income and I want to encourage others that it is possible to live on a tight budget and still have your needs met and be content…and get out of debt! I really hope that our personal budget information will help someone.)