Debt and the Christian Life
Debt is a tough subject for most to discuss. It is the biggest financial challenge facing Americans today. So, where does credit/debt fall in the life of a Christian? Is it a sin?
I wanted to take the time to share with you my views on debt from a spiritual perspective. In my book Deceptive Money I write about it in the last chapter which I refer to as the most important chapter. Here are a few thoughts to consider:
I believe that you should always pay back what you owe. Debt is a contractual and moral obligation that we make with someone. Whether or not we like the terms and conditions, at some point we did agree to them.
Paying off your debt takes your relationship with Christ to a whole different level. Working to become debt free creates a dependence on God. We learn to shift our priorities and it is only possible by coming back to a Matthew 6:24 life. It is the strength of that level of dependence that firms the foundation for a strong relationship. I have often said that it is debt that brings a person back to God.
If we are in debt, we are not as free as we can be to serve. We want to be 100% free to serve in our relationship with Christ. If we are not in a place where we can commit 100% of our time and attention to Christ, then we are a slave to man as it says in 1 Corinthians 7:23. We also want to be free to serve others as well. Debt always robs you of your freedom. It requires you to do things that you probably wouldn’t be doing given a debt-free life.
Christ doesn’t want obligations above the relationship with Him. If you are in debt, you are completely obligated. Until you get out of debt, it is hard to be in a place where you can give 100% of yourself. Debt can become something that develops a life of its own.
Debt problems can easily be created when we allow a Matthew 6:24 life to get out of balance. There comes a time when money is allowed to become a god. It is so easy to enjoy all of the immediate short-term gratifications that credit, the precursor to debt, can provide. The key is getting back into God’s financial will for your life. It is only there that you can start your road back to freedom.
Is debt a sin?
The Bible does not specifically say that debt is a sin. It is letting those things get out of control and get in the way of your relationship with Christ when it becomes the problem.
Money was written about or referenced more than anything else in the Bible (according to Crown Financial). God knew that we needed instruction on dealing with money. He knew that it would get in the way. Credit is a powerful tool of commerce. If used correctly, it can be a good prudent strategy in how we handle His money.
The key is using debt the right way. If you are going to borrow money, know how you are going to pay it back. Know without a doubt you are not making a commitment that will get in the way of your relationship with Christ. If you have debt, commit to a game plan where you can get out of it. Make the two objectives of your life to be freed from everything and dependent on Him.