Series: Breaking the Cycle of Debt
Sun 15 September 2019 – Johan Esterhuizen
Deut. 7:1-2; (Num. 13:23); Matt. 6:21; Prov. 21:20; (Mark 12:17); Eccl. 5:7; Prov. 21:17; (Luke 16:10); Ps. 37:21; (Deut. 14:23); Prov. 3:9-10; Mal. 3:10; 1 Cor. 16:2; Prov. 18:12; Prov. 20:18; Heb. 13:5; Gal. 6:9
I just want to recap the four principles I shared last time. 1. You have to work hard, and work is a blessing. 2. Live on less then you make. 3. Get out of debt and 4. Live by a plan. A budget is not something you put in your top drawer and forget about it. A budget is something you live by. It is God’s plan and purpose for you and I to only have one debt and that is the debt of love. When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, Who will cast them out? The Lord! The principle is that the victory is ours but the battle is the Lord’s when you apply what he is done (Deut. 7:1-2). Why? The Promised Land was operated by a system that is not according to God’s governance and he did not want the children of Israel to follow this form of governance.
The Promised Land is the land where milk and honey flow and where the pomegranates grow (Num. 13:23). Why is the Promised Land not the land of the Hittites or the Girgashites but is often referred to as the land of Canaan. Canaan means finances. Remember the seven nations represent seven systems that rule the world and if ever we have seen in our country the Canaan spirit ruling and reigning it is now. The Hebrew word for Canaan means ‘merchant’, ‘trader’, ‘trafficker’ and also ‘to be humbled and brought low’, ‘under subjection’. It means zealous. Together when you put these two pictures together you get greed and poverty. The Canaan spirit is designed to bring greed and poverty. Sometimes it brings finances, and financial euphoria, but it is for a moment. This is the spirit that is ruling and reigning but it does not have to rule and reign in our hearts.
How do you change a country? By changing the family! It starts with you and remember the principle, when David slew Goliath everybody benefited. When you slay the Goliath in your life your Oikos group is going to win. The Canaan spirit is opposed to the way the Lord operates. He is Jehovah Jireh the Lord that sees ahead and provides. When we live under the Lord’s banner, we live under the Lord’s provision; we live under the Lord’s system.
The word of God is extremely practical. God’s word pinpoints the very essence and in the battles we find it gives the answers. More is said in the word of God about finances then any other subject and we do not want to talk about money in the Church. We have to become debt-free, there is nothing worse than wanting to give towards a program but you do not have the finances. It will take discipline and it will bring delayed gratification. It will take perseverance and most of all it will take character. Anybody can get out of debt but it takes character to get out of debt. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also (Matt. 6:21). Jesus says your heart follows your treasure. We often have to do certain things to get committed and as we get involved and put our heart into it, it starts to become part of us. That is why I believe with all my heart that God set the tithe. It is for us to get our lives in order, and it is the first fruit that we bring to the Lord.
Six danger signs that you are in debt: 1. You live on credit instead of paying cash. The lifestyle that you want is not supported by your salary, so you go into debt. 2. Delayed payments or paying the minimum, so the debt is growing because you paid the minimum. 3. If you are unable to tithe or save, it is a sign that you are in debt. The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get. (Prov. 21:20 NLT). 4. If you are try to swindle the taxman. Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s (Mark 12:17). There are two things you can be sure of, you are going to die and you are going to pay taxes. 5. Extravagant spending is a sign of getting into debt. He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich (Prov. 21:17). 6. Looking for the ‘get rich quick schemes’. If you cannot be faithful in the little then you cannot be faithful with much (Luke 16:10). For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God (Eccl. 5:7).
The seven principles of becoming debt-free: 1. Commit to becoming debt-free. Make a quality decision. A quality decision is a decision that you do not turn from. The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives (Ps. 37:21). If you do not pay your debts the Bible calls it wickedness because you are not paying the person or the institution you loan from. A good name is better than gold, and you do yourself damage as well. It will take discipline, delayed gratification, perseverance, and character to become debt-free. This is a lifestyle that you need to develop. 2. Start to pay God first and yourself second. So you tithe 10% and you pay yourself 10%. The purpose of the tithe is to teach you always to put God first in your life (Deut. 14:23; Prov. 3:9-10; Mal. 3:10; 1 Cor. 16:2). The 10% you pay yourself is your savings. 3. List everything that you own and owe. People do not like that because it is quite a sobering exercise. It is the interest that is the problem. What a shame—yes, how stupid!—to decide before knowing the facts! (Prov. 18:13). 4. Have a sale if there is equity in the things that you have stored away and you are not using them. Sell them and set up a repayment plan. If you have small accounts, go for the small account from your sale money, and settle it. 5. Now when you settle it, go to the next account and settle the next account. When you look again you will be paying off the big ones. 6. Ask for counsel or ask a family member but come up with a plan and start to pay it off. Don’t go ahead with your plans without the advice of others (Prov. 20:18). It is difficult but it is not complicated. 7. Once you set up this payment plan to get out of debt, do not make more debt. If you cannot afford it, do not buy it.
Three tips regarding a credit card. Number one, you must pay it every month. Number two; never buy something that you cannot afford. Three, if you have broken one of these two rules get rid of your credit card.
Living in debt is an attitude problem and the attitude problem is discontentment. Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have… (Heb. 13:5). The final point here is stick to it. And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up (Gal. 6:9). Perseverance is linked to the harvest; you do not plant seeds and keep on scratching to see what is going to happen. Stick to it, water it, God is the Lord of the harvest, you are going to have a harvest if you stick to it. Following these simple principles will help you become debt-free.
Is it not wonderful to become debt-free? It is becoming responsible and God wants us to be responsible. We have to be stewards of his manifold grace. You will not get out of debt simply by chance; you have to work at it.