Before we start trying to get of debt, we must first, establish our foundation. We need to make God our foundation. Matthew 7:24-27 tells us to build our house on the rock. The rock is God. When we have Him as our foundation, we can withstand storms. In our case, a solid foundation about money will help us weather financial storms.
Secondly, we need to change our way of thinking. We currently say, “my home, my family, my job, my savings, etc”. However, we don’t own anything.
God owns it all.
Psalms 24:1 says, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
Haggai 2:8 — ” ‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.”
So, if we don’t own anything, what does that make us? It makes us stewards. The word steward is not used much anymore. You might have heard it at church. A steward is merely a manager not an owner. As God’s stewards, we are entrusted with what we call “mine” for only the short period of time that we are on this earth. When we die, God entrusts what we call “ours” to someone else.
Now that we know we don’t own anything; we start learning how to manage God’s money.
There are only four things we can do with money.
- Save it.
- Spend it.
- Give it away,
- Hoard it.
In America today, an alarming trend has developed. We have flip-flopped savings and debt. We have increased debt and decreased savings. Whereas before, we had increased savings and low debt.
In order to turn that around, we need to look back to Genesis 41:17-32. It is the interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream given to Joseph by God. God told Joseph to save up in the seven years of abundance, so that they could make it through the seven years of famine. We too need to save a portion of what we earn to provide for the times of need.
God also shows us this by pointing us to the ants.
Proverbs 6:6-8 – Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest.
The ants save without having to be told by any authority to save. They provide for themselves during the summer, so that they can have food in the winter.
Today, we are very different from Joseph and these ants. We have become so accustomed to debt that we don’t buy a car without taking out a loan. We don’t think about buying a house without a mortgage. We don’t think about getting our children through college without student loans. We no longer think about saving for cars, homes, education. Credit has made it too easy to be a slave.
Most Americans don’t save. The primary reason for decreased savings is we are overspending. We are paying for today’s wants and desires with tomorrow’s money. We’d rather buy the latest iPad, flat screen TV, or car than save. Most people are like our government. They have deficit spending. However, unlike the government, they cannot print new money or issue bonds. The only thing to do is shift our priorities and save.
Our mindsets have become so ingrained in thinking that debt is normal. We think nothing of using our credit cards or home equity loans or payday loans to get us through to the end of the month. We don’t even think about saving for what we want.
Saving money is being content with what you have. We need to be like the Apostle Paul and learn to be content in our situation. He learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether he was in want or in plenty.
Philippians 4:11-13, says – “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”
You need to realize that it is more important for you to have savings than stuff. It’s more important to be able to retire comfortably, to send your children to college, and to have financial stability than to have stuff.
Who should save? If you earn money, you should save. The average person in America is three weeks away from bankruptcy. Most are living paycheck-to-paycheck. In fact, 82% of middle-income Americans say there is not much money left over to save after they have paid their bills. This is an alarming statistic. It means that eight out of ten middle income Americans do not save.
Why is it important to save? You should save emergencies. You need to start building an emergency fund because emergencies are inevitable!
What happens when you need to replace your tires; do repairs on your car; repair or replace one of your major appliances; or pay a doctor’s bill? If you don’t have an emergency fund, you are going to reach for the credit card and say, “Charge it.” This leads you into debt or into deeper debt.
When you don’t have an emergency fund, you are setting yourself up for being in debt.