By Rubel Shelly
FoodForThought - InJesus.com
The inability to handle money is as much a spiritual problem as one's mishandling of alcohol. It may even be more socially respectable. After all, let somebody mention "living paycheck to paycheck" or confess "being in debt up to my eyeballs" and somebody will likely laugh and say, "Let me tell you the mess I'm in. You won't believe this..." Is fiscal irresponsibility really so trivial?
According to the Nilson Report, Americans are using their credit cards quite freely. The average cardholder's outstanding balance is $4,400 -- up 123 percent in a decade which saw personal income rise a smaller 72 percent. (Since most households have more than one credit card, $4,400 may not be a fair estimate of total family debt on high-interest credit cards!) The United States government recently reported that personal savings have fallen to the lowest monthly level in our history. Meanwhile, more and more state governments are pumping money into TV ads to ask citizens to buy lotto tickets. It's bizarre, don't you think?
Maybe debt is the "respectable addiction" of this generation. Credit card companies mail out an estimated 3.3 billion credit card solicitations per year.
Tension rooted in debt will set you against your mate. It will distract you from your children. It will disrupt your spiritual life and become a barrier between you and God.
The Bible says: "Don't run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other" (Romans 13:8).
Sell an asset or create an extra stream of income to pay off the debt you already have. You'll be amazed by just writing down every dime you spend for a few weeks -- and eliminating the foolish and unnecessary impulse buying that drains so many pocketbooks.
Believe it or not, abusing credit is sinful -- just like abusing alcohol. And it is a spiritual victory to ask and receive God's help in bringing it to an end.
In these hard times, people should learn to save and limit their spending to only what are needed or necessary. Rainy days are here already. There is right time to spend more, but now is not it. Now is the time to save and conserve. Let go of the temptation to overspend. Pay in cash as much as possible and get rid of your credit cards if necessary.
As one TV evangelist said, "After the Lord frees you from the sinful credit card addiction, you need to do plastic surgery. Get yourself a sharp pair of surgical scissors and cut those debt-binding plastic cards into fine pieces!"
Consider honoring the Lord with the tenth portion of what you earn, and watch how He will honor (with multiplied blessing) your act of worship to Him by your obedience.