Destroying the Debt Cycle

Sam Petitfils

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”  Proverbs 22:7

Every once in a while, when I know I have goodies in the refrigerator, particularly those in the freezer section, my mind quickly wanders there.  The more I think about it, the more I want it.  Pretty soon, my feet follow, and I indulge.  After I indulge, I often remark to myself and others, “Now why did I do that?”

People do that when they know they have money to burn.  There it is on payday, and it’s there to spend.  No matter what they do, they think about it and what they’d like to buy.  As they keep thinking (and drooling) their feet soon follow; they’ve spent the money.

Many people live paycheck-to-paycheck because they have not learned the blessing of deferred gratification. They can’t seem to put spending off and have no plan for future needs.  Furthermore, they seem to fall into serious debt over and over again, and it becomes a serious cycle.

Destroying the debt cycle:

1. You don’t have to spend all your money.
Learn the blessing of waiting on God to determine if He has a different plan for your resources.

2. Don’t forget to tithe.
Among other reasons, tithing is one way God deals with selfishness.  When we give a tenth, God reminds us who gave us life, breath, food and shelter.  While some financial experts, even Christian ones, suggest “working yourself up to a tithe,” I have never followed that advice.  We should simply pay God first and do it promptly.

3. Put something away no matter what.
Putting money away for a rainy day or retirement is a good way to learn deferred gratification.  I truly believe that when we practice this, we will learn to think “long-term,” not just for the moment.  In fact, salvation is certainly a long-term plan.  We pledge our lives to Christ and forego the glories of this life for the next.  The only difference is the next life lasts forever.  Most long-term plans turn out better than the “spur of the moment” plans.

4. Abolish consumer debt in your household.
By “consumer debt,” I mean credit card debt used for things you quickly consume, or things that depreciate in value.  The biggest drawback to consumers is the high interest payments, sometimes exceeding 20 percent.

5. Submit to Christ’s Lordship in all of life.
We should not have “hidden zones” in our life where God is not invited.  When you invite Christ to be Lord of your finances, I can guarantee that He will ask you to make some painful changes.  But, as is true in all spiritual matters, blessing follows obedience.  God will ask you to abandon old ways of thinking and destructive habits.  He will teach you the blessing of generosity and He will also teach you how to depend on Him.  While change can bring about some discomfort, one day you will look back and say, “Why didn’t I turn it over to God sooner?”


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