How to Start the Climb out of Debt
By By Rick Warren
Don’t withhold repayment of your debts” (Proverbs 3:27 TLB).
God makes it abundantly clear in the Bible how he feels about debt: “Don’t withhold repayment of your debts” (Proverbs 3:27 TLB). Romans 13:8 says, “Let no debt remain outstanding” (NIV). God declares the same wisdom that most of us have intuitively: Debt is not a good thing.
When we look at where we are right now, most of us would be willing to pay as we go if we could just finish paying for where we’ve been. But God wants you to repay what you owe so he can bless you in your finances. In order to do that, you’ve got to commit to do it, and then you’ve got to have a plan to do it.
First, you have to commit to do it. You’ve probably noticed that it’s easy to coast into debt. You don’t even have to think about it. But you cannot coast out of debt. You’ve got to make a U-turn and start a long climb back up the hill. That requires a tough decision and a commitment to the time and discipline it will take to get out of debt.
It’s easy to feel alone in this uphill climb. But God knows right where you are! He understood this was going to happen a long time ago. He wants to help you with your problems, to strengthen you through your problems, and to grow you in the midst of your problems. He is with you in this challenge. You are not alone.
First you make a commitment, and then you make a plan.
Having a plan is essential. Getting out of debt is a step-by-step, day-by-day task. And it involves a word that most people hate: discipline. It means not doing this, not buying that, resolving to do this, deciding not to do that. The Bible says in Proverbs 21:5, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (NLT).
If you’re in debt, don’t ignore this warning from the Bible: Watch out for hasty shortcuts. If you’re in debt, you’re in pain and you want to get out of pain as quickly as possible. So you’re extremely prone to this temptation.
Don’t go after hurried shortcuts. Look for God’s plan. Make a commitment to the plan, and decide that you’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish your goals.
Imagine where you could be in a year if you took diligent steps to be free of debt. Then, resolve to take those steps every day, relying on God’s wisdom and grace to do the hard thing.
PLAY today’s audio teaching from Pastor Rick >>
Talk About It
If you were not in debt right now, what would be different about your life?
Imagine where you want to be in a year when it comes to your finances. What will you have to do every day to reach that goal?
Why do most people hate the idea of discipline when it comes to finances?
Rejoice and exult in hope; be steadfast and patient in suffering and tribulation; be constant in prayer.
— Romans 12:12 (AMPC)
Judged and Criticized
Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful Devotional - by Joyce Meyer
No matter what we do in life, at some point in time we will all face a level of criticism. But it is possible to learn how to cope with criticism and not let it affect your life.
We can be grateful for the example the apostle Paul set for us. Paul experienced criticism often, but he said that he was not concerned about the judgment of others. He knew he was in God’s hands and that in the end he would stand before God and give an account of himself and his life. He would not stand before any man to be judged (see 1 Corinthians 4:3–4).
You may not always do everything right, but God sees your heart. If you’re attempting to live for God and looking for ways to love others, God is pleased (see Matthew 22:37–40). Don’t worry about the criticism of others; God loves you. His love and approval are all you need.
Prayer Starter: Father, I thank You that I don’t have to listen to the criticism of others. You see my heart and You know my motives. I thank You that Your approval is greater than the approval of any person. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
James 1:5 NIV