There is one commercial that makes me laugh whenever I see it. The Lending Tree Man. You know the guy. He’s got the perma-grin, and a beautiful house, the wife, 2.5 kids, a new car, an in-ground swimming pool, and a big riding lawnmower. How did he do it all? “I’m in debt up to my ears…I can barely pay my finance charges…Someone help me.”
It is so funny to me because there is so much TRUTH wrapped up in that commercial.
Isn’t that alot like the church today? People are showing up to church, going through the motions, singing worship songs, listening to the sermon, attending bible studies. Doing it all with perma-grins. Finally, the Lending Tree guy lets out the TRUTH. He’s hurting, he’s desperate, HE NEEDS HELP. Lending Tree’s promise is a false, empty promise. They promise that if He would only hock the equity in his house, they would give him more debt, so he could pay off his other debts and then with the longer payment period, he might be able to afford the payments. That is until the credit cards get used again. He buys a new car. The kids go to college. Then he’s stuck with even more debt than he started with!
God’s answer is much better. He tells us to live a debt free life. (Rom 13:8)
- We first have to wipe off our perma-grins and start telling the TRUTH. We’re hurting and we need help. We are slaves to our debt and we can’t serve God effectively if we are enslaved to debt. (Prov. 22:7)
- Secondly, we need to pray. Ask for the Lords help and guidance in your journey towards being debt free.
- Establish a written budget. If you write it down, you can plan ahead and hold you accountable.
- List your assets – everything you own. Then give it to God. Back to our first principal. If you don’t own it, you won’t cleave to it.
- List you debts. If you don’t know how much you owe, how do you know how to plan?
- Create a debt-repayment schedule. To show progress, pay off smaller debts first, then add that payment to the next in line. A simple rule called the “Snowball Effect”.
- Earn more income – if you can. If there are opportunities to earn additional income, then do it. Apply the extra income to debt reduction.
- Don’t accumulate any new debt. This should go without saying any more.
- Be content with what you have. A budget is a good tool to help you learn to be content. Look at these three facts:
- The more television you watch, the more you spend.
- The more you look at catalogs and magazines or newspaper circulars, the more you spend.
- The more you shop, the more you spend. (duh!)
- Consider a radical change in your lifestyle. Some people have sold homes and lived in apartments, sold cars with large payments and purchased inexpensive used cars for cash. Just think of it as a temporary lowering of your cost of living to become free of debt.
- Do NOT give up! Satan will always try to tempt you with more things to buy. He will present hundreds of reasons why you don’t really need to be debt free. The important part is to remember – DO NOT GIVE UP.
One other thing that is equally important to all the above steps. Don’t be a stranger. As followers of Christ, we have a duty to help and support those around us. Always remember that we are here to love and care for each other. Wipe off the perma-grins, and be truthful and open with each other.