Debt is a terrible master. It often promises seemingly good things to those who don't know it well, but becomes a terrible slave driver who haunts and drains people's security. We've got to learn how to be debt-free!
Proverbs 6:1-5 gives us stern warning about debt and the urgent need to free ourselves from its clutches:
"My child, if you have put up security for a friend's debt or agreed to guarantee the debt of a stranger — if you have trapped yourself by your agreement and are caught by what you said — follow my advice and save yourself, for you have placed yourself at your friend's mercy. Now swallow your pride; go and beg to have your name erased. Don't put it off; do it now! Don't rest until you do. Save yourself like a gazelle escaping from a hunter, like a bird fleeing from a net."
That's quite strong. Do you want to go out of debt and stay out of it? Here are a few things you can do to achieve a debt-free life.
1. Faithfully pay your debts until they're paid in full
Unless God would do a miracle and your lender cancels your debt, there's no other way to go around it but to actually pay it. I'll repeat that: We all have to pay our debts if we want to be debt-free.
The Lord Jesus said that we should "give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar" (see Matthew 22:21). If we owe someone an amount of money, we should pay it and not attempt to avoid it. Nope. If we ever succeed in avoiding Caesar, we still owe it to God to pay our debts. Thus, we should "give to God what belongs to God."
2. Be content with meeting your needs
By needs, I meant the basics: food, shelter and clothing. A brand-new smartphone with a data plan is not a need no matter what explanation anyone can give. The same is true with that brand-new car.
Paul told Timothy, "If we have enough food and clothing, let us be content" (see 1 Timothy 6:8). It would be wise to follow that, so that we could pay off our debts, and save money after paying them up.
3. Avoid the deadly sin of covetousness
Even if you've already paid up your debt, it's easy to stack another again. To help with that, it would be best to avoid the deadly and often draining sin of covetousness. To covet means "to desire what others have that you don't have." In other words, we need to stop keeping up with the Joneses.
When you see a friend using a new smartphone, tablet, laptop, or whatever device, praise God for the ability to live with joy in Christ even without those non-essentials. When you see another person wear a good-looking set of clothes as compared to yours, praise God for meeting your needs and for not allowing you to walk without clothes. Let us not be covetous!