“Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7
Consider what it may be like a few weeks from now…the shopping is done, the presents unwrapped, the joy of gift-giving experienced and now you are faced with…the credit card bill.
Many Americans head in to Christmas with very little, if any, savings and the feeling of obligation to buy Christmas gifts for everyone in their lives despite the lack of money available. The easy availability of credit cards often results in the stress of paying off the debt as we head into the New Year and then start all over as Christmas approaches again.
God has a better way. The principles in the Bible have worked for generations. Let’s take a look:
1. Commit to no new debt. Galatians 5:1 says, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Debt can be enslaving, but we do not need to submit to this slavery if we have the Spirit of Christ in us. Go before the Lord in prayer and commit to avoiding debt for, at the minimum, the next three months. No more credit cards. No more store cards. No new debt. If necessary, put the cards in a place where they will be difficult to retrieve.
2. Commit to save. Proverbs 21:20 says, “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets.” Move away from the false belief there is no money to save. The large majority of Americans have more disposable income (money you do not have to spend) than they think. Begin to consider how to save now for Christmas next year. After Christmas is over, review what you just spent, divide it by twelve months and this is what is needed to save every month for next Christmas. If you are unable to set aside this much, do what you can. If necessary, open a separate savings account at your bank or credit union for Christmas deposits.
3. Commit to a spending plan. The Bible tells us that God is the owner of all things including our money (Psalm 24:1; Haggai 2:8) and we are His stewards or managers (Psalm 8:6). As manager of God’s possessions, we have been entrusted to follow His ways. One practical way of doing this is to always ask this question before you spend money: “God, this is your money and not mine. You have entrusted it to me to use the way you want me to. Is this what you want me to do with this money?” Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” I can promise you, if you sincerely ask God to show you how He wants you to use His money, He will.
Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” In this New Year, commit to accumulate no new debt, to save and to a spending plan by acknowledging God in His rightful place as Owner. With these few changes, you may experience a different Christmas than in previous years.