Who do you trust to meet your needs? It’s easy to say that you trust in God, but if you habitually borrow money, your actions indicate that the truth may lie elsewhere.
The easiest way to tell who you trust is to examine what you do when you’re in need. God owns everything in the world, and He promises that He will provide everything that we need in life. But it’s sometimes difficult to trust in the unseen, especially when it would be easy to go get a loan from a bank to cover life’s shortfalls.
There are several problems with this. The first is that debt is financial slavery, and borrowing money does more financial harm to you and your family than good. The second problem is somewhat deeper: Borrowing diminishes your faith, because it teaches you to rely on the systems of the world for provision instead of relying on God.
Habits shape your thinking
Like so many things in life, the decisions that we make in individual circumstances begin to turn into habits when we do them repeatedly. Habits, in turn, affect the way that we think, and our thoughts control the very course of our lives. By disciplining ourselves with good habits, we can overcome our struggles and achieve great things. Establishing the wrong habits, however, can send us down bad roads, and can even become a stumbling block in our relationships with God.
So it goes with debt and borrowing. When there is a moment of need in your life you have a choice: You can trust in God to meet that need for you (and then do what He asks of you in order to receive the provision), or you can go find someone else to “meet” the need by lending you money (never mind the fact that the transaction benefits them more than it benefits you). Putting your trust in God places your future in His hands, making you His servant. Putting your trust in the bank only makes you a slave to debt. And the next time that you have a need, you’re going to return to master — whichever one you chose.
Bad habits create addiction
I’m not saying that all borrowing is inherently sinful (scripture teaches that debt is inherently unwise, but it doesn’t go so far as to say that borrowing is a sin). What I am saying is that borrowing creates bad habits, and those bad habits can put distance between us and God. Yes, borrowing money can sometimes help you out of a bind in the short term. But in the long run, that debt just creates more pain in your life.
The bigger trouble is that we get hooked on the buzz of the quick fix, and come to depend on that fix to make our lives function normally. Just like an alcoholic starts by drinking to make himself feel better on a bad day and then reaches a point where he can’t feel normal without booze, so too a borrower takes on debt to get through a bad situation, and then reaches the point where he can’t pay his bills without borrowing money. Good habits create discipline; bad habits only create addiction.
The ultimate tragedy of this cycle is that when you begin to depend on debt to float you through your financial trials, you hinder God from revealing His goodness to you in that area of your life. He is God our Provider, but if you are hooked on another source of money, you miss out on that aspect of who He is and how He loves us. Borrowing money diminishes God’s role in your life and increases the grip that the world system has on your heart.
If you’re in a bind and looking for financial help, let me encourage you to put your full faith in God and not in the schemes of man. I know that it is difficult, but I also know that our God is a good father who longs to give us good gifts. If you put your trust in Him and submit to His principles, He promises to take care of your needs. Sometimes that provision will come through the generosity of other people; other times it will come through opportunities to roll up your sleeves and do a lot of hard work. But however it comes, it comes from the Father, which means that it is the perfect solution to your dilemma.
Photo by Daniel Persson. Used under Creative Commons License.