Debt takes us farther than we wanted to go, keeps us longer than we wanted to stay, and costs us more than we wanted to pay. Yet, like a junkie longing for their next fix, we often add more and more leverage to our already overextended lives. Solomon addressed the risk of borrowing money in The Thirty Sayings of the Wise: “Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you” (Proverbs 22:26-27).
Borrowing money is not a sin, but God calls us to be cautious before doing so, including cosigning or guaranteeing a loan for someone else. At the same time, the Bible teaches us to avoid, at all costs, surety: borrowing beyond our means to repay. When we borrow money, we reach into the future in order to acquire something we desire to have now. If that’s an investment property or a loan on a business that will provide a reasonable return, then it might be wise to do so. However, if the loan amount is for more than the underlying asset is worth or exceeds our capacity to pay it back, then we are in steep danger. That’s why we must exercise discernment before borrowing money against a depreciating asset, such as a boat, a vehicle, a motorcycle, smartphone, or an appliance.
Owning stuff is not the problem. The problem occurs when the stuff owns us.
Would you like to reduce your debt, maybe even begin a plan to become debt-free? Start with stopping the addition of any further consumer debt. Assemble an annual budget and implement the ten-ten-eighty plan. Give ten percent of your gross income to God via your local church. Save ten percent and live off the remaining eighty percent. Consider paying off your debt from one of your latter two buckets in the same spirit as tithing. What will begin as seemingly restrictive will become a pathway to freedom.