WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
FEBRUARY 20, 2023
TOPIC: BEWARE OF THE DANGER OF DEBT
BY T. O. BANSO
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7 New King James Version).
The Bible does not say that debt is a sin but the wrong kind of debt can have serious negative effects on your life. Therefore, you must differentiate between the debt that won’t harm you that you can incur and the debt that will harm you that you should avoid. You must determine whether a debt is necessary or not.
Furthermore, you must differentiate between your wants and your need. You must also distinguish your need from your greed, for some incur debt to satisfy their greed and not their need and they suffer needlessly when it is time to repay their debts.
Don’t incur debt to satisfy your greed. Don’t take a loan or buy something on credit to satisfy your greed. Kill your greed; don’t feed it. If you must take a loan, borrow, or buy something on credit, let it be for a critical need for which you don’t have an alternative. Beware of borrowing for consumption rather than for investment. Sometimes it is also wise to seek reliable professional advice in addition to praying before you take some loans so that you don’t put yourself in unnecessary bondage or hardship because of the terms of the loan.
Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (New King James Version). Note the second part of this scripture: the borrower is servant to the lender. The Bible in Basic English puts the phrase this way: he who gets into debt is a servant to his creditor. The New International Version says the borrower is servant to the lender. As much as possible, don’t incur personal debts that will turn you into a servant or slave of another person. A borrower is at the mercy of the creditor, especially when he cannot pay off his debt.
In 2 Kings 4, the creditor wanted to come to take as slaves the two sons of the deceased servant of God who didn’t pay off his debt before he died. The wife of this man, who was one of the sons of the prophets, ran to the Prophet Elisha for help, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves” (verse 1 New King James Version).
It’s an irony that this son of the prophet feared the Lord yet died a debtor! The Living Bible says, “One day the wife of one of the seminary students came to Elisha to tell him of her husband’s death. He was a man who had loved God, she said. But he had owed some money when he died, and now the creditor was demanding it back. If she didn’t pay, he said he would take her two sons as his slaves.” You won’t die a debtor in Jesus’ name. Whatever debt you owe now, the Lord will enable you to pay it off.
Thankfully, through the ministry of Elisha, this woman was able to pay off the debt owed by her late husband. Thus, the debtor couldn’t take the two sons as slaves. Beware of debts that will turn you or your family into slaves. The interests some people have paid on the loans they took are more than the loan itself and they are yet to pay it off!
Instead of paying their debts, some debtors run away! They don’t want to pay. That is wickedness. David said, “The wicked borrows and does not repay, but the righteous shows mercy and gives” (Psalm 37:21 New King James Version). Be careful about borrowing but once you borrow, make sure you repay. If you don’t, you’re wicked.
Whoever borrows and doesn’t repay is also selfish and inconsiderate. He is not concerned that his failure to pay back inconveniences his creditor. Such a person is also a liar because he didn’t keep his promise to his creditor. Pay off your debt. Romans 13:8a says you should not let any debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another. The New King James Version says, “Owe no one anything except to love one another.” I pray that the Lord will deliver you from situations that can force you into debt or prevent you from repaying. This happens to some people. They neither love debt nor want to default.
Beware of the danger of debt. Don’t take a loan on behalf of an organization or body without the consent of the critical stakeholders. Even in taking a personal loan, as a married person, make sure your spouse agrees with you because he/she could later be affected by the decision.
Sometimes, loan repayment puts pressure on the finances of couples or families. Therefore, it is important to carry your spouse along so that he/she is aware of what is ahead. Don’t let debts destroy your marriage. Some debts could also cause unnecessary hardship for the children. Beware of debts that can steal your peace and that of your family.
Debts could also affect your spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional health. Those who are under the heavy burden of debts or those close to them will testify to this. Some people have died unnatural deaths because of debts they could not repay. Some have, sadly, committed suicide. Beware of the danger of debt. Don’t rush into debt.
Not everybody forgives debts like the king in Matthew 18:23-35. You saw that in 2 Kings 4, the creditor didn’t say because his debtor, one of the sons of the prophets, had died, therefore, he forgave his debt. No. Rather he wanted to come and take away his two sons as slaves.
Therefore, before you incur a debt, decide how you intend to repay it. Some people live in denial and try to sound spiritual about how they want to pay their debts, saying, “The Lord will do it.” This is not faith. “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20 New King James Version). If such people have so much faith as they want others to believe, they should have believed God to provide for them and not borrow!
Don’t push your responsibility to God. Although God is the Provider and you trust in Him, you should also have a clear plan of how you want to settle your debt. Where is the money going to come from or where do you hope to get it? Some people have no plan of repayment other than that the Lord will provide and when the money doesn’t come by the time they are to repay their debts, they come under serious pressure and begin to run from pillar to post.
Some debtors run away from their creditors or keep making new promises when they are not expecting money from any particular place. In some cases, some will even go and borrow to settle their debts, which leaves them in a vicious cycle of debt. Indeed, organizations record some debts as bad debts – uncollectible accounts expense. In other words, there is no hope the loans or debts could be repaid.
Beware of the danger of debt. The pressure of debt could affect your relationships with God, family members, staff, and creditors. Because of unpaid debts, some Christians could get angry with God for not answering their prayers for provision to pay off their debts, which might have been unnecessary. Some could stop going to church or praying because of depression.
Be careful about debts. Explore alternatives before going into debt. Be realistic about how you hope to repay your debts. “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1 New King James Version). Don’t build castles in the air. Don’t live above your means. Be prudent with your resources. Don’t live to impress others. Don’t incur debt just to keep up with the Joneses. Avoid using the money you don’t have to buy what you don’t need. People who are under a debt burden often suffer from anxiety and depression, stress, sleeplessness, high blood pressure, headaches, and pains.
Moreover, don’t be too quick to stand guarantor for anyone’s loan or credit purchase. This is part of being careful about the danger of debt. Some people have run into trouble because they stood guarantor or surety for people who defaulted. Proverbs 11:15 says, “Be sure you know a person well before you vouch for his credit! Better refuse than suffer later” (The Living Bible). Don’t stand guarantor for a stranger or someone you don’t know intimately. “It’s stupid to guarantee someone else’s loan” (Proverbs 17:18 Contemporary English Version). Also, Proverbs 22:26-27 warns: “Don’t guarantee to pay someone else’s debt. If you don’t have the money, you might lose your bed” (Contemporary English Version).
Beware of the danger of debt.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Father, help me to be prudent with the resources you have given me and not live above my means. Save me from emergencies or circumstances that could push me into debt. I shall not be a slave to any creditor in Jesus’ name. I shall not be like the wicked who don’t pay back their debts; I shall pay off my debts in Jesus’ name.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
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