If it’s God’s will to prosper us and set us free from the bondage of poverty and lack, why are so many Christians still in debt? To answer that question, we first have to answer another question: What does it take to motivate someone to get out of debt? If the thought of being debt-free were enough motivation to give us the discipline to get out of debt, we would have already done it! But it isn’t enough. There has to be a greater motivation to enable us to reach that goal.
What if I said to you, “I’ve kidnapped your children, and you have to give me $1,000 in the next 60 minutes if you want to get Your kids back” ? You’d find a way to get $1,000 real quick, wouldn’t you? Why? Because you love your children! The purpose for that $1,000 would be so important to you that nothing would stop you from attaining it. That’s what I mean when I say the thought of being debt-free isn’t enough motivation to get you out of debt. There has to be something beyond that thought to get you inspired… so inspired, in fact, that you make the quality decision to stay focused and disciplined in doing what you have to do until you are completely out of debt.
You see, debt comes and is sustained from a lack of discipline. Jesus talked about discipline when He said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations… “ (Matthew 28:18 NKJV) That word, “disciple”, means disciplined one. So if you are a disciple, you are suppose to be disciplined in every area of your life. That doesn’t leave room for you to “max out” all your credit cards! To be a disciple of Jesus Christ, you have to be disciplined in every area, including the area of finances.
So, how do you develop the kind of discipline you need to get out of debt? This is the way you do it: Desire begets motivation, which produces discipline to take action. In other words, when your desire to get out of debt becomes strong enough, you’re going to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Your desire gets you motivated, and that produces the necessary discipline to take action.
That’s why I have to get you to the point where you hate debt. Your desire to get out of debt has to burn like a flame in your heart. You have to despise it so much that you finally declare, “I absolutely cannot live like this anymore! I’m going to do whatever I can to kick debt out of my life! I’m tired of being a slave to someone else. I want to serve the Lord Jesus Christ!”
You see, unless you despise something, you’re not going to do anything about it. You’ll just say, “Debt isn’t that bad, I guess. I don’t like it. I don’t want it. But it’s there, and I can live with it.”
No, we can’t let ourselves think that way! Jesus said we need to occupy until He comes (Luke 19:13), and we can’t occupy while we’re still in debt. We can’t run companies, own corporations, develop real estate, or make oodles of money in the stock market while we’re still in debt. God can’t give us millions of dollars if we are spending the little He gives us today in interest to someone else!
Just to put this subject of debt in proper perspective, let me tell you the history of a few key words. The word “mortgage” originally came from the Latin word Mori, which means to die. Similarly, mortis means death. We get our words “mortuary”, “mortician”, and “morgue” from these Latin words meaning to die or death. Isn’t it interesting that the word describing debt also carries that same root meaning? Not only that, but the original Latin word gage means grip or pledge. So the word “mortgage” actually means death grip or death pledge.
Ouch! If you are paying off a mortgage right now, that probably sounds like a fitting description to you! What about the word “Interest”? Actually, the original word meant usury in the Bible. The root word of “interest” means bite of the serpent. That doesn’t sound very appealing does it?
“What are you doing, Nasir?” I’m trying to get you to despise debt. As I said, until you’re determined not to live with it anymore, you won’t do what it takes to get out of it. “Is it really possible to get out?” Oh, yes! All it takes is one word: discipline. That’s all it takes. Debt came as a result of developing incorrect habits, and debt will go as a result of developing correct habits. You go in debt when you spend more than you make. That, isn’t so complicated, is it? That means all you have to do is begin to spend less than you make to start getting out of debt.
“Oh, but wait a minute, Nasir! Then I, couldn’t drive the car I wanted! I couldn’t live in the house I wanted. I couldn’t go out to restaurants every time I wanted to.” Yes, that’s the whole idea! You see, debt is a disease. Debt is living today at the expense of tomorrow. Ninety-seven percent of Americans pay bills every month, but very few of them are actually in the process of getting out of debt.
So if you’re going to work your way out of debt, you have to hate it. You have to have a desire strong enough to motivate you to get out of debt. Then you have to get a vision of what it would be like to live life after debt. Finally, you have to commit yourself to the discipline it will take to bring that vision to pass in your life. Face it – if your desire to get out of debt were as strong as it needed to be right now, you’d already be out of debt. So your desire isn’t strong enough yet, and that means you have to start building the desire in your heart to become debt-free.
Written by Dr. Nasir K. Siddiki