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The Secret to Defeating Debt

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And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:19

One of the hardest ideas for us to grasp is that we are 100% responsible for the results of our lives. Where you are in your life right now is a result of the choices that you've made up to this point. That's why this verse is so important to our understanding of how to get out of debt. Like the law of gravity, whether we believe it or not, this verse is true. God is meeting all of our needs. Given this truth, why are so many Christians in the bondage of debt?

There are three specific areas that I want to address that are causing people to remain in bondage to lenders: Wrong Priorities, Overconsumption, and Lack of Adequate Production.

Wrong Priorities
You must give God something to bless. If you are not paying God first and yourself second, then your priorities are out of alignment. Specifically, the Bible says that we are to "bring the whole tithe". For those of you new to this concept, a tithe literally means tenth. My wife and I interpret the tithe to be the first tenth of our Gross Income.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. - Malachi 3:10
Notice that there is a tremendous blessing for making the tithe a priority. Now, the second priority is to pay yourself. This principle is significant for me for two reasons. First, it provides a storehouse for your own blessing. If you don't have any savings, then you can't take advantage of investment opportunities. Second, this concept shifts your thinking about money. It opens up the idea of Opportunity Cost. For example, a latte and scone every day is worth about a $100 a month. Over time, that $150 could grow to be $1 million. Finally, the Bible instructs us to gather money "little by little", which means to save money.

Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow. - Proverbs 13:11
Overconsumption
If you are spending more than you make, you are headed down the path of financial ruin. Regardless of how much money you make, you must spend less. This is the same principle as managing your weight. If you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. It reminds me of a saying, "if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging".

Lack of Production
This is the flip side of consumption. If you are not working, then no amount of cutting back will dig you out of the hole that you've dug for yourself.

The sluggard's craving will be the death of him, because his hands refuse to work. - Proverbs 21:25
If you are working and you are still not covering your expenses, there are only two options. First, Cut back on your cravings (your spending). Second, increase the amount of money that you make. Both of these options are difficult; however, they can be accomplished. It may take some time, and it will definitely take some effort. However, if you will diligently work to reduce your expenses and increase your income, you will inevitably defeat the debt that is holding you back.

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