Owe no man anything, save to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law (Romans 13:8).
No one has to be told anymore about the challenges that debt brings. With debt comes obligation, and obligations can often enslave. We can often joke that our money is spent before we get the paycheck– when we are indebted, that is very much true! As debt increases, so does worry and anxiety. Thousands upon thousands of people live in great fear and distress because of their debt obligations. We look at our national debt and worry about what we are leaving for our children and grandchildren.
For years our society preached a message of debt. People were encouraged to go out and buy, buy, buy, even if they didn’t have the money to cover it. As the value of houses rose, people would refinance in order to pay their debts. And then they would accrue more debt!
Yet, whatever one sows, one will reap (Galatians 6:7). Corporations and people over-extended themselves, and now they have to pay the proverbial piper. Many people are now tightening the belts and having great difficulties because they enjoyed themselves perhaps a little too much in previous years.
People are now realizing the wisdom that has always been found in God: we ought to avoid debt whenever possible. When we are unencumbered by debt, we are able to make enough to support ourselves and then give to those who are in need (cf. Ephesians 4:28). We cannot do that when our money is already pledged to others! When we have debt, we have worries and anxiety. When we are free from debt, those worries and anxiety will vanish.
Anyone who has been in debt can imagine or remember the great feeling of exhilaration that comes when a debt gets paid and one is freed from that burden. Such is wonderful!
While we would do well to avoid and/or eliminate physical debt in our lives, we must also consider the spiritual debts that we incur. When we sin, we are sold into the bondage of sin, and must pay our “master,” the evil one (Romans 6:15-16, 20-23). Unfortunately for us, once we have done that, we can never make enough “payments” to get rid of that debt. We could try and try by ourselves, and we would never pay it off (Romans 3:9-23)!
But thanks be to God that when we were unable to pay the debt, Jesus the Christ paid the debt for us by shedding His blood on the cross for our sins (Ephesians 2:4-9). His blood was the price that He paid for our sins, and, therefore, us (1 Corinthians 6:18-20). When we come to the recognition that Jesus has done this for us, and we become His obedient servants, we can enjoy the exhilaration of being released from the law of sin and death, and can then turn to serve God with everything we have (Romans 6:16-18, 8:1-2, Galatians 2:20). We then must strive to avoid returning back into the debt of the bondage of sin (2 Peter 2:20-22)!
Being indebted to men causes great distress; being indebted to Satan leads to condemnation and torment. Let us owe nothing to either!
Ethan R. Longhenry