How Do I Get Out of Poverty and Debt?
-- Poverty is a lack of money or material possessions. Poverty
is usually accompanied by debt obligations to others. Debt, whether
or not associated with poverty, is a form of slavery. Following
God's principles will break the hold of both poverty and debt.
First of all, you must commit yourself, your finances, your family,
and your life to Jesus Christ. Agree to live by God's principles
and seek to know what He has to say to you in your situation.
Be absolutely honest about the faults and mistakes in your life,
past or present, that may have caused your problem of debt. To
escape trouble, you must know what put you there.
Second, do everything you can to understand God's principles.
The Bible says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge"
(Hosea 4:6). There are many Christians who have no concept whatsoever
of the principles of God's kingdom. They understand neither God's
laws dealing with material prosperity nor their own privileges
as children of God. So, for lack of knowledge, they suffer.
People in debt or in poverty especially need to understand a
rule of God's kingdom that I call the Law of Reciprocity. This
is a law of cause and effect, of action and reaction. In the area
of money, the law is simple: "Give, and it will be given to you:
Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over
will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you
use, it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38). When a person
begins to give to God's work and to the poor and less fortunate,
God begins to give back to him. Regardless of the debt burden,
a person should give a very minimum of 10 percent of his income
to the Lord. Even if you are at a poverty-level income, you have
something you can give to God. Start where you are. Reach out
in compassion to those less fortunate than yourself. As a first
priority, get into a position to give love, time, energy, and
money to other people even if it is only a little bit.
Next, set up a realistic budget. Most people do not have budgets,
and their spending has neither plan nor control. Whatever your
income level, you should set up a budget that includes one or
more tithes (see Chapter Eight, Question Eighteen) plus offerings
to the Lord, which may be in the form of aid to those who are
less fortunate (see Malachi 3:10). After setting aside your tithe,
establish a realistic plan to pay off your debts. Go to your creditors
and obtain an agreement that they will accept your payment schedule.
Make it understood that you cannot pay any more than a certain
amount, and they will almost always accept your plan.
Once you have done that, you have to resolve in your mind that
there will be no more accumulation of debt. You cannot go back
to living beyond your means. Make a vow to God that you will not
buy anything on credit, and that your lifestyle will be curtailed
to fit your income. This takes a definite mental and spiritual
commitment. It may take a year, or two years, or five years, but
you are going to get out of debt.
It has been suggested by a very wise businessman that part of
any budget should go for recreation. There should be some time
each month when the family can get away from the pressures of
life. Maybe it can be a picnic in the park, a fishing trip, or
possibly a night away from home in a motel or resort. Recreation
includes anything to get away from the constant pressure and to
allow your mind to be recreated in God.
Along with recreation, I recommend a Sabbath rest. You cannot
work seven days a week. There must be one day a week that is dedicated
to God, to thinking about Him, praying to Him, studying the Bible,
and resting. All of these things are necessary to prepare your
mind and spirit to win the battle.
Then, with all of these things going for you, you need a renewed
faith in God. He is the source. As you give to Him and trust Him,
God will begin to take you from bondage to debt into His blessings.
He will open doors for you and will give you concepts and ideas
to help you overcome your situation. You must believe this and
expectantly look for His answer rather than to some other person
as your source. God is your source.
Every day, speak words of confidence. Say out loud that you are
going to be free from debt and that God is going to put you in
a different position. Memorize scripture verses where God says
things such as, "He raises the poor from the dust/And lifts the
beggar from the ash heap./To set them among princes" (I Samuel
2:8). Speak these words over and over again, confidently, knowing
that God can do all things and do them well.
With that frame of mind, you should be on your way. It may take
a year to pay off your debts. In the instances that I know of,
the average was about eighteen months. But it may take three,
four, or even five years. You will win the battle if you use the
weapons that God has made available to you! You can be debt free!
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