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Debt and Spirituality: Digging Your Way Out

Thu, May. 11, 2017 Posted: 12:59 PM

Debt seems to be an American pastime. It can be a great thing, allowing for the purchase of a reliable car and a home. However, it can also be a snare that drags you down and affects every aspect of your life, including spirituality. The two are more closely linked than you might think, and it’s important to declare financial independence for full spiritual freedom.

Debt a Sign of Deep Spiritual Issues

Most people are in debt these days, but it’s not without its intrinsic negatives. According to Evangelist Billy Graham, debt can actually be a sign of deep, unspoken spiritual issues.

“Debt is often a sign of a deeper problem—and that is our desire for the things that money can buy,” Graham wrote in response to a follower’s question about credit card debt. “The Bible has a word for this: greed. That’s not a very pretty word, and we even may react against labeling ourselves as greedy. But in reality isn’t that what we really are, when we desire things we can’t afford or spend money on pleasures that won’t last? The Bible warns, ‘The greedy bring ruin to their households’ (Proverbs 15:27).”

Get Out of Debt for a Stronger Spiritual Purpose

Graham advises a stronger relationship with Christ to reduce money as a priority and increase spiritual focus. However, he points out that it’s hard to reach that spiritual high when you’re up to your eyeballs in debt. Curbing excessive spending and devising a plan for vanquishing debt is the key to becoming one with Christ again, he says.

"The Bible actually has much to say about our money and how we ought to use [our money],” his post continues. “No matter how rich or poor we are, we should use our money wisely and thoughtfully. We also must guard against using it only to satisfy our selfish desires; instead, we should use it to meet our needs and the needs of others.”

This is excellent advice, but Graham neglected to give a few tips for eliminating that debt and developing financial independence. As you work to regain spiritual strength and cast off the shackles of debt, here are some debt elimination tips.

Approach Loans Carefully

It’s perfectly normal and acceptable to take out loans for things like a car or a home. In most cases, it’s not possible to make these essential purchases otherwise. However, you can be smarter about the situation.

Look for low-interest rates and forgiving repayment terms. In general, the shorter the repayment term, the less interest you’ll pay. However, don’t let your debt payments exceed more than a third of your income, or you’ll have a difficult time keeping up.

Cut Up Credit Cards

Stop all extraneous spending by cutting up your credit cards. It’s too easy to live beyond your means when you keep those plastic lines of credit in your wallet. You might choose to keep one in your top drawer in case of emergencies, but don’t carry it around for something you can’t afford.

Choose a Debt Repayment Method

The most important step to repaying your debt is devising a plan. Two of the most popular debt reduction methods are the debt snowball and debt avalanche methods.

The debt snowball method is endorsed by Dave Ramsey, a devout Christian and financial guru who has dedicated his career to helping people get out of debt. This method involves targeting debts from smallest to largest, increasing your payments over time.

The opposite method is the debt avalanche method, in which you target debts with the highest balance and largest interest rates first. You move through each debt until they’re all paid.

Budget Out Extras

Do you really need Netflix, Hulu, and cable TV? What about the magazine subscription or gym membership you never use? Carefully go through your monthly expenses and weed out anything unnecessary. The extra money can be applied to your debt balance, and if all goes well, these cuts will only be temporary.

Getting out of debt will be a difficult journey, but it will be easier with prayer and study. Rely on the help of the Lord to accomplish this important goal, and you’ll be amazed at how much closer you feel to Christ while getting your personal life in order.

George Smith