Strapped Week 2: Embracing Financial Values

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Too many of us are living in a prison of financial debt and stress. The good news is we can learn how to get out of financial bondage. Let’s get smart with our money and learn practical and Biblical principles to free ourselves from being STRAPPED.


Let’s start today’s post with a quick review of last week’s post because each week we are going to build on the week before.

“The borrower is servant to the lender.”  Proverbs 22:7

Last week we looked into the Hebrew word translated as servant. It means a slave, it means to be in bondage. If we’re in debt, if we’re strapped, we’re actually in bondage. Most people don’t go around saying, they are a slave to money. What they often do is say how they would love to have a different job, have another kid or adopt, they would love to be serving, leading a small group or want to be a generous person, but they’re strapped.

The enemy loves it when we are bound up in financial bondage. You can’t do anything that God wants you to do without checking over your shoulder to see if you have the margin to say yes. The enemy knows that as long as you’re in debt, you can’t run with the Spirit of God. You can be on one of two paths in your lifetime. Either you are on a path to bondage or on a path to freedom. Our financial decisions are going to put us on a path to bondage or on a path to freedom.

Christ has come to set us free.

The big idea of the Gospel is that our debt is eternally paid by the perfect life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Our whole Christian story depends on a debt being canceled. Therefore everything that comes up out of our story is predicated on debts being canceled so much so that in the Lords prayer we pray, “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” 

A canceled debt on the cross is what gives me a ledger of freedom and the ability to be called a child of God.

Free children of God need to live fearless and live free. Because you cannot serve both God and money. Today is about debt. This topic is a generational one. Before the great depression in America, only 2% of homes had a mortgage against them. Now, just forty years later, only 2% of homes do NOT have a mortgage against them. How quickly things change. What we also see now is a generation of pretenders. They have the stuff, but they also have the debt. In fact, Scripture addresses this very plainly:

“One man pretends to be rich, yet he actually has nothing.”  Proverbs 13:7

So there are three groups of people today in our country. (1) The haves, (2) the have nots and (3) the have not paid for what they’ve got; they are the pretenders.

Let’s look at three essential values and these will apply to every area of our lives, but these are absolutely essential for us to become unstrapped and debt-free, bondage-free.


Biblical Values

1. Embrace the value of self-control.

“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”  Proverbs 25:28

If you do not have financial self-control, you are like a city without walls, you are defenseless to attacks.

“The fruit of the Spirit is…self-control.”  Galatians 5:22-23

The result of knowing God, is self-control. The hardest person to say no to is yourself. We find every reason to justify a “yes.” We have to embrace the value of self-control. This is not to say, don’t enjoy life. Once you get out of debt and have the money, buy the car, get the whole thing! But when you’re getting out of debt, you need to embrace the value of self-control. 

Self-control means we say “no” for a little while so we can say “yes” for the rest of our lives.

2. Embrace the value of sacrifice.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…”  Hebrews 12:2

The joy set before him was the joy of pleasing God and knowing that you and I would have access to God through His sacrifice. He made the sacrifice, the brutal sacrifice for something He wanted even more.

Sacrifice is giving up something you love for something you love even more. 

You don’t want to be paying for this Christmas in May of 2019. So, you give up cable for something you want even more, a debt-free Christmas.

Maybe you want a bigger house, but what you want even more is for one of you to stay home with the kids so you make the sacrifice.

Maybe you’re in college and you like your alone time, but even more than that you want to graduate with no student loans. So, you take in two or three roommates, you sleep on the sofa, you do whatever it takes, you give up something you love for something you love even more; getting out of school without student loan debts.

Maybe you love going to lunch out every day, but you may love even more paying off your car. So you give up something you love, going out to lunch, instead you brown-bag it. Have you heard how much money you can save over a lifetime of working if you just brown-bag it every day? Over $112,000!

Now you don’t have to do that. These are just illustrations on how to give up something you love, for something you love even more.

3. Embracing the value of planning.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”  Luke 14:28

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”  Proverbs 21:5

Let’s get practical here. How can you plan to get out of debt? You can wander into debt, but you can’t wander outYou have to get a plan. The best plan out there is found in Financial Peace UniversityIt covers the whole spectrum of finances. It will teach you a plan in seven steps, called baby steps. Let’s take a look at the first 2 baby steps today.


Baby Steps

1. Save $1,000 for emergencies.

You need to get a little cash built up because things are going to break, you’re going to get a ball through your window, your refrigerator is going to break down…stuff happens and that should not surprise you!

How are you going to get a thousand dollars? You’re going to sell some stuff or get a second job. You can clip coupons to save on things you already purchase. As soon as you get $1,000, put it away in case of an emergency.

2. Attack debt using the debt snowball.

This is the absolute fastest way to get unstrapped and to free yourself from the bondage of debt. So often when it comes to our finances and our debt, we feel like a mosquito at a Chiefs game…we know what to do, we just don’t know where to get started.

Here are 3 steps to a debt snowball:

1. Survey your debt.

Write all of your debts down on one piece of paper. Write down how much you owe and your monthly payments.

Below, is an imaginary list of debts. In the first column is a list of the different people or businesses we owe money to as well as the interest rate. In the second column is the total amount owed and in the third column is the minimum monthly payment.

In this example, notice we owe $450 to Lowe’s, $650 to Target, $1,600 to our parents and so on.

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2. Budget

Make a budge that starts by listing your income and then start writing down all of your expenses. The budget you’re creating will include all of your debts, because you have to keep paying all these minimum payments. If you don’t pay these it tacks on compounding late fees and just increases your debt.

3. Attack debt.

That word attack is crucial, because you can wander into debt but you can’t wander out. How do you attack it? First, find an extra $200 a month. Maybe you will find this money the same way you saved $1,000 for emergencies. Get creative and find $200 extra a month. You may need to eliminate something like satellite television, your mobile data plan or the energy drink or coffee you get each day. You’ll find $200.00 a month.

Here’s how it will play out: Let’s start with Lowe’s. We owe them $450. Your minimum payment is $50. Now, you’ll pay them $50 and add to it the $200 that we just found totaling $250 a month and within a couple of months, Lowe’s is gone!!

You might have noticed how these debts are organized. They are organized by total owed, not by minimum payment or interest rate. Why? Because this is not just math. This is spiritual and emotional. When you break one of these chains of bondage you’re going to celebrate and it’s going to feel good. You want to get to that as soon as possible!

Now, we’re going to let the money start to snowball away the debt and focus on our debt to Target. We’ve already been paying Target $30.00 a month. Now we’re going to take that $30 and add to it $250 a month. We just freed up $250 a month by paying off Lowe’s! Now with $280, in just a couple of months Target is gone as well!

Next is our parents. We are already paying them $200 a month + the $280 that we freed up because we no longer have to pay Lowe’s or Target and at $480 a month that debt will soon be gone as well. So every single month we will apply our snowball amount to the next debt that we owe. We start with the smallest amount of debt so we can knock it out and our largest snowball amount will take out our largest debt. We’re going to wipe out everything we owe but the house.

What is the benefit of taking out debt over just making minimum payments? If you just continued to pay minimum payments on our pretend debt list, like so many people do, it’s going to take you 120 months to pay off your debt. That’s 10 years before you pay off all of this debt and that’s assuming you don’t take on anymore. Now, if you do the debt snowball, your payoff time is only 21 months. That’s a difference of 99 months of not paying any debt!

If you take the $1,110 full blown snowball each month and invest it at 8% for that same 99 months that you would have been paying off your debt, at the end of that time period you will have $153,992.30. In most parts of the world that will buy you a house, paid for in cash. You could be totally debt-free including a house in only 10 years! This is possible!

There’s a plan if you want it. That plan may not have you out of debt by this Christmas. It may be four Christmases from now until you see the light of day. Don’t let that stop you. With God’s help you can do this, but you’ve got to get a little crazy and get a little weird. You’ve got to get a plan and have a sacrificial attitude. You cannot live like everyone else. The more passion that you get about this the faster it can be done and the more good decisions you’re able to make.

Secret Ingredient: A Small Group

The secret ingredient it having some like-minded people help you achieve what you’re trying to achieve. Because there will be a lot of temptation. There’s going to be a lot of pressure. There’s going to be a lot of second guessing yourself. You will need the support of people around with a similar vision.

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

Tell your existing small group what you’re doing and get their support. Maybe you’ve never had a group like that. Here are a couple places to look for a solid group to support your financial goals:

Financial Event, January 5th – at Rock Brook

Financial Peace University: Winter/Spring Small Group Semester (February 2019)

Managing money is one of the most visible, outward evidences of where our heart is spiritually. If you’re faithful with a little, God will trust you with much. Self-control, sacrifice and planning can make a huge difference.

Imagine the peace, if you broke free from this world’s broken system and all the chains of bondage, all for the glory of the One who gave His Son, Jesus just for you.

It can be done! Have hope, don’t give up, fight like crazy and watch as God delivers you from the bondage of debt. It all begins with the cross. That place where God canceled our ultimate debt. God didn’t cancel our ultimate debt so that we could live every day on this earth in financial debt. Before God talks to you about your money, He wants to talk to you about your heart, your soul, and your eternity. He wants to offer you something, not get something from you. He’s offering you Jesus and all of your sin wiped away.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion from last week. Do you have any more thoughts, questions or conclusions about the message on having a godly perspective on money? Has the Holy Spirit pointed out any areas where you are tempted to love or serve money?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

Hear the Word

“The borrower is servant to the lender.”  Proverbs 22:7

“One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing…”  Proverbs 13:7

Three Biblical Financial Values

1. Embrace the value of self-control.

“Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”  Proverbs 25:28

2. Embrace the value of sacrifice.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…”  Hebrews 12:2

3. Embrace the value of planning.

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?”  Luke 14:28

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”  Proverbs 21:5

Baby Steps

1. Save  $1000 for emergencies.
2. Do the debt
snowball.

Secret ingredient: A Small Group

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”  Ecclesiastes 4:12

Application

  1. What was your family’s perspective on money growing up?
  2. How has your life been affected by debt?
  3. Which of the three Biblical values do you struggle with most & need to focus on improving?
  4. Are you familiar with the Baby Steps from Financial Peace University?
  5. If you are struggling with debt, what immediate steps do you need to take to address it?

Tell Someone Else

Who do you need to share this message with? Is there someone you’re better equipped to have a conversation with because of this message?

  • Mark your calendar:
    • Financial Event: January 5th
    • Financial Peace University: Next Small Group Semester

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