World-famous evangelist Billy Graham is warning Christians to be careful about the dangers of debt because it can be “like a millstone around your neck.” (Luke 17:2)
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Graham is asked on his website to comment on the problem of debt.
“We’re deep in debt because of our credit cards, and I don’t think we’ll ever get out. I guess it’s just too easy to buy something with a card instead of digging up the cash. Please warn people about the dangers of debt, because it can really mess up your life. It sure has ours.”
Graham responds by saying that the Bible warns people against excessive debt, quoting the Bible verse Romans 13:8: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.”
People might think that debt is merely a money issue, but Graham says debt is a sign of a deeper problem – and that is people’s desire for the things money can buy.
“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,” he says. “But in reality isn’t that what we 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).”
How can people cure themselves of greed? Graham says the only way to do so is to turn to Jesus Christ and make Him – not things or money – the priority in our lives. Graham assures people that once they put Christ first in their lives, their desire for things or pleasures will fade away, and their need to continually impress others with wealth will be replaced by the need to impress Christ.
For those who are still swimming in debt, Graham also has some good advice. “Open your heart and life to Him today. Then ask God to help you effectively deal with your debts. Get a realistic budget, and stick to it,” he urges.
“Devise a plan to pay back your debts, and if necessary cut up your credit cards or lock them away. Then set a date for paying off your debts, and every payday set aside what you’ll need to reach it.”
Billy Graham’s advice is right on the money (pun intended). If you are swimming in debt and have decided you need to educate yourself on how you can change your habits and lifestyle, I would also suggest the free course my friend Bob Lotich over at Seedtime.com gives. I call him the Dave Ramsey of the internet.