Financial Fitness for Uncertain Times Part 4: 'Loose weight!'

Part 4 of a six part series.

In part 3 of this series, we encouraged you to start your financial health plan by making a spending plan to spend less than you earn, so that you have enough for what you value most.

One aspect of our physical checkup, which is most often pointed out, is the danger of overweight. This can put a large burden on our physical wellbeing and hamper the function of major organs. It reduces our capacity to react well to physically challenging circumstances.

When desiring to become financially fit, being in debt can become like being overweight. Stress and anxiety for being over-indebted can cause psychosomatic problems in our bodies and reduce the body’s capabilities to self-heal. In financially fragile times, debt can be a huge burden and even imperil our survival. Could you continue to meet all your financial obligations if you lose your job, or if your capacity to earn is hampered by economic recession, or if investments went sour?

Debt reduces future freedom. Mentally, emotionally and financially, you will not experience the level of comfort you could have had, had you not already pre-committed your resources. Like the proverbial monkey on your back, the money you owe will always be there to dictate your decisions and remind you of what you can and cannot do.

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7)

Borrowing is not prohibited in the Bible but in many places the Bible warns of the dangers. Borrowing may deny God an opportunity to provide. Excessive borrowing may lead to financial bondage. Debt, due to over-consumption, may be symptomatic of spiritual problems. Borrowing is based on an assumption that you will have future resources to meet the debt, and the future is very uncertain.

Becoming financially fit and healthy requires losing your debt. The Bible tells of a widow whose husband had died and left her with debts she could not repay. As an illustration of Proverbs 22:7, her sons were due to be taken into slavery. She called out to Elisha for help and the widow and her sons experienced God’s help in becoming debt free and providing for the family. You can read this story in 2 Kings 4:1-7. Watch this modern-day account!

In shedding weight to become financially fit, we can see several principles from this story about becoming debt free.

She asked Elisha for help, thereby calling on God to intervene in her troubles. Elisha told her to borrow many empty jars from her neighbours. Then God multiplied her only possession, a small amount of oil, until all the jars were filled. She sold the oil and paid her debts to free her children.

The same God who provided supernaturally for the widow is interested in freeing

you from debt.

The first step is to pray. Seek God’s help and guidance in your journey towards becoming free from debt. He may act immediately or slowly over time. In either case, prayer is essential. A trend emerges. As people begin to eliminate debt, the Lord blesses their faithfulness. Even if you can afford only a small monthly repayment of your debt, pleasedo it. God can multiply your efforts.

Maybe you need to sell what you are not using. Evaluate your possessions to determine whether you should sell any of them to help you get out of debt more quickly. What about the bike you no longer use? That set of golf clubsgathering dust? Is there anything you can sell to help you get out of debt?

Develop your own personal spending plan to identify money you could set aside to accelerate your debt payments.

Consider earning additional income. Many people hold jobs that simply do not pay enough to allow them to pay off their debts quickly enough. A temporary part-time job can make a huge difference to how quickly you can become debt free.

Consider a radical change in lifestyle. A growing number of people have lowered their standard of living significantly to get out of debt more quickly. In order to achieve this some have downsized their homes, or rented out rooms. Others have sold cars that have large monthly payments and have bought inexpensive ones for cash. In short, they have temporarily sacrificed their standard of living so they could pay off their debt more quickly.

When troubling times come, when economic recession hits hard, those individuals and businesses with no or little debt are the ones which will not only survive but also flourish. They will not be burdened by debt and will be able to help pothers and be generous.

“The wicked borrow and do not repay, but the righteous give generously.” (Psalm 37:21)

This is part 4 of a Series: Financial Fitness for Uncertain Times

1. Get ready to change

2. Take a physical

3. Get financially fit

4. Loose weight

5. Build muscle

6. Build endurance

Peter J. Briscoe

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