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Should a Christian Ever Be In Debt?

January 11, 2024

The Bible never says that going into debt is a sin. However, it issues a very stark warning:

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender”.

Proverbs 22:7

That’s not at all how Jesus intended us to live.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery”.

Galatians 5:1

He paid the penalty for our sin, so why would we ever allow ourselves to be enslaved to anything — the fruitless teachings of this world, seeking the approval of others, or creditors?

“You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings”.

Corinthians 7:23

Here are three reasons to strive for a largely debt-free life.

1 – Without debt, you gain freedom from financial stress

As anyone who has lived with debt and without debt will tell you, living without debt is better. Debt is stressful, a burden. It’s like trying to move through life with a weight tied to your ankle. Live free from debt and you will live free from one of the most common sources of anxiety.

2 – Without debt, you gain freedom in relationships

Research by the University of Virginia’s Marriage Project shows that having debt increases the likelihood that couples will fight about money, and couples who argue about money are more likely to divorce than couples who argue about any other topic. 

Researcher Jeffrey Dew said, “Consumer debt fuels a sense of financial unease among couples…This financial unease casts a pall over marriages in general, raising the likelihood that couples will argue over issues other than money and decreasing the time they spend with one another.”

Dew’s research shows that newlyweds who take on substantial consumer debt become less happy in their marriages over time. On the other hand, newly married couples who paid off their so-called consumer debt (any debt other than a mortgage) within their first five years of marriage reported being more satisfied with their marriage.

3 – Without debt, you gain the freedom to respond to God’s call on your life

What if you sensed that God was calling you to the mission field? Or to a different job that pays significantly less than your current job? Could you answer those calls? Would your finances allow you to?

In too many situations, people are carrying so much debt that they can’t even hear God’s call on their lives. Living free from the bondage of debt will put you in the best possible position to hear and respond to God’s leadings.

Final thoughts

So, should a Christian ever be in debt? It’s not realistic for most people to buy a house without a mortgage, but it is realistic to choose a reasonable mortgage! That means you can afford to pay the mortgage, property taxes, and insurance while still being about to give generously, save and invest adequately, and enjoy some financial margin.

As for any other type of debt, it’s best to avoid it. If you are in debt, it may take some time to pay it off. It may take several years. Why not begin your journey toward financial freedom today? It will be so worth it!

Remember, the Bible never says that borrowing is a sin. However, it cautions us not to become enslaved to creditors. One of the ways we can honor Jesus’ sacrifice is to avoid such entanglements.

As you build a solid financial foundation for your family, myCCCU would be honored to join you in the journey. Whether you’re trying to get out of debt, improve your credit score, or make plans to buy a house, our partner, GreenPath Financial, offers numerous helpful resources. To learn more and become a member of CCCU, click below.

Matt Bell is the author of Trusted: Preparing Your Kids for a Lifetime of God-Honoring Money Management. He speaks at churches and conferences throughout the country and writes the MattAboutMoney blog.

This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation.

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