Home: Where Stories Are Made
Debt and Finances
Day 1: Begin this week by reading through the Next Steps “Take 5” Questions below. Invite the Holy Spirit to speak truth into you as you consider and answer the questions. Write down your thoughts, responses, and what God is showing you. Use the “Take 5” questions this week as a conversation starter with your family or possibly a close friend.
1. As you consider your finances, is there an area where you need to develop greater boundaries and self-control? (Don’t spend what you don’t have)
2. Is there a specific step God would have you could take to get out of debt in order to better manage the resources that He has provided you? (Do whatever necessary to pay off debt)
3. Does your life story reveal a person of contentment? If not, what is at the root of your discontentment? Ask God to reveal any desires, drives, behaviors, or attitudes that work against contentment in your heart. (Learn the secret of contentment)
Day Two: Healthy living requires discipline and self-control. Consider the Proverb from Sunday. “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” Proverbs 25:28 The walls of ancient cities were important boundaries designed to protect its citizens from both natural elements and invading armies. It is wise to have boundaries in our personal lives too. One such boundary is in the area of our personal finances. Weak or non-existent boundaries lead to poor financial decisions. For instance, some of our biggest enemies are our own impulses. Have you ever bought something you thought you needed (and it was 50% off) only to have it sit neglected in a pile of clutter months later? Of course, we all have. Why do we do that? Jot down 3-4 good financial boundaries or practices in your life. Now, include some areas of struggle. This week, pray about your finances. Ask God to show you where you can take a step in managing the resources that He has provided you. Consider your purchases this week. Ask God for discipline and self-control.
Day Three: Make two lists; one list of significant items that you need to buy in the next 12 months. The second list would be things that you would like to purchase in that time. Done? Ok, read Philippians 4:11-13. What secret does Paul share with us about living in contentment? We like to quote the last verse, but we can miss the context. Paul is content in all financial circumstances because of the strength he receives from his relationship with Christ. He knows life is more important than the possessions we own. Life is more than houses, cars, clothes….more than status, popularity or success. Real life is found in relationships with people and with Jesus. We know this to be true. Do our lives – how we spend our time and our resources - reveal this truth? Or do our spending habits and our focus of time and energy paint a different picture? Do you feel the need to upgrade your car, TV, or the latest gadget? Why do you feel this way? Consider the lists you wrote. What if you didn’t get some or any of those things? Would you - could you - be content? How would you describe a person of contentment? Would you consider yourself to be content? Would others who know you agree? Ask God to reveal any desires, drives, behaviors, or attitudes that work against contentment in your heart. Ask for wisdom and strength to choose a better path…to begin writing a better story.
Day Four: We have looked this week at maintaining self-control to avoid spending what we don’t have and living in contentment. But for most of us, debt has already become a reality in our lives. Do you carry credit card balances? Do you buy things in terms of monthly payments? Read Proverbs 22:7. Debt has a way of trapping us into serving it, stealing our joy, and limiting us from our service to God. If you feel stuck in a debt cycle and overwhelmed by this reality, know that you are not alone. Consider coming to our Financial Peace UniversityTM class on Wednesday evening, beginning February 15 at the church (register at www.daveramsey.com/fpu/classes/1031016). Even if you have already attended, come back for a night or the entire class. Consider connecting with a few others who are taking steps toward financial freedom and serve one another by accountability and encouragement. If you know what to do, write down your plan to reduce your debt and share it with someone. Ask them to follow up with you in a month. If you already have momentum towards eliminating your debts, pray for strength and resolve to stay the course.
Day Five: Look back over the past week. Have you disciplined yourself and managed your impulses to spend when you don't need to? What has God shown you about your financial habits? Consider your lists from Day 3. Are there any adjustments you want to make to these lists? Remember Philippians 4:11-13? What step have you taken to reduce your debt? Know that “God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19. That doesn’t mean he will shower down hundred dollar bills like manna from heaven. Sometimes it means that he will move us towards wiser stewardship. Be still before God and consider the step to take today.