Living Within Your Means

Proverbs 6:1-5, “My child, if you have made a pledge for your neighbor, and have become a guarantor for a stranger, if you have been ensnared by the words you have uttered, and have been caught by the words you have spoken, then, my child, do this in order to deliver yourself, because you have fallen into your neighbor’s power: go humble yourself, and appeal firmly to your neighbor. Permit no sleep to your eyes or slumber to your eyelids. Deliver yourself like a gazelle from a snare and like a bird from the trap of a fowler.”

In January 2008, my wife and I embarked on a journey prompted by Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. We had over $40,000 in debt, were collectively making more money than we had ever made in our marriage, and never seemed to make ends meet. I couldn’t figure out how were always living from paycheck to paycheck and never had anything left over.

It has now been 22 months since we started this trek, and I am happy to report that we are down to $10,500 in debt. Not only that, but we are learning to live within our means. I stopped working full time back in January so that I could attend school full time, so that significantly affected our debt retirement plan. However, thanks to generous supporters, I have not assumed any additional debt while attending school.

One valuable lesson that I think our country must learn is to live within its means. My wife and I have felt the frustration and pain of spending more than we make. Anyone who has a significant amount of debt knows about the limitations it brings to life. Debt kept me from pursuing my dreams and brought unmeasurable stress to my life and marriage.

Today I was reading in Proverbs 6 and was refreshed by the passage above. Please read it and watch the video. There is a valuable lesson to learn. Many of us have not lived within our means and have bought into the lie that we must take out a loan in order to survive. While not all debt is bad, we must be careful in how we choose when it is appropriate to borrow. Wisdom says that debt is bondage. Debt is slavery and we ought to do all we can to be free from its bondage.

How are you doing in the area of finances? Are you debt free or are you feeling the pressures of your lenders? How do you think the spending habits of Americans and Congress are affecting this country? Even while it is a tough economy, I would encourage you to do all you can to free yourself like the gazelle (especially because of the times we live in). It begins by learning to live within your means. Make it a practice and a paradigm to live in freedom.

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