Jesus asks us through the Word to be watchful about three things:
1. Dissipation or Love of Luxury
3. Worries of this world
Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap (Lk 21:34).
Many people fall into the debt trap because of these things. The Lord demands that we should be watchful against these three traps. Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (Pro 4:23).
1. Dissipation/Love of Luxury
Love Dissipation or Luxury has been the reason for many families to fall into the debt trap. So we must be able to regulate our lives beyond what the material criteria demand.
Apostle James has warned that the dissipation of the rich has been the cause of their ruin. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter (Jas 5:5).
Ecclesiastes says, I said to myself Come now, I will make a test of pleasure; enjoy yourself. But again, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad, and of pleasure, What use is it?(2:1-2).
Drunkenness is a major cause of the financial ruin of many families. Drunkenness is a vice. Those who do vicious things are not treading righteous paths. The drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe them with rags (Pro 23:21).
One who drinks excessively will lose his discretion and he may not be in a position to spend his money in ways ordained by God. Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise (Pro 20:1).
3. Worries of this world
Worry is a major crisis that is faced by man in the modern times. Some people want to make money somehow, by hook or crook. Riches amass-ed by foul and unfair means do not last. Surely every-one goes about like a shadow. Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; they heap up, and do not know who will gather (Ps 39:6).
When Jesus was received in their home, Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me. But the Lord answered her, Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things (Lk 10:40-41).
Worldly worries are impediments that stop the Word from taking in us and the will of God fulfilling in us. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing (Mt 23:22; Mk 4:19; Lk 8:14).
DO THE WILL OF GOD
Even those who live according to the will of God might face financial difficulties.
Though Job was the wealthiest man in the East and he was also innocent and righteous, still he lost his children and all his wealth. But, In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrongdoing (Job 1:22).
Job said, Naked I came from my mothers womb, and naked shall I return there; the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord (1:21).
If we are confronted by crises, in spite of living a righteous life, we must see them as occasions to show the glory of God. Don't be afraid of them thinking of them as some kind of punishment, curse or retribution for sin.
When Jesus saw a blind man, His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither this man nor his parents sinned; he was born blind so that Gods works might be revealed in him (Jn 9:1-3).
To Job, who steadfastly remained with God in spite of his adversities, The Lord restored the fortunes of Job and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10).
REGULATING ONES LIFE
Some regulatory measures are to be taken by those who have already fallen into the debt trap to come out of it and by others not to fall into the same.
1. be moderate
Jesus says, For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, saying This fellow began to build and was not able to finish. Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand? (Lk 14:28-31).
In the financial area also this is what is practical. Spend within your means. Avoid luxury. Also avoid miserliness prompted by greed and avarice. It is better to spend ones money in moderation. In English there is a proverb Waste not, want not. Riches are inappropriate for a small-minded person; and of what use is wealth to a miser? (Sirach 14:3).
2. seek the will of god
When David was anointed king of Israel, the Philistines rallied against him. David inquired of the Lord, Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will you give them into my hand? The Lord said to David, Go up; for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand (2 Sam 5:19). When the Philistines attacked again, David inquired of the Lord and the Lord said to him, You shall not go up; go around to their rear, and come upon them opposite the balsam trees (2 Sam 5:13).
David did as the Lord commanded him and David was triumphant (1 Chr 14 & 2 Sam 5:11-25). In the uncertainties of life, seek counsel from the Lord and regulate your life as per his suggestions. Then God will do great things for you.
If you will only obey the Lord your God, by diligently observing all his commandments that I am commanding you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth; all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the Lord your God (Deut 28:1-2).
3. be loyal to the lord
If we obey and commandments, and are loyal to the Lord, it is certain that we will be blessed.
If you heed these ordinances, by diligently observing them, the Lord your God will maintain with you the covenant loyalty that he swore to your ancestors; he will love you, bless you, and multiply you, he will bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground (Duet 7:12-24; Lev 26:3-13; Deut 28:2-3).
The blessing of the Lord is the reward of the pious, and quickly God causes his blessings to flourish (Sir 11:22).
4. cleanse the heart
As God was going to deliver the judgment against Sodom, he listened to the prayer of Abraham and finally told him: If you can show me ten righteous people in that city I wont destroy it because of them. But they had ignored God and were immersed in evil and so they were punished (Gen 19 & 20).
If God has to interfere in our lives and save us, we must completely relinquish our sinful ways and then it will be beneficial to us and also others. Joshua said to the people, Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you (Joshua 3:5). So, lets abandon all the sinful areas of our lives.
TRUST IN THE PROVIDENCE
Our aim must not be to seek ways to overcome our problems somehow or anyhow. On the contrary, we must remember the level of divine providence. Balak brought Balaam to curse the Israelites. But on all the three occasions, Balaam prophesied blessings for the Israelites. Balaks anger was kindled against Balaam and then Balaam said to Balak, Did I not tell your messengers whom you sent me, If Balak should give me his house full of silver and gold, I would not be able to go beyond the word of the Lord, to do either good or bad of my own will; what the Lord says, that is what I will say (Num 24:13).
When we seek the ways of God, instead of relying on our wealth, God will interfere positively in our lives. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honour( 1 Sam 2:8).
Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit (Jer 17:7-8).
HOLD ON TO GODS HAND
My God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19). It is this assurance that should guide a person in financial difficulties and not just running helter-skelter looking for money.
Happy are those whose hearts do not condemn them, and who have not given up their hope (Sir 14:2); because the Lord also sees this crisis. Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher (Is 30:20).
Above all, trust in the Lord and pray with hope. Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear (Is 65:24).
So let us not be heartbroken when we experience financial crunches because, It is easy in the sight of the Lord to make the poor rich suddenly, in an instant (Sir 11:21).