Bible verses about debt are of great interest to people in addiction recovery.
One of the huge issues for them is paying past debts incurred from their time of addiction. Part of what is owed may be taking care of court costs or paying for child custody costs. Perhaps there may be health care issues and no insurance.
Money is a particularly large worry for them. As it is for many of us.
And since life is starting over for them, there is the need to find work, work that will truly sustain and not just be endlessly entry level.
Does God care about our bills?
How can God speak to us and help us with financial need, whether a recovering addict or not? He cares about all His creation and wants us to be able to provide for ourselves, our families, and to share with others. This beautiful verse testifies to it:
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 2 NKJV)
What can the practice of faith do for us when times are hard and our finances are deeply stressed? How does God speak to us about it through Bible verses about debt and about His provision?
Seven Steps for Getting Out of Debt
1. The first thing of most importance is to have the right view of God.
Is He a loving Father? A strong Defender? A good Provider? Will He help you?
You have to get this matter settled in your heart through scripture and letting it do its work on your mind and attitude. Here are two verses out of so many the Bible contains that show us the heart of our Father and His desire to help you live more securely:
“The LORD your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you,
In his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17 NIV)
And the second verse…
“He tends his flock like a shepherd;
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
gently He leads those that have young.” (Isaiah 40:11 NIV)
The heart of God is for us! – to transform us, draw us near, help us for eternity (salvation) and help us in this life (also a form of salvation). He is good!
2. Find this right view through scripture and because of that, through Jesus Christ.
We’ll understand God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, by first receiving the forgiveness and the restoration of our lives through Jesus Christ. He came to earth to make the Father known. Through His astonishing teaching and His kindness to all and His healing miracles, the heart of God was revealed.
But the plan of God to restore all humanity from its estrangement with Him back into relationship with Him then came to pass. The sin that separated us was taken by Jesus on Himself. He died on the cross in our place so that we might be forgiven of our sin, the sin that stood between us and God. That sin, if unforgiven, results in eternal separation from God.
Jesus then rose from the dead proving He had accomplished this redemption and that His identity is God the Son. People who believe and trust in Him are reunited with God, and receive the Spirit of God to help them walk with God. I have said more about the Holy Spirit baptism on this site here and here.
You may be wondering what this all has to do with money! I say the above because we won’t feel compelled to take the next step repeatedly without having the relationship with God established and that is to:
Talk to God about what is going on with you – what your debts are, how much money is in your bank account, what your job prospects are. Bare your heart. Trust Him to be the loving Father that cares and who wants to make a way for you as you walk with Him. Jesus said this:
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside of your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-30 NIV)
4. Be honest with yourself about your debts. Make plans to pay them back. Do not hide from those to whom you owe money.
Talk with the people with whom you have an outstanding debt. Make payment plans whether that is with the court or whoever you owe. Even a very small amount paid each month is better than nothing. The advice so often given by the Dave Ramsey ministry is to start with the smallest debts and pay those off and then go to the next largest and so on. (You can find information here about Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps)
5. Make a budget and stick to it.
Be honest about where your money is going. If you cannot afford something, cut it out of your life. The writers of the Bible encourage us to learn to be content. The Apostle Paul said:
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Therefore, I can do all things through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13)
I know debt can be crushing and the fear from the debt, a monster. I have known people who have had to ride on buses for long periods of time or walk huge distances to get to very low paying work. And hunger – it is such a real problem of suffering for so many in this world. I do not write these things without the images of real people in mind.
But, if you have to go through something hard, is it not better to go through it with a good attitude? Sourness, resentment, bitterness, fear – they are as deadly as the huge debt – even worse. With God’s help, try to keep your heart right and your hope up.
6. Be grateful if you have a job and do it well.
I had a great grandfather that friends lovingly called “Judge Thomas,” (he was a farmer) who used to say, “Whatever your work, be the best at it. If it is only sweeping a floor, then be the best sweeper there is.” Do your job so well and thank God for the work. If you need to take on a second job, if you need to get more training or go back to school, find ways to do that. Talk to reliable people who can encourage and counsel you and help you on your journey of growth.
Joseph, one of the great men described in the Old Testament, suffered as a slave and an unfairly accused prisoner, but even in those places he thrived, because he did his work well, with the right attitude. In due season, God worked through people to promote him to second in command of all of Egypt.
The right attitude about our work, no matter how humble it is, leads to better things.
7. Remember the honor that is found in supporting your family.
1 Timothy 5:8 has these words: “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
God wants us to be His people, His image bearing people who reflect His goodness, holiness, and compassion in the world. When we wonder what our work should be, our work is first and foremost to love and worship Him, and to represent Him in the world. Whether we do that as a ditch digger, a teacher, or a lawyer is not the point. Our primary work is to be citizens of heaven with eternity on our mind, who live here as honorable and honest people.
God is a good Father…
And yet, God knows that we have needs for food, shelter, clothing, medical care, etc. He is a good father who seeks to care for us here too.
“…do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 7:31-33)
Work to get out of debt. Be thankful for your earthly work, your job. Do it well. And grow into the next position if you need to for your own support and for your family.
God will help you every step of the way as you choose to lean on Him and follow His biblical principles. Study those Bible verses about debt. There is more that can be said about the Bible and money, but this is a beginning. God bless you as you let Him help you in this and every area of your life.