How can I avoid credit card traps and eliminate debt problems?

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How can I avoid credit card traps and eliminate debt problems?

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Since God created us, He understands how we think and act. When it comes to money, God reveals in the Bible a simple but profound truth: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7 Proverbs 22:7The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
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When we are in debt, we serve those we owe. In the case of our credit card masters, we serve them well. After all, what investor wouldn’t like to receive a 25 percent return on his investment?

The apostle Paul wrote, “Let no debt remain outstanding” (Romans 13:8 Romans 13:8Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loves another has fulfilled the law.
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, New International Version). God expects Christians to fulfill their financial obligations. Not doing so often breaks God’s commandments against lying and stealing (Exodus 20:15 Exodus 20:15You shall not steal.
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; Deuteronomy 5:19 Deuteronomy 5:19Neither shall you steal.
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; Leviticus 19:11 Leviticus 19:11You shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.
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The way to financial freedom is through repaying debt, then avoiding debt whenever possible. Though it may make more sense to finance essential items of long-term value such as homes, cars and education, credit card debt is something most people can avoid.
How to pay off credit card debt

If you find yourself making interest payments every month on your credit cards and want to eliminate that kind of debt, try these steps:

1. Total your monthly expenses and subtract them from your income. This is your disposable income after expenses, the amount you have each month to use as you determine.

2. The next step is to stop charging items on your credit cards. Pay cash for items you must buy.

3. Then analyze your credit card debt. Determine which credit cards are charging you the highest rate of interest. You may be able to transfer balances from cards with higher rates to those offering lower rates.

4. Next, rank the cards in order of the interest rate charged, and use your disposable income to completely pay off the card with the highest rate. Once that card is paid off, close the account and destroy the card. Then focus your attention on the next card, and continue doing the same until all of the debt on your cards has been completely paid.

5. Once your credit card debt is gone, you’re much better off with only a few cards—not the dozen or more carried by so many people.
How to use a credit card

After you’ve paid off all your credit card debt, it’s time to consider how such cards can be properly used. How do credit card-savvy consumers use their cards?

The most important step in responsible credit card use is to completely pay off the bill every month. Think of the credit card as using cash that is reserved each month for the items charged. This way no interest accrues, and credit cards become legitimate and helpful financial tools. They become our servants instead of the other way around.

Most people don’t realize that God has much to say about how we use our money. As our Creator, He is the One who gives us the power to earn money and enjoy what it can buy (Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 Ecclesiastes 5:18-19 18 Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor that he takes under the sun all the days of his life, which God gives him: for it is his portion. 19 Every man also to whom God has given riches and wealth, and has given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labor; this is the gift of God.
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). In a parable of the coming Kingdom of God, Jesus Christ described Himself as giving His servants money (talents) to manage. How His servants managed those funds determined their reward in the Kingdom (Matthew 25:14-30 Matthew 25:14-30 14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered to them his goods. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and dig in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants comes, and reckons with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, you delivered to me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said to him, Well done, you good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, you delivered to me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said to him, Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things: enter you into the joy of your lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew you that you are an hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not strewed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the earth: see, there you have that is yours. 26 His lord answered and said to him, You wicked and slothful servant, you knew that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strewed: 27 You ought therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received my own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it to him which has ten talents. 29 For to every one that has shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that has not shall be taken away even that which he has. 30 And cast you the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
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What’s the lesson of this parable? The way we manage our money reveals to God much about our character.

For more information, please read our booklet  Managing Your Finances .

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