Credit Cards and Self-Reliance

Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, and Cyber Monday… let's face it, folks, the odds are stacked against us when it comes to holding on to our hard-earned money. It is in this season of giving that we often become prey to the idea of immediate gratification and the 0% interest for one year, no money down, financing that entices us to get in over our heads. 
The Bible has a lot to say about how we spend our money. Below are some of the most notable scriptures to internalize before we overindulge this season.

  1.  God is our #1 priority when it comes to how we spend our money. Proverbs 3:9, Matthew  6:24
  2. Debt creates bondage. Proverbs 22:7
  3. A lack of satisfaction for what we have can lead us down a disastrous road.1 Timothy 6:6-10
While these general principles have already been ingrained in me, (shout out to Dave Ramsey-Financial Peace University, Crown Financial, and my personal budget coach at my church!)  there was one caveat concerning my misuse of credit cards that God reminded me of in a unique way.  
I've recently undergone back surgery which has left my family pinching our pennies a bit more than normal these days. (for more on my surgery check out my post here https://pampersinthepews.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/lessons-learned-from-my-back-surgery/) With the addition of unexpected medical bills, we've cut it very close each month. In the past, we've seen God do miraculous things when we were in a tight spot. For example, during maternity leave, a friend blessed us with a gift card that was exactly what we needed. One time I needed $50 dollars and $50 dollars was anonymously placed in my mailbox! However, this time it seemed there were no miracles coming our way. In all honesty, we had begun to rely on our credit cards to fill in the gaps more than we should. Not only did we pick up a few things that we needed but we also picked some things that we wanted. It was at this point that I asked God, "Why no miracles this time? Why haven't we seen you come through as you have done in the past?" The Lord brought to remembrance Psalm 20:7  "Some trust in chariots and others in horses, but we depend on the Lord our God."
In Psalm 20, the people are lifting up prayers of victory for King David before he enters a battle. Verse 7 highlights that David was not relying on himself for victory, but on the Lord God Almighty! As I meditated on this verse I realized that I had been putting my trust in my own might. Self-reliance was the missing piece of our financial puzzle as I questioned God for His lack of visibility!  I had not seen His hand in our finances because I hadn't allowed Him room to bless me. I was too busy trusting in what I could see and feel right in front of me, which was an immensely dangerous safety net- my credit card. It was then that I repented of my wrongdoing and asked God to help me place my trust in Him to get us through that rough spot! 
I am so pleased to be able to share with you that this lesson did not come without a miracle of our own. After approaching God in humility and remorse, the very NEXT day, God demonstrated to us that He is more powerful than any credit card. That morning my husband asked me to clear the table of all the junk mail that had piled up for centuries. I was a little miffed by his plea as I thought to myself, "Why does he get to tell me what to do on my off day?" Alas, I decided to oblige my husband and sort through the bills, flyers, and mailers, only to find a check that was hidden like a diamond in the rough! It turns out this check had been sitting under that heap of unwanted mail for almost a month and it was just enough to get us to where we needed to be! 
Let me repeat this so it can sink in- I asked God why he hadn't shown up, God answered showing me that my problem was self-reliance, and then the very next day God showed us that he had been there all along! What an awesome God we serve! He hears our needs and provides for us! 
Don't miss the takeaways from this very real story: 
  1. You cannot expect God to show up when you are still holding on to your own devices.
  2. I am not suggesting that credit cards cannot be used in any circumstance but be leary of the sin of self-reliance. We are often too quick to try to fix a problem within our own means when God has a solution right in front of us.
  3. Sometimes when your husband asks you to clean up it's not him being inconsiderate! (Lol) I know this is hard to process but it may just be God trying to get you to clear the way for your blessing! If I would have pridefully given in to my own way, I would have never found that miracle check God had tucked away for us! 
For more on God and Money see:

Christen Jacobs is a wife and mother of 3. She earned her Masters in Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary in 2014. She has served as the youth coordinator and small groups coordinator at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas Texas. She has a passion for exegetical teaching and has had the pleasure of speaking at various conferences and teaching Bible classes. Christen and her husband are inner-city missionaries who work to equip every member to sow seeds for the kingdom through helping individuals and churches respond to the great commission. Christen’s ministry passion is empowering women to be curious readers of the word of God. She also has a strong emphasis in engaging generational and cultural differences, as she has a background in missions traveling extensively in Asia, and Latin America. She enjoys writing her blog, cooking, dancing and cuddling up with her family and Netflix.