We’re in debt over our heads. Worse still, like a giddy guest at a masquerade party, we fail to see the truth of our debt as it hides underneath an appealing disguise. Each newborn life and passing generation increases our debt. It’s higher than we can imagine, and it’s not fiscal. It’s spiritual. Vast and uncounted, our spiritual debt looms eternally large, and it will someday be unmasked.
We—I must pay attention to this growing debt.
Considering the flammability factor of earth’s treasures, it is strange that my mind will focus readily on fiscal spending, or my own financial desires without hesitation, but I must be fed a routine diet of Biblical perspective to become even similarly concerned with spiritual indebtedness. This is wrong. After all, there is quite a difference between the two problems.
Financial debt hurts the pocketbook, and spiritual debt affects the Book of Life and all eternity.
I have often reasoned that if I work to free others or myself from all financial problems, then I/we will be in a better position to respond to God. This logic may be flawed, however, because according to the words of the psalmist in Psalm 119, being “afflicted” in some way is good. He speaks constantly of life-affirming “comfort” found only in God’s laws, precepts, words, and testimonies.
“It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes. The law from Your mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces…..I know, O Lord, that Your judgments are right and righteous, and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” 119: 71-75
Is the Psalm writer crazy? How does God’s law and being afflicted benefit him to such an extent that he expounds redundantly about it for 176 verses?
When I asked this question about the Psalm writer’s choice of words in the company of my family recently, my son-in-law offered this possible explanation.
“The laws, teachings, and testimonies of God were the closest thing to God’s actual presence that the Jews had to explain to them who God was and what purpose He had for their lives. Each teaching from God gave one more detail of who He was. His instruction was precious information to them.”
Of course, the downside of knowing what God wants, or expects from us, (the law) reveals just how incapable we really are . We can’t do what He expects of us. We fail and we sin, and our spiritual indebtedness grows.
There is only one path out of our spiritual debt. Affliction, or needing something from outside our self, is a great way to point us to that path.
If we chose to allow affliction to point us back to God, we’ll find Jesus, who paid, once and for all, the critical debt of our spiritual fall.
This is not automatic debt coverage. We have to individually acknowledge Him in this matter. Even still, while His life payment cancels your debt of sin before God, it does not instantly supply us with spiritual wisdom. We have a debt in our lack of knowledge of God’s ways, and the Bible will provide this wisdom if we study, read, and ask God to help us understand.
So….Guess what? Self-sufficiency is not what God intended for us, and spiritually speaking, it’s not even possible!
Our relationship to God is broken unless we have taken steps to be reconciled to Him thru Christ.
We were created for relationship. For neediness. For good debt. We need God.
We were also placed on earth in relationship to each other so that under God’s perfect plan, we might bless each other and bring universal glory to His name.
All this is possible through God, BUT….
Ignoring spiritual neediness, banning God, and focusing on everything else under the sun to the exclusion of His purposes means we will continue to exist in a world of huge spiritual debt.
Debt like this will infringe on our life, but there is hope. The psalmist unmasks another reality.
“I have seen that everything has its limits and end, no matter how extensive, noble, and excellent; but Your commandment is exceedingly broad and extends without limits.”
Psalm 119: 96
Are God’s words to me “better than thousands of gold and silver pieces?”
Are they of such great value to you?
I hope so. I pray so. Let’s take off the mask and see the truth.
God, once again, your words speak to my generation. Help me focus less of my energy and time on worldly treasures, or in contrast, moaning about the world. Help me turn my attention and energy to knowing You and Your purposes. Teach me to act in compassion to those around me as You