One of the major problems in our modern, frenzied society is depression — that distressed state of mind that interferes with the kind of happiness God wants each of us to enjoy.

One of the significant causes of depression today is debt. It’s so easy to pile up debts and so difficult to get out from under this burden. Many feel almost hopeless.

Here are some highlights from a Consumer Debt Outlook from LendingTree.com.

  • By the end of 2018, Americans will have amassed more than $4 trillion in consumer debt, which is defined as non-mortgage debts like credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, and student loans.
  • On average, Americans now own more than 26% of their income on consumer debt, up from 22% in 2010.
  • Although incomes have been rising, so has the percentage of income used to maintain consumer debt.

No wonder many have a deep feeling of despair. Is there any remedy for such a mess? It’s not easy, but, yes, there is.

Every Christian should be committed to financial responsibility and should have a manageable plan to save, spend, and support their family and the cause of Christ.

How does one get out of debt? There are various reasonable plans one could follow. All can be summed up in this way. You will have to increase your income, decrease your spending — and likely a combination of both.

But here’s the catch. These plans will only work if you got hold of yourself and stopped charging. For many who are “spend addicts” (and that’s not a far-out descriptive), the only solution is to destroy those credit cards and start living within your income.

Several years ago, before J. C. Penney died, the JCPenney corporate board met to discuss whether or not Penney’s would sell “on credit.” Up to that time, it had always been a cash-only business. The only board member to oppose the credit policy was Mr. Penney himself. He predicted that if a charge policy were implemented, people would not be able to keep from over-buying, and such would cause them much hurt. Though out-voted, he was almost prophetic.

Many Christians need to get their financial house in order. Excessive consumer debt is hurting our families and crippling the work of the Lord’s church. The New Testament plainly teaches that God will hold us accountable for irresponsible stewardship. “[I]t is required of stewards that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2).

What we possess now isn’t really ours. It belongs to the Creator, and we are his stewards (Lk. 16:11).

It has been said that basically there are three philosophies toward material possessions.

Communism contends that everything belongs to the state.

Capitalism alleges that one’s possessions belong to him — the individual.

Biblical revelation declares that all is God’s (Psa. 24:1) — and we are but overseers of his property.

Do you need to get serious about your finances? If so, begin working on it today. You’ll be much happier if you can see light at the end of the tunnel.

For other matters relating to peace of mind in our hectic society, see our book, The Bible and Mental Health.