A gazelle trying to escape from a hungry cheetah has only one goal: Survival!
That gazelle’s only mission is to get away from the hunter who wants to turn him into a tasty treat. He isn’t skipping through the field or stopping to smell the roses. He isn’t pausing to take a break. He’s running as fast as his legs will carry him! He’s dodging left and right. He’s circling and weaving. He’s putting all of his energy into escaping a seriously fast cat.
Now picture that gazelle as you read Proverbs 6:5 (NIV): “Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of a fowler.” We use this verse a lot when we talk to people about how to get out of debt. You don’t want to skip along, paying a few debts here and there, hoping you eventually don’t owe anyone anything.
Like Dave says, “You can wander into debt, but you can’t wander out.” You’ve got to get gazelle intense—and run for your life.
We live in a world where debt is considered normal. “Don’t worry,” people tell us. “Everybody has it!” We’re bombarded with messages that say we can’t live without loans. We’re told we can’t go to school or buy a house or get a car without loans. So we borrow money to replace our cars, put 0% down on a new house, and finance our kids’ college.
But before we know it, all that debt starts weighing us down. It keeps us up at night. It causes us to spend more time worrying than praying. It causes fights in our marriage. It just isn’t healthy.
Have you ever wondered why debt ruins our lives? Maybe it’s because God never intended for us to live in bondage to debt. Romans 13:8 (NIV) says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” The God of the universe didn’t want His people dragging debt around everywhere they went. He didn’t want us enslaved to credit card companies and lenders.
But if we take a step back and look around at our world today, that’s exactly what we see, isn’t it? We’re stuck living paycheck to paycheck and worrying that we may never get to retire with dignity. We’re even letting the offering plate at church pass us by because “We just can’t afford to give.”
These are just a few of the reasons why it’s so important to get gazelle intense. You want to pour everything you have into getting out of debt and staying out of debt. You want to act like you’re running for your life—because you are (John 10:10)! If we’re going to manage God’s blessings God’s way for God’s glory, we have to be willing and able to use our paychecks for Kingdom work. How can we be good stewards if we’re stuck paying for the past instead of helping people in the present? It’s hard to care for the widow and the orphan when you’re fighting off the collections office.
So next time you come across Proverbs 6:5, stop and think about the gazelle running for its life. And if you’re trying to dig yourself out of debt on Baby Step 2, stay focused. Get gazelle intense and run for your life.
Once you shake off the chains of debt, you will be free to live the life God intended for you all along: a life of freedom, gratitude and generosity.