“Owe no man anything,
but to love one another.”
— Romans 13:8
Most of us are familiar with this chapter’s opening verse found in the book of Romans. Its message to us is simply to “owe no man anything.” However, very few experience its freedom. Instead of it being a message of freedom, it instead puts a burden of heaviness on most of us when we think of the amount of debt that is looming over us—a mountain of debt—owed everywhere!
“But Jesus was matter-of-fact: ‘Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you'll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God” (Matthew 21:21–22 MSG).
Each and every burden that befalls us was designed specifically as an opportunity (not a burden) to gain an increased intimacy with the Lord, our Beloved, as He calls us to, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). What He is saying is that each and every time we find something too heavy, we are to yoke ourselves with Him. Each burden was lovingly designed for His brides to simply turn around, handing the burden to our capable Husband.
Whether or not you accept yourself as His bride, in the Bible He refers to us as His sheep. Sheep are not burden-bearers like oxen, but are simply “fearful little creatures” who need a Good Shepherd.
It was while I was encouraging my future daughter-in-law that this entire principle became so real to me. My DIL was telling me about her desire to keep working after she married to pay off her student loans, but, she said, “it seems so impossible!” As I shared with her, it’s true, yes, our mountains are meant to be impossible so that instead of us foolishly trying to dig ourselves out, we will see the impossibility of trying. We can even acknowledge the impossibility, but then, as believers, we need to wisely give the mountain to God—the God of impossibilities!
What He says is this, “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NLV). So, when God asks you this question: “Is anything too hard for Me?” will you speak to your mountain and answer Him, “Dear God, my Master, You created earth and sky by Your great power—by merely stretching out Your arm! There is nothing YOU can’t do. You’re loyal in Your steadfast love to thousands upon thousands” (Jeremiah 32:17, 18a MSG)? Or will you say and profess the opposite, as most Christians do?
When I reminded my DIL that God told us to “owe no man,” she said, “I know! That’s what makes me feel so sick!” Rather than focusing on how He’s asked us to “owe no man anything” and then come to the false conclusion that WE are expected to carry the burden of debt and work harder. Instead, He wants us to trust Him to do it for us because our burdens are always a signal that we are not yoked to Him. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).
Let us look at owing no man financially as huge and impossible as my DIL felt. What’s even more huge and impossible is asking us to be responsible for paying the price for our sins. Why use finances as a comparison? Because throughout Scripture, God uses financial debt to help us understand our debt for our sins and every other burden in our lives—what Jesus has paid for—He paid it all for us! Isn’t our part to simply believe it and accept it?!?! God helped us with the greatest impossibility of all; am I right? Now read this story regarding a man’s financial debt that He used to explain our spiritual debt.
“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
“The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’
“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed” (Matthew 18:23–34).
Most preachers use this as a message to explain why we are to forgive others, and rightfully so; however, I believe, as with most Scripture there are many other meanings to this message that our Beloved wanted to teach us. One that’s very important is that of the debt we owe others, and how God chose a way to have that debt paid for us. When our Beloved, while on the cross, paid the price for all our mistakes, it had to include all our debt, or it’s not finished. Yet we know—He paid the price for us, for everything— because we never could.
“He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy” (Titus 3:5 AMP). The point is this: He saved us because we couldn’t save ourselves! He set it up this way so we would depend on Him. The old saying, “God helps those who help themselves” is not only stupid—it is unbiblical. Instead, He tells us in Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
It’s interesting that we are only allowed to boast in two things: two things only—first, “But HE WHO BOASTS IS TO BOAST IN THE LORD” (2 Corinthians 10:17). The second is, boasting about our weaknesses, and for good reason, “And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians12:9).
It is the pride of man, that we all know, which leads to utter destruction. Thinking we can do it alone, or even to try to do it on our own, without going to Him for help, is pride. It is not just us being “responsible” as many foolishly think and try to make us believe. Instead of working to pay off our debt and trying to do it alone as being a “good thing” and it a sign of our maturity—when it actually proves our spiritual immaturity.
What parent doesn’t know that it is the self-centered, immature little two-year-old who puts his shoes on backward but proudly wants no help!
Once again, our Heavenly Husband paid the price and made a way for us to live an abundant life, which includes being debt-free, pain-free, worry-free—since without this freedom we cannot enjoy the life that He said He overcame! “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]” (John 16:33 AMP).
How can any of us “be of good cheer” if we have a mountain of debt hanging over us?
How can any of us “be of good cheer” if we have a mountain of physical pain hanging over us?
How can any of us “be of good cheer” if we have a mountain of sin hanging over us?
How can any of us “be of good cheer” if we have a mountain of emotional pain hanging over us?
Having our “emotional pain gone” is a good place to build our faith as women. Have you found the secret of no more emotional pain dear one? You’ll find it with the same Person where we find relief for all our worries—in Him and in His love. His love is the greatest power on earth. It’s what never fails. “Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8). Also in 1 Corinthians 13:8 He gives us a clear promise: “Love never fails,” and when it’s HIS love, it will set you free and move the mountain of your emotional pain.
*If you’re still not free from emotional pain (which as women, is the first mountain to be moved), then I’d encourage you to go back to the first book in the Abundant Life Series, Finding the Abundant Life because emotional pain and baggage is too heavy to carry and leads to a host of consequences.
What makes us believe that our Heavenly Husband will not get us out of debt? It is because of the guilt that we did it to ourselves! True, you were totally irresponsible…yes, you knew better…you should have heeded the warnings. Does that mean you are excluded from your Husband helping you? My dear sweet bride, you couldn’t be any more wrong.
If this were true, then God would tell us, “Okay, here’s the way things are done. The blood that my Son shed will only pay for the sins that you did that you didn’t know were wrong—not the ones you did intentionally. The ones you did intentionally, those you knew were wrong, YOU will have to pay that debt yourself!”
Your reasoning might be saying, “Well that’s fair; I should have to pay.” But God is not a God who is fair: God is a God of justice. And more importantly, PRAISE GOD, He is a God of mercy. Mercy, which means He chooses “compassion and forgiveness shown toward us, even though it is within His power to punish or harm us” the very definition of mercy.
Think of it. He chose to bless us, the offender, with kindness and forgiveness, overcoming every power of sin over us. It is His disposition. It’s His nature to be compassionate, forgiving us. And this, dear bride, should be a welcomed event since it is preventing the most unpleasant from happening—a burden. By paying for all our sins, even those we deserve to have to pay, He lifts the distress of our burden, which reminds us of who we are in Him, His bride, and proves His love for us! Oh, to be His bride keeps me in complete and utter awe!
Without the burden, we are free to give Him the love He deserves from us—the devotion of Him being first in our lives, being our First Love. Not accepting His full payment for all our burdens, the Church is unable to experience the freedom, which leads to hearing these words, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love” (Revelations 2:4).
So then, the question is this, dearest bride, why would you or I even attempt to try to pay a debt we can’t pay for, especially when He has already paid for it? Think of it like this: What if He went on ahead to the best restaurant in town and paid for you to receive an extravagant meal. But instead of accepting it and enjoying it, and then thanking Him, praising Him and falling in love with Him even more for what He has done. Instead, you tell everyone after you’ve eaten that you can’t pay, you’re in debt, and make a plan to try to pay the cost yourself?
Believe it or not, there are some who would argue that salvation is just too simplistic and that if the Good News were true, if people are just forgiven, they would begin abusing their freedom by sinning even more. Yet, we know this is just simply not true. We know that the opposite is actually true. Once we really understand the magnitude of what He did by paying for our sins “while we were still sinners,” this understanding causes us to seek Him more and devote more of our love to Him. And in fact, due to His love, we can begin to “sin no more,” because it’s the natural process and it proves our love for Him—all due because of His love!
If my Husband truly paid for my debt, then that means ALL my debt—which includes my financial debts as well as any sins committed. Because if God’s grace is limited to only certain things, then we are all in trouble.
Thankfully, the truth is—His grace is limitless! And since He tells us to give our burdens to Him, while at the same time telling us to owe no man so that we are free to love them (because how can we honestly “love” anyone we are in debt to?). Then clearly, we can believe and wait with an expectancy that our Husband will move our mountain of debt if we simply believe He will and accept it from Him just as we accepted our salvation.
“Jesus answered them, Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, be taken up and cast into the sea, it will be done.
“And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and [really] believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:21–22 AMP).