Is it okay to splurge every year around the holidays?

Gift giving is a wonderful tradition, reflecting the gifts the Magi brought to the Christ Child (Matthew 2:11). Ask yourself, though, is it your gift to give or did you borrow it from the bank? Furthermore, do you find yourself buying gifts that you can't afford and giving them to people you don't particularly like? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you probably spend too much.

It is ironic that we now associate Christmas with spending mountains of money. Christmas, after all, celebrates the birth of Jesus, who was born into the lowliest of circumstances. Moreover, many of Christ's teachings relate to money and the problems that it can cause (1 Timothy 6:10).

Average credit card debt per household grew by 153 percent in the last 10 years. As a country, we now have $580 billion in revolving credit card debt. There are numerous passages relating to the borrowing of money. Proverbs 22:7 tells us, "The borrower is servant to the lender." As a nation we have submitted ourselves to slavery. Isaiah 24:1-3 gives an ominous warning to a people who cannot curb their appetite for credit.

With regard to the money you have each month, remember these four things: it all belongs to God (spend it accordingly); pay God first (give 10 percent to your church); pay yourself next (put 10 percent in your savings); live on the remaining 80 percent. Christmas is a wonderful time of year. Don't be reminded of it months later when you are still paying for it.

Taken from Adrian Rogers' weekly newspaper column. Used by permission. 2001, The Commercial Appeal.