Looks can be deceiving. A preacher saw a homeless man sitting on a park bench, and felt pity towards him. As the preacher passed by, he pulled out a $20 bill from his wallet and handed it to the distressed man, saying, “Never despair.”

The next day, the homeless man ran up to the preacher and gave him $60. The startled preacher said, “What are you doing? You don’t owe me any money. I just gave you the money so I could help you.”

“No, sir. You gave me great advice. It was the fourth horse race, and Never Despair came in first, 6 to 1 odds.”

A Christian is debt-free — and should live like it. I am not referring to financial debt, but spiritual debt. We should never despair because our sin debt has been paid in full by Jesus Christ on the cross. As a result of this payment, the power of sin in our lives was broken, and we became children of God. Our bodies have become the temple of the Holy Spirit, and we have inherited spiritual blessings from our Father.

If this is our spiritual status, then we should be careful not to deceive others by our looks. Debt-free individuals do not live in despair because they have given up hope. Their faces are not defined by lines of worry and fear, but by a sense of calm. If worry, fear, and despair have overcome you, then I encourage you to revisit Romans 8. It will bring a fresh sense of joy and self-worth to your life.

Perhaps your faith in God has been jarred by a family member’s premature death. As you fight through tears, you wonder why God allowed this to happen. Never despair. The same God who set you free from your spiritual debt will see you through the most difficult moments in your life — just trust Him.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.