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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 23 : Fear God, Not Man | Day 158

Subdue Fear of Poverty!

Having sufficient food, clothing, and shelter is necessary for our existence. Therefore, it is understandable that poverty would be a common fear. Paul reminds us, “Don't worry over anything ... tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer..." (Philippians 4:6—J. B. Phillips Translation). We can overcome the fear of poverty by recognizing that God personally tends to the needs of His children. He wants our focus to remain on Him, and He wants our trust in His faithfulness to grow.

“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

Fear of poverty can be a symptom of lack of generosity, since God promised, “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom” (Luke 6:38). (This does not sound like poverty.) Paul also affirms that if we purpose to be a generous giver, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work" (II Corinthians 9:8).

Generosity is contagious. We see this demonstrated in the early Church. Believers sold their possessions and gave the money to the apostles, who then distributed to those in need. The result was that no one lacked basic provisions. (See Acts 4:34.)

Demonstrating faith by giving generously to the needs of others is a weapon that can conquer the fear of poverty.

A stingy person will fear poverty and the future because he will never have enough money to satisfy all of his wants. His trust is not in the Lord's ability to provide for his daily needs but rather it is in his ability to store up treasures for an uncertain future.

George Mueller observed the hoarding practices of the believers in his day and was grieved by their lack of faith in God. He wanted the world to know that God could be taken at His word and could be trusted to meet physical needs. Therefore, he set out to establish orphanages that were funded solely by the provision of God. Can you imagine caring for more than 10,000 orphans without a fixed source of income and without asking anyone but God for money?

His name went down in church history as a man of great faith. Often he would send significant sums of money to the ministry of Hudson Taylor in China! He easily could have said, "I need this for the orphans," but he knew that he served a God Who had enough money to provide abundantly for both ministries.

Let's allow God to grow our faith by trusting Him to provide for all of our needs and by seeking opportunities to be His channel of provision to the needs of others.

“Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard