Fear of Poverty

August 6, 2018 // Denise Boggs

The question, “Where does my provision come from?” must be answered in every believer’s heart.
This question must be settled for you to be at total peace as you are waiting on God’s promises to become your reality. God is your provider, but, if you grew up in lack or poverty you may find yourself making hasty decisions out of the fear of poverty.

Symptoms of the fear of poverty include:
• Uncertainty in decisions and decision making
• All or nothing swings
• Compulsive spending
• Striving to pay bills
• Lack of budgeting (fear of the reality)

If you haven’t resolved the fear of poverty mindset, you may find yourself swinging between all or nothing in areas pertaining to financial decisions. It can become a predictable cycle like this: You’re out of money, work real hard, make money, spend compulsively, and then you’re out of money again. This cycle has to be recognized and then can be broken through budgeting. The fear of poverty can be overcome, but first the “all or nothing” way of handling things has to be broken.

Poverty does not have to be your future, even if that’s how you grew up. You can resolve and overcome the fear of poverty as you realize it’s much more than a money problem. The truth is, our provision comes from God. In Philippians 4:19 we can read this assurance. “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The moment we are born into God’s family, provision is released from heaven simply because we are His children. His provision has been released from heaven like a mighty rushing river, but He requires us to handle money as His son or daughter and be good stewards of every penny He gives us.

The second truth: the fear of poverty is a heart issue. Just as a log jam can block the natural flow of a river, a block in our heart can cause us to not receive the full blessing of God. I know in my own life, God was faithful time and time again to release the river of blessings, but I could only embrace a trickle. Striving was my mode of operation, so receiving without the striving didn’t seem right. My cycle was that the fear of poverty was the motivating force compelling me to Work-Work-Work, striving until I crashed. I would then wake up to the fear of poverty and start all over the next day.

Growing up, I judged my parents during the lack and vowed I would do better for my own kids. If you experienced lack as a kid you may have judged your parents like I did. As children, we don’t know how to view lack and if it’s not explained to us that God will provide what we need, we can form a vow during the time of lack. Think about it, kids are kids and they want what they want. They don’t necessarily need these things, but they sure want it. If you were angry for not having name brand tennis shoes or just not having all the clothes you wanted, you may have made a judgement out of your anger. It’s what we do with anger that makes the difference in the outcome. If the anger caused you to judge your parents for the lack, that judgement formed a log jam in your heart along with the unforgiveness.

Resentment issues of unforgiveness, anger, and judgment creates a log jam that blocks you from believing God is the provider (Matthew 7:1,2, Matthew 6:14). In a sense, with the vow, you’re on your own. You depend on yourself and what you can do to make more money. Instead of putting in a hard day’s work and trusting God to bless it, you can’t rest at the end of the day. There’s always more you should have done. The fear of poverty creates an endless cycle of striving. As you continue striving to build your career you don’t even think you have time to stop and examine your motives to realize that the fear of poverty is the driving force.

Stopping to examine your heart, and asking God to reveal the log jams that are blocking His flow of blessings, can be the most important financial decision you ever can make. The fear of poverty can be hidden from your conscious mind as it daily feeds you with negative thoughts about your worth and value. As a child of God you must embrace your full worth daily and resist these negative thoughts. The answer is to understand your worth through your identity as God’s child, and not based on your upbringing. This can be challenging, though. Your parents may have said something like, “Don’t try to live above your raising.” These statements are not based on the Truth found in God’s Word. These lies need to be recognized and replaced with the Truth. Then, you can examine your heart and deal with the way you judged your parents for their financial decisions. Repent for each judgement specifically. Surround yourself with people of faith who can help you live in truth and hold you accountable.

Why would you need accountability? The prayer of repentance for judging a parent will certainly cleanse your heart, but your mind will still need to be transformed. If you judged your parents when you were 10 years-old and vowed you would not be like them, the vow was a snare to your soul (Proverbs 20:25). That means you’ve been stuck living in the snare of the vow all of these years, thinking, feeling, and acting according to the vow. That’s what a stronghold is. Accountability helps to keep you from returning to that familiar stronghold. If you have lived there since you were 10, you don’t even know how to live and function outside of it. Accountability can help you learn a new way of life, apart form self-reliance and self-preservation.

The last issue is to repent of fear. Fear is a spirit that is against God. Scripture tells us that God does not given us the spirit of fear. God gives us power to resist fear. His love takes care of us but we also need a sound mind to resist making decisions out of fear. You must embrace the Truth of God’s love daily, the Truth that He is a loving Father and He knows what you have need of. This Truth will give you a sound mind to resist fear. Every thought directed by a spirit of fear leads you away from God and His promises. A decision directed by fear is not a sound decision. You have been conditioned to think according to the stronghold, and the spirit of fear has convinced you there’s no other way. So, it’s good to ask someone to hold you accountable until you are able to live according to the Truth of God’s love and provision, and make sound decisions from the Truth. Decisions made from a sound mind are not swayed by circumstances, they are sound because you are choosing to stand on the promises of God.

The fear of poverty can be hidden from your thoughts, but can still be daily feeding you with doubt and unbelief. You believe the answer is always work harder, be smarter, and find another great idea to advance yourself. God is our provider, and we must examine our heart and deal with vows and judgements, or we will continue to strive and only receive a trickle instead of the full flow of the provision of God.

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