Series: Fear vs Faith
This week: The Fear of Poverty
First, an overview of this new series. Our lives are gripped and many times crippled by our fears. Satan uses common fears to undermine our faith in the Lord. Often Jesus would say, “O you of little faith!” It has been said that there are over 365 scriptures that have some form of “fear not” in them – one for every day of the year! This is a battleground between the forces of evil and good, between Satan and God. We must not discount the damage that fear can bring to our minds, bodies and souls. So during this series, we are going to highlight the “Top 7 Fears” that are common to people everywhere. Let it be noted that there is a difference between “phobias” and “fears”. Our phobias are many (fear of snakes, darkness, heights, public speaking, etc.) and are more from the natural man. But fears are from within the soul and are the ones Satan feeds off it to destroy and discourage our faith.
Countdown of the Top 7 Fears begins with #7 – The Fear of Poverty.
On one hand, how can anyone living in the United States be in fear of this when compared to the rest of the world’s economies and lifestyles? So consider this fear as being defined more as the fear of not having enough; the fear of financial hardships; the fear of being deprived of resources both needed and wanted.
This is a REALTIY in our world. Never has a society had so many things to be fearful of. How many of us have not expressed some kind of thought patterns where we see ourselves being affected by homelessness, natural disasters, bankruptcy, foreclosure, loss of job, loss of ability to provide, health care issues, the demise of social security, not enough to take care of us in the retirement years. One author states, “We’re tied in Gordian knots over climate change fears, vaccine fears, bioterrorism, your kid passing his finals, cyberterrorism, grey hairs, the grid going dark, drivers who text, stock market collapse, gluten, debt, that guy eyeing your job, E.coli in packaged salads.”
The RESULT is fear that expands into the sin of WORRY. Yes, a sin. Jesus says in Matthew 6:25, “Do not worry.” And then describes this as a lack of faith! One definition of worry is “to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” In verb form, it means to fret, agonize, overthink, brood, panic, stew, get worked up, and to torment oneself. In noun form, it equates to anxiety, distress, uneasiness, restlessness, nervousness, agitation, edginess, tension, and stress. Satan uses these to go far beyond the element of being concerned and taking appropriate actions, to a sin that destroys the mind, body and soul. He elevates it above the faith that is God’s antidote to fear and worry.
Here are three steps to gird yourself with more faith than fear, all taken from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:25-34.
1. Trust God to PROVIDE. Matthew 6:26-30 (“..don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, and do his best for you?” MSG)
2. Trust God’s PRIORITIES. Matthew 6;31-33 (“What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.” MSG)
3. Trust God to PROTECT. Matthew 6:34 (“God will help you deal with whatever hard thingw comes up when the time comes.” MSG) It’s the concept of “We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future.”
Remember the words of Paul in Philippians 4:11-13: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”