Overcoming the Poverty Idea
(Published as a 12-page booklet at least as early as 1907)
Every lesson of Scripture illustrates some phase of mental action and can be applied to each individual life according to its most pressing need at the moment of its perception.
The conflicts between the Children of Israel and the Philistines represent the conflicts that are always taking place in your mind and that are reflected in your body and affairs.
If you are ignorant of the laws of mental action, you get but the mere shell of the lesson in reading Scripture, and it is not of much real benefit. If, however, you consider that the characters in the narrative represent ideas in your own mind and if you follow them out in their various movements, you will solve all the problems of your life through a study of Scriptures. This does not mean that a study of the written Word alone will solve for you the problems of life, but you will see Scriptures as the outward symbol of an inward condition and, through its study and its application, you will come into an apprehension of the real Scripture, the Bible of the ages, the Book of Life within your own consciousness.
In everyone may be found the conflicting ideas represented by the Children of Israel and the Philistines. They are pitted against each other, and the conflict goes on night and day. We call these warring thoughts Truth and error. We stand on the side of Truth and know that its thoughts are the chosen of the Lord, the Children of Israel, but the error thoughts seem so formidable that we quake and cringe in their presence.
We know that Truth must eventually prevail but we say that error is so large and strong that we cannot now cope
with it — that we will do so when we have gathered more strength.
Thoughts are not all of the same importance. Some are large and strong and some are weak and small. There are aggressive, domineering thoughts that parade themselves and brag about their power and, with fearful threats of disaster, keep us frightened into submission to their unrighteous reign.
These domineering thoughts of error have one argument that they impress upon us at all times, and that is, fear of results should we dare to meet them and to oppose openly their reign. This fear of opposing error, although we know it to be false, is woven into our whole mental fabric. This fear is portrayed by the spear of Goliath, and the narrative most aptly states, "And the staff of his spear was like a weaver's beam" (I Sam. 17:7).
The first step to rid your mind of this giant bugaboo is to get a clear perception of what your rights are as a child of God. You know that you should not be under the dominion of anything in the heavens above or in the earth below. You are given dominion over all. If you are not exercising that dominion, now is the time to begin. You will never find a better time nor a more propitious state of consciousness. If you are in fear of the boastings of this brawny Philistine, seek out the way to "give the dead bodies . . . unto the birds of the heavens." There is a way, a righteous way, and it is the duty of every one of God's children to find it. This way is graphically set forth in the 17th chapter of I Samuel.
The name David means "the beloved of the Lord" and David represents your righteous perception of your privileges as a child of the living God. You are not a slave to anything or to anybody. You cannot be alarmed by the threat
of this god of mammon. You have the perception of Truth and you sling it at the center of his carnal thinking, which is the forehead.
This formidable shield and armor of brass do not intimidate you, because you know that they are empty show, that the right idea will reach the vulnerable part in spite of them and the braggart will go down.
Whole armies of good people, righteous people, Christians, the Children of Israel, believe that this power cannot be overcome. They are looking for something larger and stronger in a material way to be brought forth for its destruction. They forget that "the battle is Jehovah's."
Are you cringing in the sight of this Goliath? Does he come out daily and frighten you with his display of strength and his threats? It does not have to be so. There is a little idea in your mind that can slay him: the perception of your place in Divine Mind. You doubtless have not considered it of much importance. You have kept it off on the mountainside of your spirituality shepherding your innocent thoughts. You have not considered it equal to coping with the affairs of active life. Now let this David come forth. Get a clear idea of where you really belong in creation and what your privileges are. Then that boasting Philistine will cause your perception of justice and equity to say hot words of Truth. You will ask, "Who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God?"
Do you think it possible that God has so ordained it that men cannot escape from the servitude of hard conditions? Verily not. This would not be justice, and who dare say that God is not just?
No, it is your privilege at any time to step boldly out and to defy the giant of the Philistines. The Lord has been with us in slaying the fear of sickness and of sin — the bear
and the lion of David — and why should He not be with us in slaying this fear of poverty with which the mammon champion so unsparingly whips us?
"The battle is Jehovah's," and He will be with us, and we shall be delivered "out of the hand of this Philistine."
The weapons of the Lord's man are not carnal; he does not wage war after the manner of the world. He does not use steel, brass armor, and coats of mail. These are the protection of selfishness and the weapons of oppression.
The beloved of the Lord is the devout shepherd David, who goes forth in the simplicity of justice, knowing that his own innocence is his defense. His weapons are not those accepted by the world as equal to the occasion — the shepherd's sling and its smooth stones. These are the words of Truth, and it is the will that sends them forth. They are disdained by the Philistine but they do their work, and the great mass of materiality goes down before their sure aim. So the Lord has this day given this financial fear in all its phases into our hands. We know that it is not true that man is servile to the money idea. He does not have to slave for his brother man and cringe to him in order to obtain this universal servant of all. No, we are not bound to this wheel of work day in and day out that the god of mammon may be appeased on his own terms.
We are the children of the living God. The loving Father is here today and always, right in our midst, and it is our privilege to claim Him as our support and resource on conditions and terms that He will reveal to us when we have acknowledged Him and dismissed the fear of mammon.
The five smooth stones chosen by David out of the brook represent five irrefutable statements of Truth. These five statements, slung from a mind confident of itself and its
cause, will suddenly crush the forehead of Goliath, error's giant. These statements are covered by the following affirmations and denials:
I am the beloved of the Lord, and He will be with me in all my righteous words, and they shall accomplish that for which I send them forth.
I cannot be deprived of my own and I dissolve in my own mind and in the minds of all men the belief that what is mine can be withheld from me.
My own shall, by the sure and certain law of God, come to me, and I now welcome it in the presence of this clear perception of Truth.
I am under obligations to no one. God, my opulent Father, has poured out to me all resource, and I am a mighty river of affluence and abundance.
My bounty is so great that men marvel at its sumptuous abundance. I own nothing selfishly, yet all things in existence are mine to use and, in divine wisdom, to bestow upon others.
Preceding Entry: The Household of Faith 239-245: "They Say, and Do Not"
Following Entry: The Household of Faith 251-256: Faith Precipitations