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Do People Have to Be Poor in Order to Be Holy?

An Ugandan woman holds her child as she holds a small bag containing kernels of beans that were strewn in the brush as bags of food relief ruptured on impact after they were air dropped by a World Food Program (WFP) aircraft in the Olilim camp for Internally displace people in the Lira District of northern Uganda, 19 October 2007.

It has been taught for many years that holiness and poverty go hand in hand. The apostle Paul said, “I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound.” Then he added, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:12-13).

You can be just as holy when you are financially comfortable as you can be when you are poor. Perhaps it is easier to cry out to God for help when you are in need. But if Christians sanctify God in their hearts ahead of material concern, they should be able to live above their circumstances whether that includes prosperity or poverty

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Poverty is a curse, not a blessing. It is certainly not equated with righteousness. It comes sometimes because of the horrors of war, sometimes because of unjust or unwise government, sometimes because of oppression by the greedy and the ruthless, sometimes because of disobedience to God’s commandments, and sometimes because of lack of knowledge of God’s principles of blessing. Sometimes a transition from one of God’s destinations to another brings temporary poverty. Sometimes temporary poverty follows a satanic attack or a serious and unexplainable calamity. Whatever its cause, poverty is not equated with holiness.

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