I've been very burdened lately for God's people, specifically in the area of finances. I see so many precious people being tricked by a spirit of poverty–a demonic force that wants to rob God's sons and daughters of blessing and provision.
And beloveds, it's time to kick the spirit of poverty to the curb.
What does the spirit of poverty do?
It deceives, deludes, and blinds God's people. It eclipses the truth of God's Word with lies straight from the enemy–lies that say that somehow poor is better, or poor is more holy, or poor is … (insert anything good here).
It often works hand-in-hand with discouraging spirits, also. Anything the devil can do to get you down, he will.
But the good news is that God is stronger, and Papa God says He's going to bless you.
One of my favorite preachers, Randy Caldwell, eloquently points out that being poor is always a curse in the Bible. The first time I ever heard him say that was the first time I had heard that truth spoken so clearly and understandably from anyone, anywhere.
And he's right.
ALL of God's Word consistently reveals God as our good, good Father who wants to bless us abundantly.
God's Word reveals Him to be the Source of every good and perfect gift; a generous Giver, and the Provider of abundant life and of everything necessary for life and godliness.
1 Corinthians 2:9 says:
“But as it is written: ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.'”
And then James 1:17 says: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
And: “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit“ (Psalm 51:12).
Then there's Jesus: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
And how about: “And the Lord will grant you plenty of goods, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your ground, in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you.
The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them” (Deuteronomy 28:11-13).
(Emphases mine on all Scriptures above.)
There are Scriptures telling us that God wants to bless His people with abundance throughout the entirety of Scripture. I don't have space to quote them all, and this post isn't a lesson on blessing.
Related: Read this Prophetic Word About God's Provision for more about how God has been challenging me in this area recently.
This post is about how to identify a poverty spirit so you can GET RID OF IT if you've embraced it.
Because God's people perish for lack of knowledge. If you don't know that you've let the enemy deceive you, you won't know that you need to get free … and you'll never see the change you desire to see.
So let's look at 7 signs of a spirit of poverty:
(And if you see any of these in yourself, don't get all condemned about it. Just:
- Speak out loud that you renounce agreement with the spirit of poverty;
- Speak out loud that you receive and embrace God's abundance and prosperity instead;
- Command that spirit of poverty to leave you in Jesus' name; and
- Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you where that was, and to teach you the truth of His Word about His desire to bless and provide for you.
Ok? Here goes:
Sign #1 of a spirit of poverty: Chronic, long-term lack.
Lots of people have been through slim times financially for brief periods. However, if you're stuck in a chronic, long-term pattern of lack, odds are very good that a spirit of poverty (or even of limitation) may be oppressing you.
How to nip it in the bud? Do this:
- After you've prayed as per above, begin to look up Scriptures about abundance and provision.
- Read said Scriptures. Meditate on them.
- Pray over each of God's promises aggressively.
- Get them deeeeeeeep into your mind, soul, and spirit.
- Speak them out loud over yourself.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing comes by the Word of God (Romans 10:17). If you have been in lack a long time, stretch your faith and dig deeply into prayer over God's promises to bless you. As you transform your mindset through God's Word, the enemy won't be able to tempt you or rob you of your faith for reward and provision.
Sign #2 of a spirit of poverty: Thinking you have to give your work away.
(Pulling soapbox over so I can stand on it awhile.) 🙂
This is one of my BIGGEST PET PEEVES that I see with Christians in business. Guys ‘n' gals, in the corporate world, we know our work has value. Nobody's coming in from 8 AM – 5 PM every day because they think they shouldn't be paid. We want to be paid, and we want to be paid more. #ThankYouVeryMuch
And yet Christians do this thing all the time where they think they should give their work away.
Oh, yeah. Especially Christians in ministry.
The result? Your giving everything away means you're not earning the income with which God is trying so hard!! to bless you. It means you're slaving away blessing people, ministering to people, and providing for others so they can INVEST NOTHING in themselves. And like it or not, YOUR ATTITUDE about your work devalues your work in your consumer's eyes. It makes your work worth nothing in their estimation–because your work is worth nothing in your estimation.
So I don't do that. You all know I don't do that. 🙂 I had to stop podcasting because podcasting was a bad business move for me. I spent hours recording, editing, adding artwork, uploading, writing show notes, and promoting the podcast; then I had to pay to host the podcast; and what's the result? I'm giving work away free.
No, thank you.
It's about stewardship and honoring the Holy Spirit–or not.
I'm not being arrogant here, when I say I'm not going to give away work for free in general.
I do occasionally do a limited giveaway or two at Christmas; and I do offer a free gift to my email subscribers–the Supernatural Lifestyle Toolkit. I don't do those because I have to or even feel obligated to. I do them because I want to bless people. Being a blessing once in awhile is not a sign of the spirit of poverty; living generously is simply the Christ-like thing to do.
But this IS about stewardship. If I feel like I am not allowed to charge for my work–or that people won't pay for my work or subscribe to my message–then I am saying that the anointing and message the Holy Spirit has placed on my life is worth nothing.
And that, my friend, is an insult to the Holy Spirit.
Another key point here: If I gave away everything for free, I would also be robbing you of a blessing. People value what they have to invest in. And if something costs you nothing, you'll care nothing about it … and I have actually done you a disservice, because the revelation contained in the teaching/book/ministry I gave away could have changed your life forever.
Yet because people demonstrate by their actions that their messages have no value in their own estimation, people get robbed of transforming change and revelation, because the message of “no value” is communicated loud and clear.
That's why I've seen guest preachers who, before they preach, will offer their products to the congregation. They'll hold up a USB drive and say:
“There are 50 sermons on here. You can purchase one at the back table for $500. If you want somebody else's, you can buy it for $75. But if you want this revelation God gave me, it's $500.”
And they sell everything they have.
- They know their message and work is valuable.
- They know that the hell they went through to get that revelation is valuable, and that you might not have to go through that same hell if you can learn from their mistakes.
- They know that that revelation cost them years of fasting until their hearts beat out of rhythm and their bodies almost shut down. Years of praying at 1 AM until their knees were bruised. Years of tears and snot cried into their carpets, until the carpet is ruined and discolored.
And you can reap the benefit and blessing of all that–IF you esteem their work as valuable and honor it by investing in yourself.
THAT is why I personally place high value on my work, and I don't feel obligated to give it away. I don't mind blessing somebody at Christmas, or blessing my partners, subscribers, etc with a free gift. But I don't embrace poverty because I was created in the image of God, and my life and message have value.
To sum up Sign #2: YOU have value. Your message has value.
The call God has placed on your life has value. The mess you have been through in order to get the message you carry has VALUE. And YOUR life was ordained for such a time as this, because THE WORLD NEEDS YOUR MESSAGE.
And you have value.
So whether you're a babysitter, a work-at-home mom, a CEO, an artist, a professional athlete, a writer, a preacher, or anything else, you have value. Don't feel that you have to give your work away, ok?
Sign #3 of a spirit of poverty: Refusing to pay others for their labor.
First Timothy 5:18 says:
The person who does the work deserves to be compensated for it. This is true whether you dig ditches, wash dishes, cook, program computers, write, or preach for a living.
So if you have someone do work for you? Be prepared to pay them. Honor God's Word enough to pay them.
They might not expect to be paid; I know that I've been paid before when I didn't expect to be paid. I've done work many times just to help somebody out, or just because I was delighted to do it. And still had people pay me, even though I was just helping out.
Was I surprised? Yes! Absolutely. Would I have done it without pay? Yes!
But that doesn't negate the truth of God's Word that says: When we have somebody work for us, they are worthy of their hire.
For that reason, I've begun to pay people who contribute to this blog. Would they write for free? In many cases, yes. Writers just do that for each other. But I got convicted about it because of this verse:
When I went to Nicaragua recently, I asked my friend Bobbi to share with you. She would have done it for free, because she was just doing me a favor.
But you know what? I got convicted about it because I like to be paid for my work, so I felt like I should pay her too.
So I did. I also paid the other ladies who have written for this blog lately. Why? I valued their work, and I wanted you to hear their words. It took them valuable time to write for me, and a workwoman is worthy of her hire.
And I haven't suffered for it in the least, and I'm SUPER-GLAD I paid them.
Now, I have some other people who are helping me right now by translating, and they have refused payment because they genuinely just want to bless me and participate in the Kingdom work that we're all doing through this blog. And you know what? I'm grateful for them. I receive that blessing, and I believe God will honor them and bless them for sowing into me like that.
But, I still offered to pay them. 🙂
So. Beloveds. If you have people help you, remember the words of Jesus. Do you want people to pay you when you work? Then pay them when they work. And I promise you that God will multiply back to you the honor you sow towards others by honoring THEIR work, time, anointing, and message.
Why is not paying others for their work a sign of the spirit of poverty?
Because it's deception by a demonic spirit which is trying to rob you of a blessing. If you won't pay others for their work, then the way Kingdom economy works is that God can't bless you the way He wants to.
But if you DO honor others and give them their due, God can do the same for you.
To make a long story short: The enemy doesn't want you to pay others because he doesn't want YOU to be paid.
So hand it over, dear. You'll be glad you did. I promise. 🙂
Sign #4 of a spirit of poverty: Not tithing or offering to the Lord.
Everything in heaven and earth belongs to God. Psalm 24:1 says:
The earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.”
And one of my FAVORITE passages in the whole Bible–1 Chronicles 29:10-13–says:
Therefore David blessed the Lord before all the assembly; and David said:
‘Blessed are You, Lord God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever.
Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head over all.
Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name.'”
It's all His. All the money; all the real estate; all the people; all the gold, silver, jewels, cars, houses, animals, trees, and everything else belong to God.
And He asks us for a minimum of 10% in the Old Testament. Malachi 3:8-12 says:
Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.
You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,' says the Lord of hosts, ‘If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.
‘And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,' says the Lord of hosts; ‘And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land,' says the Lord of hosts.”
For those of you who prefer the New Testament (NT) standard to the Old Testament one, here's the NT standard (hint: selling everything):
Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44-45).
When we refuse to tithe and offer to the Lord, we are yielding to the lies and delusions of the enemy which state that the money actually belongs to us.
But the money doesn't belong to us, and we have no right to steal it. We are merely stewards. And when we steward God's money well, He can and will bless us.
The Hebrew meaning of the tithing blessing is that He will open the windows of Heaven and pour out such a blessing THAT IT FILLS UP ALL THE NEED, until there is no more need. Isn't that cool? So if we will obey His Word by tithing and offering, God can fulfill His promises to bless us. (All His promises come with conditions.)
But the spirit of poverty tells you that we don't have to tithe and offer–all because it doesn't want us to be blessed or have the devourer (the devil) rebuked off our lives.
Do you see the evil conspiracy around this not-tithing thing? It's heinous! Not tithing and offering is a trick from the devil. If you want to be blessed, punch that spirit of poverty out and tithe and give to the Lord no matter what.
I know it's hard sometimes. I've given away my last $2 before. I've had an empty wallet and not known where my next provision was coming from. I know.
But you know what? EVERY time, I gave anyway. I tithed anyway. And Papa God has ALWAYS provided for me–and He's never been late either. 🙂
Ok. ‘Nuff said about that. 🙂 Are you still with me?
Sign #5 of a poverty spirit: Resenting the wealthy.
This is a short one. Just use this as a thermometer, if you will. If you resent the wealthy, you have a poverty spirit. If, on the other hand, you're happy for the wealthy and glad that they're wealthy, that is a good thing.
I've heard SO many people in my life say horrible things about the wealthy.
Sometimes I've heard people talk about XYZ specific person–saying this one or that one must be dishonest since they've done well for themselves. Or they just say horrible things about wealthy people in general–saying that they're mean, or stingy, etc etc etc.
Give me a break.
Some of the nicest people I've ever met are also some of the wealthiest.
God tends to bless people who are nice, who obey Him, who do good, who give generously, and who make wise decisions all their lives. And people like that often develop some measure of wealth, whether over a few years or over a lifetime.
Just to be clear: I don't know a single mean, wealthy person–but I do know tons of really sweet, wealthy people. The most generous, friendliest people I know, actually, are the wealthiest.
And I'm as happy for them as I can be.
I'm thrilled that they live in beautiful homes. I'm thrilled that they get to travel. I'm thrilled that they are blessed. I'm thrilled that God has rewarded them for a lifetime of faithfulness.
And since I can be happy for them, God can bless me too–because I don't hold resentment or jealousy in my heart toward wealthy people.
But you know what? If I held hatred or resentment in my heart toward them, I would actually have developed a theology that says “Wealth is bad. Wealth is offensive.” And you can't attract wealth if you think wealth is bad.
So if you despise wealth and wealthy people, please: get free of that resentment, unforgiveness, AND JEALOUSY/ENVY (because jealousy is the core of the issue, really). You won't have the faith to believe God for yourself until you get free, so you can start believing that WEALTH IS GOOD.
Say it with me: “Wealth is good. Wealth is a blessing from the Lord.” 🙂
Sign #6 of the spirit of poverty: A habit of making poor financial decisions.
This is another sign to use as a thermometer or barometer (whichever kind of meter you prefer). 🙂 If you have a habit of making poor financial decisions, you could be under the influence of a poverty spirit.
I'm not going to go into detail about this one, because you know perfectly well what poor financial decisions look like. Spending more than you earn. Wasting money. Going into debt. All of these decisions, and many other types of decisions, will keep you poor. They prevent you from getting your financial head above water and keeping it there.
The best way I've found to fix this? Educate yourself.
I HIGHLY recommend Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover (affiliate link).
I first read The Total Money Makeover after I had been working in the corporate world a few years, but I didn't have a handle on how to really get ahead financially yet. I had some credit card debt, a variable-interest-rate second mortgage (purchase money mortgage) that was killing me, and zero savings. Financial fear was always hanging over my head.
But this book changed everything. It's moving, Biblical, inspirational, transparent, and PRACTICAL. Dave gives baby steps you take in order to get out of financial chaos and into financial freedom.
And within a few days–literally–of reading this book and starting to work Dave's baby steps, I had my first $500 emergency fund I had ever had in my life. I got out of credit card debt after that, and have never gone back. God has been so good.
But in order to get ahead financially, I had to educate myself.
See, the enemy doesn't want you to study and show yourself approved unto God. The enemy doesn't want you to understand how tithing and blessing are connected. The enemy doesn't want you to understand how sowing and reaping work in personal finance.
Because the enemy wants you to be, and stay, poor.
But if you will make a point to learn as much as you can about money! Then, oh, then, beloved … everything can change!
You won't know how to bring in extra money until you learn about how odd jobs work in today's virtual/solopreneur economy. But as soon as you learn about how to start a home-based business–whether you're a seamstress, Ebay reseller, blogger, or day care owner–then the sky is the limit!
You won't know how to save for retirement until you learn what a mutual fund is, and how to diversify your portfolio. But once you learn the wonder of dollar-cost averaging, the sky's the limit!
You won't learn how to get out of debt until you learn how to make a spending and debt-elimination plan. But once you do … you guessed it! The sky is the limit!
You can change your financial decisions and defeat the devil in many ways by simply educating yourself! When you learn about money, you'll become empowered to choose the path that will get you to your long-term goals.
So go for it! You can do it!
Sign #7 of a spirit of poverty: Criticizing someone for spending money they have.
“That money was wasted on that nice ____. It should have been given to the Kingdom.”
“I don't think that church should have built that (swimming pool, giant metal cross, arcade, whatever) on their property. What a waste of money.”
“Well, they just travel all the time. They probably spend all their money traveling, and have nothing left to put their kids in a decent school.”
Do any of these sound familiar?
For your sake, I hope not. Because EVERY time, without fail, that I have ever heard someone making critical comments like this, the following two things have been true:
- The person making the comment has been extremely poor, with a long and unfortunate history of not thriving.
- The party that made the purchase did so with money they had to spend, and they felt released by God to do it.
The reason I say this is a sign of the spirit of poverty is because you can put two and two together and come up with four.
If you see people in chronic lack continuing to criticize others' financial decisions, it doesn't take long before you notice that criticism of this sort is demonic and must be tied to the person's own lack.
Why do I say it's demonic? Because it's judging their motives. There's no judging of their financial status; it's judging that their hearts weren't right when they made the purchase. Statements like the ones above are actually saying, “This person's priorities aren't right because they didn't do what I think they should do, and I'm making the decision that they weren't right with God.”
And we have no right to do that.
We SHOULD absolutely discern good from evil; yes. If a church is spending money buying lottery tickets, go ahead and criticize that all you want. It doesn't line up with the Word of God (which says that wealth hastily gained will dwindle, but he who gathers little by little will increase) (Proverbs 13:11). Playing the lottery is also bad math–which equals bad stewardship and no wisdom–which is clearly against God's standards.
But if someone isn't in sin, but is just using their money in a way that you disapprove of–and you're in the habit of criticizing them–please, stop it!
If you aren't sure whether or not you do this, ask a trusted friend. Ask a spouse. Ask someone who will tell you the truth.
You might even want to ask them if they feel like they have to justify their purchases when they tell you about something new they have acquired. (Ouch!)
Bottom line: The way someone spends the money for which they are responsible is their business. The way a church or organization spends the money they have is between them, God, and their public auditors. Leave it that way. 🙂
Ok, the hard part is over. Thanks for bearing with me on that one! 🙂
So what do you do if you see any of these signs of the poverty spirit in yourself?
Here are several things I'd encourage you to do:
- Pray. Ask the Lord to show you any sin in your own heart.
- Repent of anything about which He convicts you.
- Ask the Lord to show you any thought patterns you have that are too low, too base.
- Ask Him to show you any ways in which you have come into agreement with the poverty spirit.
- Ask Him to show you any hindrances in your heart that keep you from receiving Papa God's abundant blessing.
- Educate yourself about how money works in today's economy.
- Educate yourself from the pages of Scripture about how money works in God's Kingdom economy.
Then begin to aggressively follow God's plan for your finances. Seek Him in prayer. Pray about your finances, and pray for wisdom. Follow God's instructions as written in His Word.
And ask Him to help you build your faith for His abundance and total shalom–the Hebrew word meaning “nothing missing, nothing broken.”
Does this message speak to your heart today? Do you feel the Lord showing you some ways in which you find freedom from the poverty spirit? If so, please leave a comment below. I'd love to hear from you!
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