"All of it?" I asked with a little bit of trepidation. He was the father of four children and the husband of a very pregnant wife. I was mentally trying to fit them into our already filled household so that they would not end up on the street. Was this just a matter of God not providing on their behalf or was this a demonic attack?
There was an awkward silence that followed which I finally broke.
"What happened to all that money?" I asked the thirty-two year old man in front of me. My question caused tears to stream down his face and I felt terrible asking.
"I don't know. I just don't know."
Here is what happened. Tim had been in a car accident, had to stop working, and ended up foreclosing on his house. HIs wife worked for awhile, but was soon pregnant again with complications that required her to stay home. But God did not forget this young family. The insurance company gave Tim a sizable settlement that was five times the amount of money he made in a year. Six months later, it was all gone and they were back in the same situation they found themselves six months after his accident. If you could have been a mouse in Tim's pocket, you would have watched the money eek out toward bills, vacations, needed clothing, needed medical expenses, and many items that Tim had always dreamed of owning (cars, computers, sound equipment, video camera, and a motorcycle).
Was Tim experiencing bad luck? Did TIm just lack wisdom with money? Had God abandoned him? Was there sin in his life that the Lord was punishing?
My immediate suspicion was a spirit of poverty. What? A spirit of poverty? Yes. Let me explain.
Patterns of Poverty
Upon investigation, I found that a pattern emerged in Tim's life. Whenever there was a large financial gift or windfall of money, it always completely disappeared. It was often spent on "necessities" or things that Tim just couldn't live without. When the money was gone, many of the items purchased ended up breaking, being lost, or sold. It seemed to be a pattern that after the money was gone, there was nothing to show for it!
Walt was a completely different story. He had an ability to make wealth. Whenever he came across a little extra money, he put it aside and let it grow. When there was enough, he would invest in something with the money. Walt started businesses, bought homes, and sent his kids to college debt-free. He never made a truckload of money, but he managed it well.
Often, I could only imagine what Walt could have done with Tim's money (the insurance settlement, several inheritances, and many large tax refunds). Why did it seem to take so much more money to keep Tim afloat than it did Walt, and, at a lower standard of living?
The Monkey on our Backs
Why? Honestly, I don't know, which comes first. Does the lack of application of Biblical principles lead to a spirit of poverty or does a spirit of poverty make it hard to apply Biblical principles, even though the heart is willing.
When a Christian is living in a spirit of poverty, there is a continuous drain of money. It constantly disappears, flowing out the proverbial window. When money comes in, no matter how much, it slowly trickles or quickly pours away. There is nothing left to show for it. If this is a pattern in your life, then you may be operating in a spirit of poverty. Another clue is that no matter what the income, there never seems to be enough to pay the bills and take care of life's expenses. There is always a need for more money, more income, a higher credit limit.
The spirit of poverty is often accompanied by discouragement, frustration, and a lack of faith. But, God is bigger than this problem! He can help us to overcome in the area of finances.
How do we combat the spirit of poverty?
- Repent for all sin related to money use and money management (or lack of management!).
- Recognize patterns of behavior and patterns of reoccurring circumstances.
- Renounce all sin and spirit of poverty patterns.
- Resist the urge to continue these sins and patterns.
- Rejoice in God's Promises and Biblical Principles! Thank the Lord that they work and that they are true! Stand on His Promises and obey His Word!
"All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty," (Proverbs 14:23 NIV)
Shake that Spirit of Poverty off today!
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis