Last week, Ruth shared an awesome post which interviewed her pastor regarding what he termed a “spirit of poverty”. Having been well-informed of this type of thing due to my own struggles with living in an impoverished household growing up, I thought it might be helpful to share a bit about what is helping me to exchange the spirit of poverty for a spirit of abundance.
Like Pastor Ian, I am still a work in progress regarding this. And Rick, dealing with his own spirit of poverty is still a work in progress too. But we have improved tremendously, and I’d like to share what steps have helped us and are helping us to heal in this area.
What is a Spirit of Abundance?
It took me a long time to figure out what a spirit of abundance meant. At first, I thought it meant simply being comfortable enough from an emotional standpoint to buy whatever we wanted regardless of our financial state. “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory”, right?
It took us awhile to learn the entire Word regarding finances and what abundance is in God’s eyes. God’s reason for wanting an abundant church lies largely in the fact that He wants us to have all that we need to spread the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Having a spirit of abundance means having an understanding that where God calls, so He equips, financially and otherwise. Yet there are keys to learning to have faith in that truth. Here are those keys from our experience:
Learning to Understand the True Nature of God
The world (and many churches) has spread the view of God as an angry dictator, waiting to strike people with lightning when they mess up and do wrong. However, the Word tells us something different. 1 John 4:8 tells us that “God is love”. Isaiah 53:6b tells us “And the Lord has laid on Jesus the iniquity of us all.”
Learning to understand God’s unconditional love for us, and learning to understand that punishment for our sins was already paid for by Jesus, and that Jesus has not come into the world to condemn the world but to save the world (John 3:17) has been vital in helping us to understand that God has no desire to punish us by making us live a life of poverty. God’s not against us having money, He’s against money having us, as the old saying goes. Once we realized this we were able to recognize the subconscious choices we made that kept us in debt and start making choices that improved our financial situation.
Understanding That it’s All God’s Money
For Christians, it’s important to remember that the money we make should be managed as stewards, not as owners. As our lives belong to Christ, so our money belongs to Him. As such, we learned to think “What Would Jesus Do” as we make budgeting and spending decisions. Running our financial decisions by the Lord with a consciousness of his opinion (based on the Word) helped us to learn to make value-based purchases.
Having a “Giver” Mindset and Not a “Taker” Mindset
A friend once told me that there are two types of people in the world: givers and takers. A “taker” mindset – a mindset that’s always looking to get something for nothing – breeds a spirit of poverty. A “giver” mindset – one that’s always searching for opportunities to bless others – breeds a spirit of abundance.
This powerful truth has changed our lives. Instead of seeking the material things of this world, we now focus on seeking how God would have us bless those we come in contact with. Thus, we focus on using our time, talents and money on giving as God directs. And we are seeing the differences in our finances on a positive note as we plant “seeds” in our community and our family, while seeking God’s will and His wisdom regarding our money. In the past, we sought only the benefit of our own financial situation because we were living with so much fear about not having enough.
For a long time we had the mindset of “once we have more, we’ll be in a better position to give me. However, in our experience it works the other way around. The more we seek to give (at God’s leading by focusing on giving) the better our finances become.
Overcoming a spirit of poverty does take work, but it can be done. As Pastor Ian has learned and as we have learned, it starts with understanding that we serve a loving God who wants our needs to be provided for. A thorough study of the four gospels will help get you on the road to discovery in that area.
Do you or someone you know have an abundance mindset? How has that mindset affected your life?
*Photo courtesy of Olearys