Hoarding and Fear: Signs of the Poverty Spirit


Where is the line between wanting to save money and having a poverty spirit? How do you know if you’re stewarding your resources wisely or if you’re thinking in an unhealthy, unbiblical way?

Well-meaning believers have asked me, “Do I have a poverty spirit if I clip coupons?” Obviously, the answer is no. When we decide to save our money, we’re planning ahead. We’re putting money aside and taking care of our assets: clothes, vehicles, homes or apartments, our physical bodies, etc. We are stewarding what the Lord has given us and managing it in a godly way.

Clipping coupons, shopping for the best price, and waiting for the item to go on sale are not evidence of a poverty spirit—unless we are doing these things out of fear.

If we are listening to an internal voice that constantly warns, “You’re never going to have enough; you’re going to run out,” anxiety will grow within us, which is a sign of a poverty spirit.

A poverty spirit or mindset is a way of perceiving our lives, surroundings, provision, and protection in terms of lack. It can drive us to irrational behavior, where we begin to fill our homes with junk that just needs to be thrown away.

What Does Stewardship Look Like?

A popular story in the New Testament illustrates biblical stewardship very well.

One day while Jesus is talking to His disciples, thousands of spiritually hungry people gather around them. So He begins to preach.

Several hours later, the disciples come to Jesus and say, “Hey, we need to send the crowds away, because they’re hungry and we don’t have any resources. We don’t have anything to feed them.”

“I want you to give them what you have,” Jesus replies. “What do you have?”

They take inventory and realize they have a couple of fish and some bread from a little boy’s lunch. Many of us know this story: Jesus blesses the meal, breaks the loaves, and gives the food to the disciples to hand out. The Bible says that thousands of people ate from this miracle of multiplication.

This story is a clear picture of how God adds to what we have and expands it according to His supernatural powers, co-laboring with our natural abilities.

But the story doesn’t end here, and this is my point: Jesus instructs the disciples to go back and collect the pieces left over and save them for a later time.

That is a powerful lesson on biblical stewardship. Jesus, who can literally make food out of anything, still stewards what He has. He collects it and teaches His disciples this lesson: Don’t be afraid to save and steward what God has added to you. Use it for the kingdom at another time.

When we’re trying to save money, we are wisely stewarding a limited resource. But if we are acting in fear, or if we’re hoarding materials and clinging to meaningless items, this is evidence of a poverty spirit.

Praying for Freedom from a Poverty Spirit

If you think you may have a poverty mentality, read the following prayer aloud as often as you need to:

Father, I know that poverty thinking is not from Your hand or from Your heaven. I ask that You would pull it out of my life and begin to sharpen my mind, so I can identify this kind of thinking and step away from it. Cause my mind to be renewed because of the work of the gospel of peace.

Your Word says that I have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear, but I have received a spirit of adoption as a child of God, and by it I cry out, “Abba! Father!” I’m asking for a breakthrough in Jesus’ name, that I would find myself in a new place where I am no longer enslaved by cycles and patterns of a poverty mentality. Instead, may I begin to emerge as a Prosperous Soul. I pray these things in faith, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

God bless your Prosperous Soul.

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Lauren Stinton