Identifying the Poverty Spirit


The poverty spirit has one agenda: to pull you down and convince you you’re a failure.

A central point of my ministry is identifying and breaking the poverty spirit in people’s thought processes. In this article, we’re going to narrow our focus and talk about one very small piece of this weighty topic discussed by Christians and non-Christians alike.

It’s vital we know how to identify the poverty spirit—because it’s sneaky.

The Strange Way the Bible Talks About Poverty

Poverty is a common topic in Scripture, which—interestingly enough—refers to it in a possessive manner, like something a person can own:

Your poverty will come in like a vagabond
And your need like an armed man. (Prov. 6:11 NASB)

It is “your” poverty, “their” poverty, “his” poverty, etc. Unique wording, as no one actually wants poverty in their life.

I interpret this ancient, biblical language to mean that a poverty spirit is something a person can hang on to. It is a thing they can pick up and keep like they would a book or a favorite T-shirt.

If we want to break a poverty spirit in our lives, we need to identify it and understand how and when it happened in our thinking. When did we first pick it up?

Looking at the World Through the Lens of Lack

A poverty spirit is a paradigm or viewpoint through which you see your life. It’s similar to wearing glasses and viewing the world through the “perspective” of the lenses perched on your nose.

The lens of a poverty spirit distorts and colors what we’re seeing until we begin to look at our lives through lack, decrease, or limitation.

The poverty spirit crops up in different ways. Many people think there’s a limited amount of money in the world, but I would say that’s a poverty spirit because money isn’t actually real. Sure, we use money and nations publish currencies, but at its root, money is the idea of value—and value has no limit.

When we’re peering through the lens of poverty, we start to think we can win only if someone else loses. If I win, you lose. If I lose, you win. This is called a zero-sum gain.

Expecting Problems or Lack

One day I was running late to meet someone at a coffee shop. I hate being late, and as I approached the parking lot, I could feel a knot in my stomach. I became convinced there wouldn’t be a parking space for me, which would make me even later. Anxiety rose up inside me.

But then I began to pay attention to what I was thinking and feeling, and I realized, “Wow. I’ve got a trigger here.” I had an expectation of loss, failure, and lack—that there wouldn’t be enough for me.

This kind of thinking is like a fingerprint that can help you identify a poverty mindset in your life. We need to pay attention when we’re not paying attention—that is, what are we thinking in those moments when our guard is down?

As I drove into the parking lot, a car began to back out of its parking space right in front of the coffee shop’s door. It was like God opened up a spot just for me, and gratitude swamped my heart.

I excitedly prayed something along these lines: “God, I’m doing so well! I’m really getting this Prosperous Soul thing figured out!”

I felt like the Holy Spirit replied, “Yes, son. You’re doing well. But what about a minute ago when you were freaked out and afraid, and your lens was lack and failure?”

That’s an example of what it can look like to identify a poverty mindset. Pay attention to your automatic response of lack or the expectation of problems:

  • Things are always going to fail.

  • I won’t be enough.

  • I’m not smart enough.

  • I am not handsome enough or beautiful enough.

These are fingerprints of a poverty spirit.

Replace the Lies With Truth

Merely recognizing the poverty spirit in our lives is not enough. We need to remove it like a weed and plant in its place the spirit of truth, which comes from God’s Word.

Read the Bible carefully. Collect verses and deposit them deep in your heart in the very place where a paradigm of lack used to exist. Here are a few biblical examples of the truth about who you are as a beloved child of God:

  • You are more than enough.

  • God deeply loves you.

  • All things are possible in Christ Jesus. 

We get to operate according to the truth of God and not according to the lies of a poverty spirit.

Seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance and ask Him how you can build a habit of identifying and removing lies in your thinking.

This simple prayer can help in your quest to root up the weeds of poverty:

Father, thank You for showing me the lie that grows in my heart. I surrender that lie to You and forsake it in Jesus’ name. Pull it out like a weed, and in that place please plant the truth of the gospel of peace. Bless that truth, and cause it to bear good fruit in my life—the fruit of abundance, of confidence, and of a Prosperous Soul, so I will no longer be subject to this wretched poverty thinking. I pray these things in Jesus’ name. Amen.

God bless your Prosperous Soul.


This article is a brief discussion on finding freedom from a poverty mindset. For more information on identifying this spirit in your life, check out Stephen’s manual titled Prosperous Soul Foundations, which you can find in our shopping cart.  

Lauren Stinton