My journey of breaking free from a poverty mentality all started on a bright summer day in the first year of the new millennium when Nancy, my personal assistant, entered my office looking rather troubled. I decided to risk asking her what was bothering her. Nancy had a reputation for telling the truth. She said, “Sometimes you say things that hurt people’s feelings. You’re important to the people around you and you seem completely unaware of how much people value what you think of them. You are devastating people with your words.” She went on to remind me of a comment I had made earlier. I thought I was being funny, but apparently, I had actually made her my latest victim. I apologized to her, but honestly, I really didn’t think much of it. That night I had a dream that revealed my delusion on this interaction. In the dream, a voice kept repeating this Scripture, “Under three things the earth quakes, and under four, it cannot bear up: under a pauper when he becomes a king” (Prov. 30:21-22a). At three in the morning, I woke up, feeling groggy but experiencing a deep sense of grief. Then I heard the Lord, who also seemed grieved, ask me, “Do you know why the earth cannot hold up under a pauper when he becomes a king?” “No,” I said, “But I have a feeling that You’re going to tell me.” The Lord continued, “A pauper is born into insignificance. As he grows up he learns through life that he has no value and his opinions don’t really matter. Therefore, when he becomes a king, he is important to the world around him but he still feels insignificant in the kingdom that lies within him. Subsequently, he doesn’t watch his words or the way he carries himself. He ultimately destroys the very people he is called to lead. “You, my son, are a pauper who has become a king.” The truth is that even if you are a leader or someone who doesn’t appear to be a pauper, the fruit of pauperhood, if rooted in the depths of your heart, will still leak out into your interactions with the people around you. Through the wee hours of the morning, the Lord began to teach me about my identity as a prince. I needed his training because I was not raised with the idea that I was significant. This caused me to develop a whole set of behaviors that someone who was raised as nobility would probably have never displayed. Even after I got saved, many of these behaviors stayed around. I saw that Nancy’s confrontation was about more than her simply being sensitive and me being misunderstood, which was the way I wanted to interpret it. It was actually about me doing things that I’ve always done that are no longer consistent with who God says that I am. I knew this confrontation was probably one of many to come on the road out of pauperhood and into my identity as a prince. I also knew that if I didn’t begin to travel that road, it would not only cost me tremendously but also those around me.
POVERTY MENTALITY AND PAUPER HOOD
Paupers are plagued by a poverty mentality! They typically feel like their resources are limited. They believe that when someone else receives something, it takes away some of the provision that could be theirs. They surmise that someone else’s blessing costs them. This is because they have not yet learned in the depths of their heart that they are a child of the King, who can and will provide for every need they have. A poverty mindset can trap you into thinking there are limits on what you get to have. As a result, you can be jealous of anyone who receives something that you don’t have. This seeps into all aspects of life including work, friends, and positions within the church. I’d like to propose that the revelation of your true identity and learning to love yourself will destroy the spirit of poverty in your life!
LOVING YOURSELF IS KEY FOR A PROSPEROUS LIFE
Loving yourself is the key to a prosperous soul, which is the foundation for becoming wealthy and walking in your royal identity in every area of life. So how do we learn to love ourselves? Here are 8 simple but profound steps to walking out of poverty and into a prosperous soul: 1.Discover who God says you are. There are hundreds of scriptures that reveal your amazing identity in Jesus. The apostle Paul said, “…While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (See Romans 5:8) The connotation is that you used to be a “sinner,” someone whose nature it was to sin and to do evil. But when you received Jesus into your life you became a saint! It’s no longer your nature to sin because you are a holy person and a citizen of a holy nation. (See 1 Peter 2:9.) You are also a son or daughter of God and a new creation in Him! 2. Envision yourself as God sees you. I discovered a principle in the Kingdom that simply says, “If I can envision it, I can have it.” The wisest king in the world articulated it like this, “As a man thinks in his heart so is he.”(Proverbs 23:7) There is something very powerful about your imagination. What you imagine has a huge impact on who you are becoming. You are forming your outer world with your inner thoughts, so what will you choose to meditate on? Imagine, think about, envision, talk to yourself, and even sing the truth to yourself! 3. Recount your past sins and failures that still trouble you and ask Jesus to forgive you. Let me be clear, I am not talking about spending your days in regret; I am merely saying that if you are still plagued by any past failures then deal with them head-on. You can’t conquer what you refuse to confront, and buried shame is more dominant than unapplied redemption. Closure is so easy in Jesus that it’s almost embarrassing! The apostle John said it best. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (See 1 John 1:9.) There it is; short and sweet; confess your sins and He does the rest. 4. Ask Jesus to show you your sins or failures from His perspective. It is so important, especially when you fail, that you see yourself from God’s merciful perspective. Envisioning your failure through the eyes of Jesus is essential to assigning the right roles to the proper characters in your life. That loud voice shouting, “GUILTY! AWAY TO THE GALLOWS WITH THEM! OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!” is not the Lord convicting you; it’s Satan trying to mess with your head. His goal is to get your eyes off of the Lord’s redemption and on to your own failures. But in the midst of all the shouting, there is always the reassuring voice of your Shepherd. Stay in that quiet place until you can see your failings transformed into His fantastic future! 5. Ask Jesus if there are actions you need to take to clean up your messes or to bring closure to your life; then take action. The Bible says that we need to “bear fruit of our repentance.” (See Matthew 3:8, Acts 26:20) Most of the time this simply means asking people that we have wronged to forgive us, and doing what we can to right our wrongs. It’s important to note here, that you are responsible to do your part but you can’t make someone forgive you. Let the Holy Spirit do His part in convincing other people involved to reciprocate your response. 6. Develop a vetting system for what you allow yourself to listen to and think about. Jesus gave us profound insights into how our vetting process affects our lives when He said, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure, it will be measured to you; and more will be given to you besides.” (Mark 4:24) When you choose to entertain certain kinds of thoughts, for example worry and fear, you will invite other worriers and fearful people into your world. It’s true when they say, “Birds of a feather tend to flock together.” On the other hand, if you “Watch over your heart (mind) with all diligence,” (See Proverbs 4:23), and vet your thoughts through God’s divine filter, then you will attract like-minded people to you. 7. Make a list of the 5 most profound things that Jesus says about you and memorize them. The goal of this exercise is to help you develop new, positive ways of thinking, which will assist you in beginning a powerful and peaceful life. When you proactively spend time pondering the things Jesus says about you, you create new neural pathways in your brain. These pathways become mindsets that tend to dictate how you think and what you visualize most easily. The apostle Paul gave us great insight into this when he said, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (See Romans 12:2) The truth is you cannot always change your life, but if you change your thoughts, He will transform your life! 8. Ask yourself how someone who has the 5 attributes Jesus said you have should think, talk, behave, and dream. Then, do so accordingly. Nothing is quite so affirming and confidence building as acting out your God thoughts instead of your feelings. Your feelings, although important, are great servants but terrible masters! I am reminded of God’s counsel to Cain when jealousy was plaguing the guy. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” (See Genesis 4:5-7) Did you notice how “doing well” (or not doing well) was directly related to Cain’s attitude? When you act upon the things Jesus says about you, you forge the truth into your heart and accelerate the transformation process in your mind.
GIVE YOURSELF TO THE PROCESS
If you have spent your life with a poverty mentality, then thinking and acting differently may not feel real or authentic at first, but persevere because 40 days from now, once you have formed this new habit it will be the new you! I want to remind you that you were born to win, and Jesus is in your corner. Therefore, if God is for you then who can be against you? I want to encourage you to journey through the Scriptures and unearth the full revelation of the mystery of your identity in God, then walk out these steps. He is waiting eagerly for you to encounter His indescribable, outrageous, love for you so that He might awaken you to your divine destiny! Can you relate to this post? Tell me about your process in the comments below! Which step stood out most to you today? *This blog post was originally published on February 21, 2019.