In Part One of this topic I barely scratched the surface of the intricacies and poverty mindsets as many of us observe them, and/or live them out. There is so much that can be delineated within each of the ten strongholds as I am describing them. But let me continue on in this series with a bit about myself. I speak into this issue of poverty strongholds not from a place of observation or as an outsider, but I speak from a place of, “I’ve lived through these very same things”. I’ve intimately known the mindsets of poverty and the bad fruit that was piling up as a result.
For instance, there was a time in my history where I was continuing in bad relationship with ‘hope’ that refused to look at reality. There was a time when there was very little provision or food and I was starving myself so that my children could eat. There was a time when the money I did have seemed to be consistently and always disappearing as though my ‘bucket’ had a giant hole. And for years I carried accumulated pain upon pain (heart pain) that nearly stole my life in chronic autoimmune diseases. I’ve know what it is to be in despair and to be buried in pain that overwhelmed me in both good thinking and in energy required to rise above the current circumstances.
I’ve personally known the strongholds of poverty and, thankfully the Lord has taken me in hand for more than a decade to bring my thinking in line with the Kingdom of God rather than the kingdom of satan, and this has made all the difference in the world to me and for my life.
So, when I travel to developing nations and as I am in village after village, and in many, many churches hearing the thoughts of the people, listening to sermons that give me a glimpse into the belief systems, and as I experience the difference in hospitality from those who are living God’s sufficiency to those who are living with poverty thinking, I cannot help but discern the roots and the bad fruit and the dots connecting the two. I recognize faulty theology and mindsets that keep us down.
Because of my life experiences I can spot poverty thinking, I can spot abusive people (and every type of abuse), I can spot abused people, I can spot dysfunctional marriages, mental illness, learning disabilities, and I can spot spiritual abuse. I easily spot habits of denial and coping mechanisms, I spot addictive behaviours and drug and alcohol abuse, and I can spot sexual addictions, and those who have been molested. I can spot faith over-applied and when people are avoiding grief. All of these things I have lived alongside and many of these things I myself once was.
So, again, I come to this topic of poverty from a ‘been there done that’ perspective. I’ve been stuck in my life with little to no understanding of how to move forward or beyond. I’ve been in seasons of great ‘hope’ that ultimately turned out to be great denial. And even to this day I’ve still a natural tendency to over-apply faith and to disregard the practical steps required for whole and healthy living; it is one of my weaknesses that I am constantly aware of and trying to balance out.
I am also well aware of the demonic and the strongholds in the spirit realm that seek to undo us. My spiritual gifting can spot the demonic in people and places. My senses can identify what is going on in the unseen realm, and I have the wisdom to address these things. If I am in your home and there is a demon in your house I will know it. In your speaking I can tell when it is you talking and when it is another thing voicing its opinion. Creepy, I know, but just a part of how I take in the world. I say this because here I too could just as easily (theoretically) blame everything on the enemy as the many we know who do this. I could bring up these spiritual realities as THE forces that are keeping us stuck, but of course that would be only a small portion of the story.
For, as a coach and someone who has worked in leadership development for some years, and within all of my experiences of being stuck and struck down and even oppressed, I know these are in our realm to stand firmly against, to make different choices, to bit by bit (often profoundly slowly), shift our thinking and our actions so that life ceases to become smaller and instead opens up into something we never imagined possible. This I know.
It is from this rich experience of being neglected, abused, shamed, stuck, demoralized, broken, and burrowed deep into poverty mindsets, that I have seen and known and am still experiencing, the way out. It is from this place, this brokenness and then restored into wholeness, that I write back into those still stuck in poverty mindsets – there is a way out of the chronic thinking that gives too much power to the things that would keep us down.
It is this, in a nutshell, we must, “destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
The conclusions we’ve made about life determine much of our futures. As a prayer minister who facilitates inner healing and deliverance, I work with individuals in a process of hearing the Lord, of receiving the revelation of the Holy Spirit and of becoming privy to the secrets of our hearts, so that there might be confession, healing, and freedom from our belief systems that do not line up with the knowledge of God.
For instance, one of my prayer clients came from an exceptionally abusive home as a child. Now, when bad things happen to us as children, we don’t have any way to process these things. Our logic is still in development, we are very ego driven when we are young, which is just another way of saying that anything that happens we think it is about us, by us, because of us, for us, etc. When we are young we do not have the capacity to stand back and see things from a detached perspective; everything is profoundly personal.
And the enemy takes advantage of this. Something goes wrong in our lives and it is as though satan whispers a lie into our heart and mind. For the person coming out of profound abuse there would be conclusions (agreements made with these lies) in the form of beliefs such as, “God is not taking care of me, I must take care of myself.” Or, “No one cares.” Or, “I will always be alone in my problems.” And more.
Now, these ‘conclusions’ about life, God, others, or ourselves, are buried very deeply in our inner person. They are the secrets of the heart that the Bible speaks of and of which we cannot become aware without the direct revelation of the Holy Spirit. But once we are aware of them, we can, now as adults come to a change of mind.
“Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart.” 1 Corinthians 4:5
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” 1 Corinthians 13:11
Now, as adults, we capture the thought, “I will always be alone” and we bring it into obedience to Christ, which is nothing more than bringing that thought out of agreement with the lie, and into agreement with what God says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
“God I confess that I have believed that I will always be alone. But I realize that this goes directly against what your word says and what you have promised. So, today, in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ, I renounce and I say ‘No More!’ to this lie of my heart and mind that ‘I will always be alone’. In the power of the Lord Jesus Christ I reach back into my past and wherever this lie first took root in my heart and mind I uproot it, leaving nothing behind, unwinding this lie from around my heart, mind, body, and spirit and declaring that all assignments, curses, or authority of the enemy (that has been allowed and invited even, to work in my life because of this lie) are cancelled today in the name of my Lord Jesus Christ. Today, I take on your truth God, that you are with me even to the end of the age. I press this truth of your presence throughout my entire being and life and I invite you to show me anew each and every day yourself. Restore me Lord. Thank you. Amen”
And we do this with every single thought, belief, and mindset! Systematically, intentionally, deliberately, item by item we work through the lies that live in the recesses of our hearts and we bring them to the cross of Christ where we find freedom and transformation and a personal revival of our souls and lives.
This process of taking our thoughts captive (you can find more about this healing prayer process HERE) is the foundation of all transformation in Christ and this is especially true of the mindsets of poverty that we find in every society and culture worldwide.
You see, we wonder, is poverty a ‘thing’ out there that is against us, holding us hostage, pushing us back at all times? Well, yes and no.
Yes of course poverty is outside of us and against many. At the same time, when we take poverty thinking into our minds and hearts we strengthen it, we solidify it, we give it way more power in our lives than it was ever meant to have. Poverty may be outside and against us but when we agree with it and it’s lies, we make it a part of ourselves and we begin to do it’s work for it, and against us.
We create the second witness. Who are we agreeing with, the enemy and his assignments and conclusions about you, or are we agreeing with God and what he is saying about himself and how we fit into him and his good things for our lives? What we are believing makes all the difference in the world. And so, we must take our responses to these very bad things very seriously. We take responsibility for our conclusions that do not line up with who God is and what he says in his word. Here, as we take responsibility, we are ushered out of victimization and into new ways of seeing and experiencing the world and new ways of going forward.
In our thoughts and beliefs and in the secret places of our hearts we, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
The lenses, the blinders that have been over our understanding are removed. We see clearer, we find solutions easier and we move into new things in the Lord; in this, in Him, we lessen the voice of poverty over our lives.
Part Three of this topic will be posted in a few days.