There is nothing romantic about poverty.

I discovered a Friday email from a few years ago. Here it is.

Thank you for your prayers.

Sixteen years ago I began praying for a house.
The house has kept our battle over who controls resources, and who controls culture in focus.
Many Christians have a romantic idea about poverty,
and my walk of faith is a constant confrontation with poverty
and about how God wants to display abundance in our life together.

For the record, 14 people in our community need housing right now.
Last week I asked God why housing is still a battle,
and the Lord began to show me a list of lies we believe. It was quite a list.

Artists are homeless because having a house requires getting a mortgage,
and mortgages require a decent job.
I’m an artist, and I don’t have a “real job.”
Therefore, I am destined to be homeless.
Jesus was homeless, and if I follow Jesus I have to be homeless too.
God is not a good Father, and I can never do enough to make him provide for me.
I’m irresponsible.
I don’t have the right credentials.
I don’t have enough healing.
I don’t have the right “covering.”
This is the way it will always be because I am an artist and this is just my lot in life.

Too many artists idolize their experience and romanticize poverty.
It doesn’t help that the church presents an inaccurate portrait of Jesus
living a life of poverty.
We romanticize Saint Francis
(who died owning half the Holy Land,
ate with popes and sultans,
and directed a movement that housed, clothed, and fed thousands of people).

There is nothing romantic about poverty.
There is nothing romantic about sleeping on a couch in a stranger’s house.
There is nothing romantic about being hungry.
There is nothing romantic about not having the raw supplies and resources
to launch, grow, and sustain a business.
Poverty is not a higher form of spirituality.
Poverty is not faith.
Poverty is a life of limited possibilities.
I know.

Faith is the evidence of knowing that God is good,
that heaven has endless supply, and that the kingdom is always advancing.

I encourage you to take time and ask the Lord to show you the lies you are believing.

Pray with me.
Father, I reject the lies I believe.
I admit that deep down I believe you are not good,
and that I have to do something to make you do things for me.
I believe I have to do it all on my own, and that I really will never be a success.
I reject the lie that says I really need to go get a real job,
I need to try hard, or nothing will happen unless I make it happen.
I reject the lie that says “poverty makes me closer to God and more spiritual.
That not having the things I need is just the price I have to pay for being an artist.”
I reject every agreement
I have made with Satan regarding poverty, housing,
and the call to the arts and culture.

Lord, help me see everything the enemy doesn’t want me to see.
I embrace the truth: You are good.
You are a good Father who takes pleasure in blessing your children.
I am blessed in the country and blessed in the city.
There is always a solution for every human problem.
Jesus promised we have would have more than enough in this life,
and much more in the life to come.
The same God who fed the multitudes will feed me.
God has a place for me.
Thank you Jesus that you became poor that I may become rich. Amen.

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