One year God blessed us with a magnificent Christmas tree for our home. The tree was on a special sale because the growers were phasing out this particular kind of tree. It was a huge tree, and fortunately we had a cathedral ceiling in our living room or it would not have fit in our home. It looked like a tree that cost a hundred dollars, but in actuality, it only cost us fourteen dollars—honestly!
The tree was so big we did not have enough of Christmas decorations to cover it. We had to go out and buy more decorations. We decorated the tree and then got ready to enjoy the Christmas season with our family. We were set for a great holiday season. There was only one problem. I discovered that when people came into our home to visit and saw the towering tree, they always commented about how big it was. However, this wasn’t the problem. The problem was my reaction.
Their comments often were, “Wow, what a huge Christmas tree.” When they said that, the spirit of poverty would rise up inside me and I felt like I had to apologize for having such a big tree. I had a compulsion to tell them that I only paid fourteen dollars for the tree or they would think I had paid a lot of money for it. So, out of my mouth would come the words, “Yes, it was on sale and we bought it for only fourteen dollars.” I began to hate these words coming out of my mouth. It happened more than once. It was like an automatic response that I could not control. Something in me had to apologize for God’s blessing. I did not like my response, and I began to think I needed some type of deliverance or breakthrough.
I could not help but notice the same thing in other areas of my life. If I was wearing a jacket that my wife bought at a secondhand shop for a few dollars and I received a compliment, immediately the response would come out of my mouth that it was used and we bought it for only a few dollars. I could not let people think that God had blessed me with something nice. I began to cry out to God for deliverance. The spirit of poverty says it is more spiritual to be poor or act like you are poor. It was obvious to me that God was teaching me this was not true.
I started to pray for this spirit of poverty to be broken off of my life. Part of the answer was to realize I had to let people think that I had paid a hundred dollars for the tree. It was extremely difficult for me to do, but finally after someone else commented about our large tree, I was able to bite my lip, swallow the apology and say, “Yes, God blessed us with a big Christmas tree. God loves me and a big tree was an expression of His love for our family.” Feeling freedom come over me, I knew I was making progress. The Holy Spirit was changing my beliefs, renewing my thoughts, and changing my actions all the while He was teaching me to prosper.
This does not mean we purchased a huge Christmas tree every year after this. Some years we did and some years we did not, but God used this experience to teach me to not apologize for His blessings. God was changing me in answer to my “teach-me-to-prosper” prayer. Ah! There is a better way. Somehow this seemed like a path that a good and loving God would provide for His children. The Holy Spirit was teaching me to prosper.