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What Are You a Slave To?
By Joel Osteen - Jul 15, 2011
I have a pastor friend who was twelve years old when he started smoking. By the time he was fourteen, he was totally hooked. This young man had an incredible gift to minister. From an early age, he was extremely anointed and powerful. He would fill in at the local church and preach some amazing sermons! The whole time he would hide the fact that he smoked. The pastor at this church, an elderly gentleman, was his mentor. He knew that he smoked, but didn't condemn him. He didn't chew him out. He simply said, "Son, I believe that God wants to take you a long, long way and that cigarette sure is a small thing to keep you from where God wants you to go." That one statement broke a stronghold in his mind and gave him a new perspective. His attitude was "my destiny is too great to let something small hold me back." He changed his mind, and when you change your mind, you can change your life. Today this man has a ministry that touches the world. But think about what he could have missed out on if he would have let that small thing hold him back.

2 Peter 2:19 says, "You are a slave to whatever controls you." You can be a slave to a bad attitude, a slave to worry, a slave to lust, a slave to food. In the scope of your destiny, it's a small thing to let a bad temper control you. It's a small thing to let fear or worry control you. Your destiny is too great. Your assignment is too important. Your future is too bright to let something small hold you back.

How do we resist temptation? In Matthew 26:41 Jesus said, "Pray that you don't enter into the temptation." Notice He didn't say, "Pray that you'll never be tempted." "God, please don't let me have a negative thought. God, please don't ever let me have a wrong desire." That's not realistic. He said, "Pray that you don't enter into the temptation." The reason many people keep giving in to the same thing year after year is because they never ask God for His help. We can't overcome temptation on our own or break addictions in our own strength. We need God's help. We have to humble ourselves and say, "God, I don't want to be critical and sour. Help me to have a good attitude." "God, my mouth keeps getting me into trouble. Help me to bite my tongue and not say things that I shouldn't." "God, I don't want to watch the wrong things. I don't want to pollute my mind." If you ask God to help you, He will give you the strength to overcome.

Today, I encourage you to make up your mind that things can be different. This is a new day, and you don't have to give in to the same old temptations. The enemy doesn't have any new tricks. He's going to keep pushing those same buttons. But if you will dig your heels in and stand strong, even if the temptation doesn't go away, God will give you the strength to overcome it. You don't have to be a slave to self-pity, a slave to a bad attitude, or a slave to an addiction. God created us to be free, and today is your day of freedom! Call on the name of the Lord and He will help you. He will strengthen you and empower you to overcome so you can live the life of victory He has in store for you!
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