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Who Defines You?
By Joel Osteen - Sep 27, 2019
If you’re a baseball fan, you may know that Bill Buckner was a star player for the Boston Red Sox for many years. He had more hits than Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams. One season he had the highest batting average in all of baseball. He was a great teammate and a leader in the clubhouse. But in the 1986 World Series, his error on a slow-rolling ground ball allowed the other team to tie the game. That team went on to win the World Series. Despite his illustrious career, many fans only remember that one bad play. When Buckner past away this year, the first line in the Associated Press article was, “Bill Buckner, a star hitter, who became known for making one of the most infamous plays in major league history.”

Some people will try to define you by your mistakes. They’ll stick labels on you, reminding you of the times you failed, the times you compromised, the times you didn’t measure up. Some people will remember your failures more than your victories, despite all the times you succeed, despite all the good you do—the times you sacrifice for others and go the extra mile. When you make one mistake, when you go through one bad season, don’t be surprised if people say, “God’s not going to bless you. You gave in to the temptation. You went through the divorce. Your business failed.”

Don’t let people label you. They don’t determine your destiny. They can’t stop what God has ordained for your life. The only person that can stop you is you. If you let your mistakes define you, if you wear the labels people stick on you, if you believe the lies from “the accuser of the brethren” (Revelation 12:10), that will keep you from your destiny. You may have failed, but you’re not a failure. That was a moment in your life, that was one season, and it doesn’t determine your future. You can’t stop others from putting a negative label on you, but you can take it right off. “I’m not defined by my mistakes. I’m defined by what God says about me. I am forgiven. I am redeemed. My past mistakes are behind me, and my failures are in my yesterday.”

“God’s mercies are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23). Receive that mercy and move on. “What about that failure?” It’s in the past. “What about that mistake?” It’s covered by mercy. “What about the divorce, the compromise, the time you blew it?” That’s over and done. Life is too short to let what happened in the past keep you from the great things God has in your future.
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