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Believe First
By Joel Osteen - Jan 10, 2020
I talked to a man who had struggled with an addiction for twenty-two years. He said, “I asked God to help me, but nothing happened. I can’t get free.” The addiction remained as strong as ever, so he assumed that God wasn’t doing anything. He was waiting to see the manifestation before he believed that God was working. But faith says you have to believe when you pray that God put the miracle in motion. You can’t wait for the evidence and then you’ll start believing; you have to believe first. You may not see any sign of it, but down deep you have to know the source of that addiction has been cut off.

One day Jesus saw a fig tree off in the distance. He was hungry and walked over to get some figs, but the tree was barren. He said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again” (Mark 11:14). He cursed the tree. But when He said it, nothing on the outside changed. There was no evidence that what He said had happened. The disciples had seen Jesus speak and the sick were healed and storms calmed immediately, and I can imagine they wondered what went wrong. But the next morning “the disciples saw the fig tree had withered from the roots.” When Jesus spoke to the tree, nothing happened on the outside, but down in the roots, the source was cut off. When the roots are dead, the tree is dead. It may still look alive, but it’s just a matter of time before the outside catches up with the inside.

I told this man what I’m telling you. You may not see anything happening, but the moment you pray in faith, God acts. Instead of thinking, “One day I’ll be free,” try a new approach and say, “Father, thank You that I am free. Thank You that this addiction is dead. It doesn’t control me because You’ve already put an end to it.” This man started living with the attitude that it was already cut off. He kept thanking God that He was free, talking like he was free. I saw him about six months later and he said he was totally free.

Jesus said, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). It doesn’t say to believe that you receive it when you see it. Whether it’s for freedom from an addiction, the healing of a sickness, or a breakthrough in your finances, the prayer of faith says, “When I pray according to God’s Word, I believe it happens right when I pray. I have it in my spirit.” It’s just a matter of time and you will see what God promised.
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