Joel Osteen — A Son, Not A Slave
I want to talk to you today about a son, not a slave. We've all been through unfair situations, and because of negative things in the past or even mistakes that we've made, it's easy to forget who we really are, and too often, we've developed a slave mentality. We think we're at a disadvantage, so we don't pursue dreams, we don't believe for good breaks, we don't pray bold prayers. We live like we're a slave to the addiction, slave to depression, slave to mediocrity.
But as long as we have a limit our life. The scripture says, "Beloved, now are you the sons of God," and you may have a lot coming a slave, you are a son. Sons think differently than slaves. You may struggle with an addiction, but a son says, "I have a right to be free". There may be obstacles in your path, but a son knows the forces that are for me are greater than the forces that are against me.
The israelites had been in slavery 400 years, and they were mistreated and taken advantage of. God saw the injustice and sent plagues on the pharaoh and his people. Pharaoh finally decided to let them go. The israelites headed out toward the promised land.
Now, I'm sure they were excited, this was a dream come true, until pharaoh changed his mind and came chasing after them. Chariots, his strongest warriors, and he was quickly approaching. The israelites came to a dead end at the Red Sea. They had nowhere to go. Pharaoh was saying in effect, "You're my slaves. I own you. I'm taking you back". God was saying, "You're my sons. I've redeemed you".
I could imagine this debate was going back and forth. The israelites were trying to choose who they were going to believe. You're a son or you're a slave. That same debate is taking place about you. One voice is saying, "You're a slave. You'll never get well. You'll always struggle in your finances. You'll always be addicted". God says, "You're a son. I've equipped you, empowered you, and anointed you. Now, you get to choose which way you go".
If you believe the lie that you're a slave, that you've reached your limits, then it will keep you from your purpose. But when you rise up and say, "I'm no longer a slave, I'm a son. I'm not a slave to my past, I'm not a slave to who hurt me, I'm not a slave to addiction, to poverty, to lack, to depression. God," when you know you're a son, you not only think differently, but you talk differently.
Instead of, "I'll never break this addiction," "I am free, I am whole". Instead of, "I never get good breaks," "Blessings are chasing me down. Favor surrounds me. Goodness and mercy are following me". And start thinking like a son. Not thinking about what you were, what you've been through, the mistakes you've made, but start thinking about who you are. You are free, you are blessed, you are a masterpiece, you are victorious. Pharaoh came chasing after the israelites. In other words, the past came chasing them, what they had been through, what didn't work out.
The past will always come chasing you. Mistakes you've made, disappointments, failures, hurts saying, "You're not a son, look what you've been through. It wasn't fair, you prayed and it didn't work out". The enemy would love for you to become a slave to your past. Live guilty, discouraged, with a chip on your shoulder. Don't fall into that trap. The past doesn't have to hold you back.
We've all had negative things happen, things we don't understand, but God has beauty for those ashes. He has mercy for mistakes. He has new beginnings. Nothing that's happened in your past, nothing that you've done has to keep you from the good things God has in store. Don't become a slave to your past. Quit thinking about it, quit reliving the hurts, quit dwelling on the failures, this is a new day.
If you will let go of the old, then you'll see the new pharaoh came chasing the israelites because he thought he owned them. He saw them as his property. You need to tell pharaoh, tell the enemy, tell the past, tell the addiction, "You don't own me. I was bought with a precious price. I belong to the God who spoke worlds into existence. I'm not your slave, I'm his son".
God created you to be free, healthy, whole, victorious, and sure, we all have things come against us, but they're not permanent. It's just a matter of time before it changes in your favor. The israelites, even if they escaped and got away from the pharaoh, in one sense they would always be runaway slaves. As long as pharaoh was chasing them, even though they were free, thoughts would tell them, "You're slave that got away. Sooner or later, you'll be caught".
They would have to live with that threat that pharaoh might catch back up with them. But at the dead end at the Red Sea, when they had nowhere to go, Moses held up his rod and the waters parted. These 2 million israelites, former slaves, went through on dry ground. When pharaoh and the chariots came chasing, the waters closed up, they were all drowned.
God not only freed them from slavery, but he eliminated their oppressor so they wouldn't have to live with the threat that they might be recaptured and taken back to slavery. God didn't want them to see themselves as just runaway slaves, slaves that had been freed. By taking care of the pharaoh, he removed that label. They were no longer runaway slaves, now they were simply sons, daughters of the most high God.
In the same way, God not only freed us from sin, from guilt, from depression, from sicknesses, but he took care of our enemy. You don't have to live with the threat that you might be recaptured. Your oppressor has been defeated, the enemy has no power over you. You're not a runaway slave, you're a son.