Beliefnet
Words of Hope and Inspiration with Joel and Victoria Osteen

Have you ever heard about how hunters used to trap monkeys? The hunters would fill a large barrel with bananas and then cut a small hole in the side of it just barely big enough for the monkey to get his hand and arm through. The monkey, completely unaware of the trap, would reach his arm into the barrel and grab one of those bananas. But when he would try to pull his arm out, he wouldn’t be able to get his clenched fist and the banana back out through the hole. The monkey would want that banana so badly that he wouldn’t dare release it. Consequently, the hunters would easily capture the monkey. What’s interesting is that at any point prior to the capture, the monkey could have easily let go of the banana and pulled his hand out of the barrel, but he was so focused on what he wanted that he didn’t even realize he was in a trap!

Many people live like that today—with both hands clenched, so focused on trying to hold on to what they have that they don’t realize it’s robbing them of the freedom and victory God has in store. Don’t let that be you! Choose to release anything that’s keeping you from God’s best because nothing in this world is worth holding on to so tightly. Don’t get trapped because you aren’t willing to change or reposition yourself or your thinking. Remember, God always has your best in mind. His plans are for your good, and when you follow His plans, you can move forward in peace, strength, joy, faith, and victory.

What’s the best way to avoid the traps? Stay close to Father God. Choose to live a life of faith. Let Him lead and direct your steps. Scripture tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Developing your faith is a process and God leads us one step at a time in our journey of life. Be open and let Him reposition you. You already have everything you need to be successful in your future, so why hold on to the past? If you need strength, it’s on the inside of you. If you need hope, it’s on the inside of you. If you need joy, determination or encouragement, God placed it within you when you chose to be a follower of Jesus. Today, set yourself up for freedom and victory by being open-handed and open-minded to what God wants to do in your life!

“Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.” (Luke 17:32–33, NIV).

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