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A slavery mentality is an approach towards life that assumes a habitual and falsely conceived handicapped attitude or mindset that limits one’s ability to develop and grow spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and even socially. People with a slavery mentality do not acheive their full potential in life. They believe everyone and everything is out to get them and do not count themselves worthy of receiving good things. They struggle in their Christian life because they are unable to comprehend the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. They cannot understand or enjoy the love of God even as is it said in 1 John 3:1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:..(KJV)”.

Identifying a slavery mentality

Slaves are in the habit of complaining

Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the LORD heard everything they said. Then the LORD’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp. Numbers 11:1 (NLT)

Complaints usually attract fire one way or another. Instead of complaining start giving thanks to God. When slaves complain, they only get more flogging from their masters. Your complaints will not change your circumstance. Stop complaining!

Slaves are forced to serve and they get beaten up when they refuse

After Moses went to Pharaoh and said “Let my people go!“, Pharaoh only gave instructions to make more demands from the Israelites slaves.

Slaves always fight one another

You may not fight physically but you’re fighting with your mouth. They cannot fight their master, so they vent their aggression on their fellow slaves.

Slaves cannot keep secret

You know a slave by the fact that anything you tell him/her becomes public information instantly. Moses saw an Egyptian maltreating a slave and intervened. In the process, he killed the Egyptian. If the man had the mentality of a true son, he would have thanked Moses and helped him cover up the act, since he knew it could get Moses into serious trouble if the authorities knew about it; but slaves can’t keep secrets. They must talk, their mouth must be moving.

My mother told me a tale of a certain woman who was a slave to her mouth. She entered a bus with other passengers on a journey to Anambra State. This woman talked for more than one hour. She was telling of how she heard that armed robbers came to a neighbour’s house and raped her daughter. She said the woman who underwent such plight was stupid. “I won’t let that kind of thing happen to me“, she said. “I’ll kill the armed robbers. They will experience firsthand, the venom of a mother’s fury. It cannot happen to me. Mba nu!” she kept talking until the bus got to Onitsha. Unbeknownst to her, the very robbers who did the same thing were in the same bus. They alighted where she alighted and trailed her to where she was going. In the night, they came to her.

Madam,” they said, “we’re not here to steal. We won’t even bother other people in this block. We only came to prove you wrong. That we will rape your daughter in your presence and you will not do anything.” The woman’s husband cried that his wife had brought calamity to him.

The woman didn’t even remember when she said what she said. All talkatives do not remember most of what they say and when they say them. They had to remind the woman that they were in the same bus that arrived Onitsha that evening.

I have no daughter.” she said, “All I have are sons.” These armed robbers were determined. They went to confirm from her neighbours that she had no female children. The armed robbers decided since she had no daughters but could stop bragging about what she didn’t have, their visit would not be in vain. According to my mother, the armed robbers said they had to teach her a lesson: so they took a knife and cut off her lips. Till today, her teeth are always exposed because she has no lips to cover them.

If you cannot keep your mouth shut; if your tongue controls your life and you cannot bridle it; it is a sign of slavery.

Slaves live by fate

They believe the worst will come. They are so quick to resign to fate. Que Sera, Sera! (What Will Be, Will Be!). That is a song of a slave. But as a child of God, you should live by faith, not fate. With faith you can bring down the walls of Jericho. With faith you can cancel debt and overcome situations others cannot overcome.

Slaves easily give up. They can boldly tell you that it is not the will of God even when they are not in position to know the will of God. They assume that absolutely everything that comes their way in life is the will of God failing to understand that even the Devil can bring things our way.

Sons always have hope. They always have faith. They know something can still happen that will be of benefit to them. They hold on to this faith until they receive their promise.

Slaves don’t think

Slaves have a closed mind. They do not think much; their masters think for them and tell them what to do. Their approach to problems comes in the form of: “What do you think?“, “How do you want us to do it?” They don’t seem to have a mind of their own to think with and come up with solutions, and to worsen things, they don’t care.

Even the prodigal son was still a son, he was far away from his father’s house but the bible tells us that one day, he came to his senses, meaning that he was thinking.

Slaves always see problems never solutions

When you hear a person with a slavery mentality talking, you will find that they derive greater joy in talking about a problem and magnifying it than in proffering a solution. In fact, they almost always never have a solution to the problems they like talking about.

Slave have inferiority complex

I’ve come to discover that the secret by which most successful people rule the world is boldness.

I narrated recently to my students about one of my friends by the name Chidi. He was a kind of personality that exuded extraordinary boldness. You can never trace inferiority complex to him.

During one of the numerous ASUU strike actions in my undergraduate years, while most students were complaining and whining about the government being responsible for their studying a four-year course in five years, Chidi went to IMT, and summoned the Arts students, he negotiated to sell their artworks for ₦1,000 per piece. He took the art works to Lagos. Every morning, he would don his suit and go to Victoria Island and other towns, knock on the doors of wealthy business men, politicians, expatriates and convince them that their houses were literally incomplete without his artwork. When asked how much, he’d say ₦200,000.

That is too much, won’t you sell it for 70,000?


When the strike was over, Chidi drove into school with a Pajero Jeep. While we were complaining that God should punish ASUU, he was making his money.

When he got to IMT, he was giving ₦10,000 each to the owners of the artwork and they were singing “Chidi ka-anyị ga eso, ma ọ n’eje- eje, ma ọ n’ala-ala… (meaning We’re with Chidi all the way, in his going, in his returning, we’re with Chidi all the way.)”

He made over ₦2 Million and opened an art gallery. From there, he went for an art exhibition in London and fortunately or unfortunately, he never returned to finish his program in the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. The good thing about Chidi was that uncommon confidence.

When you see someone who throws a fit in the bus, drops a series of high grandiloquent grammar and begins to recite their resume simply because someone stepped on their shoes, you know you’ve seen a fellow with inferiority complex. When you see a fellow with a long string of titles preceding his name, and who insists that they be read off completely and in proper order before they answer the summons to the high table in an occasion, you’ve definitely seen a very title conscious fellow with acute inferiority complex problems.

You see a small boy and he is answering to the title of Chief. You know very well that he hasn’t earned it. In fact, you know what he does for a living and where he lays head rest a night. And you know so much more about his questionable character, yet he wants you to address him as chief.

Where does slavery begin, slavery begins in the mind. He that controls your mind controls you and that is why you must come to the point where you refine your mind and begin to think like Jesus. Many of us think very small. You wake up in the night and think about how to take vengeance over a hurt or how to snatch another woman’s husband. That’s very petty! When God opens your mind you think generational, you think beyond yourself. You think on how to impact humanity.

When Elijah asked Elisha “What do you want from me?“, Elisha replied, “a double portion of you anointing.” Elijah confirmed that Elisha had asked for a hard thing. When can this generation start asking for a hard thing? John Knox said to God, “Give me Scotland or I die!” Now that is a hard thing. That is a generational request, not a self-aggrandizing request. Solomon asked God for wisdom to govern Israel. That is a generational request and not a personal one.

Sources of Slavery Mentality

How do we acquire slavery mentality?

Through our parents

If you were unfortunate to have parents who had slavery mentality, you will receive an adequate mentoring in slavery mentality except God steps in to save you. When you see a woman who wakes up in the middle of the night, finds a cockroach on the wall and begins to scream “Blood of Jesus!”, her one-year old daughter will wake up and join her in the screaming. That’s how it gets inherited. Now imagine that girl goes to school and chances upon a lizard. You can be sure she will begin to scream “Double Blood of Jesus!” Many of our parents have transferred slavery mentality to us.


Ignorance makes people to behave and live life with a slavery mentality. When you don’t know what God has made you to be, or what price Jesus has paid on the cross of Calvary for your sake, you’ll be operating your life like a slave.

A young girl once walked up to me in campus and began to lament on how her mother had deceived her in encouraging her to remain a virgin. According to her, all her friends said she was a smelling village girl because she had not yet slept with a man. She was evidently hurt. She couldn’t take it. I was shocked I asked her if there was ever a time purity was or would be inferior to impurity. This desire to fit in can put you in slavery if not checked. I often say that what is popular is not always right, and vice-versa.

Associating with other slaves

Nobody was born a criminal or a cultist. Everything we become in life can be attributed to association. What you spend time with becomes who you are. Associating with bad friends or peers who have a slavery mentality will only rope us deep into the same mentality whether you are aware of it or not.

Traditions and culture

It is a fact that certain people and cultures have practices that inculcate slavery mentality in their people. The Osu caste system is such an example. Some traditions do not give place for the voice of a woman, and they raise women who have a servile attitude of enslavement or who are rebellious and incorrigible. A slavery mentality gives no room for balance

Believing people’s negative opinion

When people keep telling you negative things, a negative slavery mentality can get birthed in you. If a teacher keeps repeating to a pupil that he/she is a dummy or a dunce, it won’t be long before the pupil believes the teacher and begin to act accordingly. Thus a slave mentality is developed.

A man used to tell his son that he was a useless son and a waste of space. He told him he was as useless as a dead son. He continued until his son believed him. Towards the man’s old age, he began to encourage his son to take his academics seriously. In response, the son said, “Papa, have you forgotten I’m the most useless son in this village, why now to you want me to go to school? Okay, I know why. You want me do well in school so that after graduating, I would get a job and support you in your old age, right. That will never happen. I will remain the most useless son in this village and do all manner of despicable things. I will see to it that you will not get anything good from me. In fact, you’ll be the one to bury me, I’ll not bury you.

The man wept. As a parent, do not be in the habit of release spiritual bullets at your children like “Idiot“, “Stupid child“, “Thunder strike you!” and so on. If you keep saying those things, the child will start believing it and the effect will begin to take hold. If you want proof, go the prison yard and inquire from the inmates, you’ll find that most of them will tell you that their mother or father told them that they will end up in jail. I usually go there to preach and I can tell you this as a fact.

The words we speak are powerful.

Who is a Son?

  • A son is someone who is free.
  • A son has rights and privileges.
  • A son is someone who has a father. Most sons we have are fatherless. By father, I mean a spiritual father. True sons have fathers.
  • Sons do things by choice and not by force. You don’t have to wait to be coerced to preach the gospel to someone else. You should be able to initiate the desire to do so on your own. That’s the mentality of a son who loves his father’s business of winning souls into the kingdom. Don’t be a wheel barrow which must be pushed before it will move forward, and which stops wherever it is dropped.
  • A son is exempted from paying for their sins. This is because Jesus has paid for them. Some people are still paying for their sins because they do not know that Jesus had already paid the price for their sins and therefore they do not know how to partake of the wondrous grace of God.

When I wanted to go for my youth service, a friend of mine told me to go a certain supermarket and take anything I like. “I have paid for you.” He said. “Anything you think you need as a youth corps member, collect it.” Back then I hadn’t gotten out of slavery mentality. When I got to the supermarket I was being too modest for my own good.

This brother loves me so much.” I would say. “What will I take? Okay, give me Peak Milk, Milo, sugar, slippers…

What of Bleach?” The supermarket attendant asked me.

Don’t worry.” I said, “I wash with my bare hands.”

What of ….

No, no, no that’s enough.” I protested. I ended up not picking anything up to N200 in value, as at then.

The next morning I was traveling and he asked me what I collected at the supermarket. I showed him a bucket containing the miserable things I had picked.

Is that all?” he asked with great shock.

Man of God, its okay” I replied.

Okay! If that’s fine with you. Meanwhile, I want to pay some money into some foreign account and I’m going to need your help counting the money”. He gave me some money to count and I counted $11,000. This is apart from the one he was counting while I was counting the one he gave me. This man had $11,000 and more and I couldn’t believe I had let a wonderful opportunity pass me.

This is the kind of mentality most of us have in church when the preacher says “Receive your prosperity in Jesus Name!“, you’re looking sideways and saying “He’s talking to that guy o! it’s not me, it cannot be me!” You feel so unworthy.

You are definitely exempted to pay. There are things Jesus has already paid for and you have no business paying for those things over again. Whenever I sense sickness creeping into my body, I remind myself that Jesus has already paid for my sicknesses because “by His stripes I am healed.” (Isaiah 53:5). That is how a son thinks. Someone with a slavery mentality will instead of receiving divine healing, make utterances that will admit it as a very normal thing.

  • A son is someone respectable. Sons respect themselves. When they attend public occasions, they don’t rush for food for example. Sons carry themselves with dignity. You should learn to carry yourself with respect and dignity. If you can’t respect yourself, people won’t count you as worthy to be respected. You should also watch your mouth the things you say. Only say something when it’s necessary and taste your words before you utter them. The book of Proverbs acknowledges that when fools shut their mouth, they seem to be wise. When a fool however opens his mouth, he leaves no doubt about his foolishness.
  • A son is someone who has inheritance. This is one big problem of our politicians. Most of them are not interested in making a name that their children and children’s children will enjoy for posterity. When they get into power, all they do is to siphon money. You see an INEC officer or a Councilor whose salary might not exceed ₦100,000 but he has ₦2 Billion worth of ill-gotten money sitting in his bank account. For the slightest opportunity they have to occupy a government position for a while, all their focus will be to loot and pillage as much as they can carry. That is what has kept us in the condition we are in this nation. If they had the mentality of a son, they will know that they have an inheritance and it is not in their loot. They are only laying up treasures for moth!

When I travelled to South Africa, I found that every Rand had the head of Nelson Mandela. And the best part…he was still alive! This man was uncommon. On the other hand, Robert Mugabe is still the President of Zimbabwe, with arthritis, cataract and various health complications, yet, he apparently wants to die on the seat. He was been in power since 1987 till this 2014. Mandela had the opportunity to rule his country till he breathed his last but he left the corridors of power after four years stating that he did not fight the battle for himself, but for his country. He urged the younger generation to assume the reins of power. It is a fact that if in years to come, someone introduces himself or herself as the great grand-child of Nelson Mandela, doors will open anywhere in the world. But mention that you are the son of Idi Amin of Uganda, and you’ll almost get stoned to death by the majority. Indeed, “a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold. (Proverbs 22:1 NKJV)

Benefits of Being a Son

Sons are untouchable.

The devil and his demons know better than to touch an anointed son of the Most High God. For it is written, “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. (Psalm 105:15 KJV)

Sons have access.

If you come to my house you can’t come to my bedroom. One brother tried it sometime and I nearly gave him deliverance in Sabbath-style. A son has access into his father’s presence, even into the sanctuary of his bedroom. Many Christians today claim they are children of God, that is, sons and daughters of God, yet they cannot conveniently approach God in prayer because they still have the guilt of a slave. And some church denominations make matters worse by encouraging you to pray through someone else, for example through a saint or an angel. They ignore the words of Jesus when He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” John 14:6. If you are a son, you will walk up to your father directly and ask him for your school fees for example. That is exactly how God wants us to walk up to Him as His children and relate our personal challenges at whatever level.

A son is highly protected.

When you hear that the son or daughter of a highly respected personnel is commuting past your area, you find that they usually go with abundant security detail. That is how the security detail in the form of the host of armies of the heavens follows us. Elisha prayed a prayer asking God to open the eyes of his servant that he may see that “they that are with us and greater than they which are against us“.

A son is equal to his father.

This is a controversial statement is some schools of thought but continues to prove true for ages to come. When Jesus said “I and my Father are one” John 10:30, the Jews wanted to kill him because to say that someone is your father means that you are made of the same DNA as him. That is, the father has poured out himself into the son. 1 John 4:17 says, “as He is, so we are.” if God is your father, you will be like Him.

How to Move from Slavery to Sonship Mentality

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.Romans 12:2 (NLT)

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

So you see that to move from slavery to sonship mentality, you must:

  1. Transform your mind with the Word of God. If you do not read your bible, you are bound to remain in ignorance, and therefore, to remain a slave. You cannot transform your mind by prayer because you will not even know what to pray about. The Word of God will imbue you with wisdom and power so that your prayer will be with accurate and effective. The Word of God has a transforming power.
  2. Think like a son. It is the Word of God that will give you the raw ingredient of knowledge to direct your thinking. Think like a son, and not like a slave. Slaves are problem-conscious, while sons are solution-conscious.
  3. Speak like a son. Don’t be apologetic when you are addressing the devil. Sons are not afraid of the devil because they know the devil has nothing in them. It is sin that makes one scared of praying or giving the devil a proper dressing down in prayer.
  4. Walk by faith. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. When you know what the bible says concerning a thing, practically live your life by it.
  5. Associate with a son: I don’t believe that Sunday church service alone is enough for a child of God to maintain a sound Christian life. It’s analogous to charging your phone and using up the battery gradually. If you only rely on going to church on Sunday to be a Christian, you will use up the spiritual energy you acquired quicker than you imagine. You don’t need to wait for the battery to run down completely before you charge it up again. When you avail yourself in meetings that the church holds in between Sundays, you will inherently develop the ability to associate with other “sons” and hence maintain a sound sonship mentality. Spiritually, it is easier for someone to draw you down that to pull them up. It is even so physically. Some of the people we associate with on a daily basis are very lower spiritually and only constitute in drawing us down. To maintain a balanced spiritually life, you need to associate with other sons. If your best friend is a cultist, or an armed robber, or a prostitute, you are very close to becoming the same thing as they are, if you are already not so.
  6. Attach yourself with a spiritual son who has a sonship mentality. It is what you have that you give.

The lame man looked at them eagerly, expecting some money. But Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold for you. But I’ll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” Then Peter took the lame man by the right hand and helped him up. And as he did, the man’s feet and ankles were instantly healed and strengthened. He jumped up, stood on his feet, and began to walk! Then, walking, leaping, and praising God, he went into the Temple with them. Acts 3:5-8 (NLT)

If your father in the Lord does not have a sonship mentality, he cannot impart a sonship mentality into you. It is only a true son in the Lord who will motivate you to do something positive with your life. Some pastors do not want to lose you as a member, and so when you do wrong, they will pamper and palliate you instead of rebuking and correcting you and then showing you the right way to go. They will almost seem to be saying to you, “We heard you committed fornication. We’re sorry, forgive us.” That is a slave’s talking. A slave to sin and a slave to the world, and he will gradually turn you into a slave like himself. Flee from such Pastors.

The wife of a friend of mine put to bed six months after wedding, the pastor of the church told him that he will be going on a three-month suspension. He did not know what to do. Then another brother in the church fell for the same thing. His wife delivered about 5 months after wedding, but this brother pays tithe to the tune of N2Million every month. He was very rich. The rich brother told the Pastor when he confronted him that if he was suspended, his tithe and offering will also be suspended. The Pastor called his other Pastors together and they decided to reduce his own to one month. “We can’t afford to pay the house rent if he stops paying his tithe”. This thing happened in Abuja. That is a slavery mentality. If that brother were to try that nonsense with me, I’d give him two years suspension and show him that when I was answering the call of the Lord, he was not standing beside me. So attach yourself with a spiritual father who has a sonship mentality.

To be Christian means that you are child of the Most High God, the Living God of Hosts. As a true child of God, you are either a true son or a true daughter. You are not a slave anymore, so see that you live your life in a manner fitting for true sons and daughters of God. Develop a sonship mentality and not a slavery mentality.

This sermon was preached by Dr. Wilberforce Oti and transcribed by Philips Ekuma.

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Dr. Wilberforce Oti
About Dr. Wilberforce Oti

He is the Founder & Senior Pastor of House of Kings & Priests. He teaches practical ways the contemporary Christian can apply the Word of God to stay victorious in today's world. He's also the pioneer of Brand New Me: a weekly radio programme that airs on Unity FM, Abakaliki and thousands tune in regularly to listen to his life-transforming messages.

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3 comments on this post.

  1. Avatar

    kamba wrote:

    praise God i have read your teaching and encouraged me so much may God bless you


  2. Avatar

    MiJoe wrote:

    Very accurate interpretation of the mind of God concerning men and women of grace. Seeds to a fertile spirit.


  3. Avatar

    George Williams wrote:

    Bless you man of God! Great knowledge and wisdom from the most high. Shalom


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