By: Matt Tyler
Recently, I read Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness by Charles Swindoll. What a great book! I highly recommend it to people. True to the book's title, the basic topic of the book is a study on the life of Joseph. His story is recorded in Genesis 37-50. It is an awesome, true, and relevant story to study especially when thinking about trials, rejection, temptations, abandonment, and a whole range of other issues. However the book especially hits home when it comes to the issue of Faith. And that, among other reasons, is why I studied the life of Joseph recently.
Anyway, I wish I could type up the entire book on this note for you to read, but that isn't very plausible. I also wish I could review the book but time does not permit me to do so. Instead, I will type up a section I came across today that might be an encouragement for Christians. This encouragement is especially for those who wish their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ would live as God calls us to live- namely, a life of holiness.
Keep this verse in mind:
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy." (1 Peter 1:13-16)
Here is a section from Charles Swindoll's 'Joseph' as it relates to Genesis 39:
"You must not be confused by the immediate results. Again, remember Joseph. After doing what was right and resisting evil, he was falsely accused and dumped in prison. And if you take the time to read ahead, you'll see that he was later forgotten for an extended period of time.
Don't be confused by the immediate results. You may lose your job. You may lose your lover (if you want to call that person a lover). You may lose acceptance by the group. You may be ridiculed. You may be bumped out of the club. You may be the only one who's not "doing it (whatever it is)." Then be the only one! If you name the name of Jesus Christ, name it fully, name it completely, and keep yourself morally clean from this day forward. Even if it means demotion or loss of stature or loss of a job. Get out! You owe it to your character and to your family. Most of all, you owe it to your God.
...Whatever your situation, no matter how alluring or pleasurable or momentarily delightful the bait looks, don't linger. Claim the supernatural strength that comes from knowing Jesus Christ and, operating under the control of His power, stand strong in His might. Right now, this very moment, determine to be a Joseph. Make up your mind to join his ranks- and from this day forward, resist.
Otherwise, you will yield. It's only a matter of time."
Let this be an encouragement to you today. 'Stand strong in His might,' as Swindoll says. This is a great reminder to me as I go out and face the World. Joseph lived. And he faced huge challenges as he lived in and faced his world. But He stood strong in the mighty arms of God.
The World, and sadly many Christians, will yield. Sometimes we can get so discouraged by that fact that we end up doing the very things we do not want to do, as the Apostle Paul says. Resist. Fight. Life isn't peaches and cream (which sounds gross to me anyway) unlike some teachers will tell you. It is a struggle. But in the arms of our God we can face those trials. We will keep the Faith. And we can resist when we use the self-control the Holy Spirit gives us. And that, my friends, is the key. The believer get's the fruit of the Spirit, he receives the ability to apply the Truths of Scripture to his life.
When we put our trust in Christ and we begin to really know and understand our Lord and Savior then that becomes our strength! He is our Lord. He is over our lives. He is our King. The knowledge of this gives us strength because we know that Jesus Christ endured to the end and we our 'in' Christ. But interestingly enough and praise God for it this also gives us supernatural strength.
You have it. So, use it. Back to Joseph. The reason this is displayed so beautifully in Genesis 37-50 is because of what Joseph went through. We read the story with the ending in mind. And even when read for the first time the tension is released with the reading of the next verse. But this was Joseph's life. He spent years on a roller coaster of extreme, uh…excuse me, EXTREME
ups and downs. He did not know how it was going to end. He did not know why it was happening. His brothers turned against him. Your brothers in Christ may do the same. You will have ups and downs. You know what strategy Joseph used? The Lord was with Him and he lived with integrity (Genesis 39: 4, 8, 13). Are you a believer? Then the Lord is with you also. So live with integrity!
On a final note, view life in this manner: Genesis 50:19-20, "Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today."