Today we continue our series entitled, “Faith and Patience Volume IV — The Wonder Twins”. I have laid the foundation for faith. Now I am doing the same for patience. I like to teach by both precept and example. I am using Joseph as a good example of our need for patience.
(James 1:2-4 TPT)
2 My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!
3 For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things.
4 And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.
We will seek to learn from the phases of the life of Joseph. Each phase (paternal, pit, Potiphar, prison, and palace/Prime Minister) has significance to this series and to our lives. Today we will look at the Potiphar phase.
(Gen 39:1-6 CEV)
1 The Ishmaelites took Joseph to Egypt and sold him to Potiphar, the king’s[a] official in charge of the palace guard.
2 So Joseph lived in the home of Potiphar, his Egyptian owner.
3 Soon Potiphar realized that the Lord was helping Joseph to be successful in whatever he did.
4 Potiphar liked Joseph and made him his personal assistant, putting him in charge of his house and all of his property.
5 Because of Joseph, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s family and fields.
6 Potiphar left everything up to Joseph, and with Joseph there, the only decision he had to make was what he wanted to eat.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. God is working, even when it does not look like He is working.
A few days earlier Joseph was at home, enjoying life as his father’s favorite child, walking around with a coat of many colors. He was as proud as a peacock. Genesis 39 opens with Joseph as a betrayed slave. He was betrayed by his own family, sold off to a pack of strangers, and taken to a foreign country. All he had now was his dream. The dream God gave him was still in his heart. He knew that someway, somehow, God was still God and his dream was still valid. This is an important reminder because if you ever feel like God is not present, or that God has turned His back on you, it will impact your attitude. Your heart will take a nose-dive and your life will spiral out of control. Joseph knew that God was still working, so this 17-year-old kid maintained the proper attitude.
Joseph was sold to Potiphar. This was no ordinary man. He was on Pharaoh’s personal staff. He served as the commander of the palace guard. The modern equivalent would be the Director of the Secret Service. Potiphar had a key position in Egypt. Joseph did not know it, but the dream God gave him was tied to Egypt. All Joseph could see in the dream was that he had some sort of high-position and that his family would someday be under his leadership. What Joseph did not know was that he was called to be the Prime Minister of Egypt, operating as the #2 man to the Pharaoh himself.
While Joseph could have been sold to anyone, he was sold to one of Pharaoh’s direct-reports, because God was up to something. Joseph did not know it, but he was one step closer to his destiny. My point here is that God is always working. He is working, even when it does not look like He is. So when you are in a difficult situation, as difficult as it seems, you would do good to remind yourself that God is still God and that He is up to something. He may not have caused the bad situation to happen, but God is able to make the most of every hand He is dealt!
*** Get excited! God is up to something in your life. You may not know what it is. But I guarantee you, IT IS GOOD! This is a good reminder while you are waiting on God. This reminder will help you to operate in both faith and patience.
2. Dealing with disappointment is part of your development.
a) Maintaining the right attitude/mindset while you wait on God is critical. If you keep the right attitude, you can make the most of any situation. Joseph could have easily developed the wrong attitude. If he had shut down, because he was upset about what his brother did to him, no one would blame him. But shutting down and being upset would not help him in the long run. Joseph maintained a good attitude because he believed God would do what he said he would do, and his attitude helped impact his altitude. The same will happen for you!
b) Potiphar had a key position in Egypt and he lived well. Joseph, the new slave, could have wound up working anywhere on Potiphar’s property, but in another seeming coincidence, Joseph wound up living and working in his house. Then, instead of murmuring and complaining, he kept the right attitude and started working. He worked hard and God favored his work. Potiphar noticed that God was blessing everything Joseph did. Everything he touched was successful. So Potiphar promoted him and made Joseph his personal aide. Potiphar put Joseph in charge of his house and all of his property. Why? Because Joseph worked hard and God favored him. Remember that favor is when God raises up people to use their power, their ability, and their influence to help you. This will happen when you maintain the right attitude while you wait on God.
c) It’s easy to allow disappointment and pain to cause you to live in bitterness. Anyone can do that. But it takes a certain level of maturity to embrace disappointment and still believe that God will work out the situation for your good. If you can’t get past disappointment and pain, you will never develop into the man/woman God called you to be. But if you learn to, you will find that God can turn a SETBACK into a SETUP for the next season and stage of your life!
3. Never hold God hostage to a certain timeframe or expectation.
a) One of the major mistakes baby Christians make it holding God hostage to their own expectation. While they are waiting on God, they come up with artificial time limits and dates. They say, “God, I want (or need) you to do this by X date.” They then live in expectation of manifestation before that date and they call that faith, even though God never gave them a date. When it does not happen by the date they wanted, they shut down and hold God hostage, meaning that they refuse to do anything else with and/or for God until He does what He said He would do. This is no different than a 5-year-old, holding a temper tantrum because he/she did not get what they wanted when they wanted it. This may sound funny, but grown men and women do this to God all the time. Until you get past this stage, you will never truly mature as a believer. James taught us that mature believers have patient endurance. They are not moved by time or circumstance.
b) People hold God hostage to giving them the answer or the breakthrough they’re looking for, and then they withhold themselves from giving themselves fully over to God until God does what they want. This is childish, immature, and foolish. But it happens every day.
c) We have to learn how to celebrate God, even in the midst of disappointment, even in the midst of challenging times, and even while we are waiting on God to do what He said He would do. Because God is not going to move before His time. He is not in a hurry. If we don’t understand this, we run the risk of living our lives with an expectation of tomorrow, while missing out on the miracle of today.
*** Learning this is part of maturing in Christ!
4. To be a fully-functioning believer, while you wait on God, you must constantly remind yourself of God’s goodness in the present.
a) Constantly reminding yourself of God’s goodness in the present, helps you to create an atmosphere of expectation for the manifestation of what you know He will do.
b) If you make it a practice to make the most of your today and to feed your heart on what God is doing in the present while you’re waiting on your future, it will be hard for the enemy to get you discouraged. This is critical to living by faith and developing patience.
c) It takes a certain level of maturity to walk with God in a certain level of mystery. It takes a certain level of maturity to know that there will be things that you just don’t know and that you will not understand until the fullness of time. So walking with God requires accepting a certain level of mystery and being comfortable with a certain level of discomfort while you’re waiting on God to do what he said he would do.
d) If you don’t develop faith and patience, the expectation you have for the JOY of your tomorrow can actually ROB YOU of the JOY of your today!
That’s enough for today.
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for revealing to me things about my future. I thank You for speaking to me about my tomorrow. But I also know that You have only revealed a glimpse. There are many things I do not know. There are countless things I do not understand. I know there is a certain level of mystery to walking with You. So I appreciate what I know and what I don’t know. I walk and live by faith. I develop patience. I refuse to allow the expectation I have for my tomorrow to strip me of my JOY for today. I make the most of every day. I remind myself of Your goodness int he present. Living this way, I get to make the most of every moment while I travel down the path to my destiny! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!