But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. – Gen. 50:20
When you are in the throes of a battle, what is your attitude? Get me out of here? When will this end? This isn’t fair! I can relate, can you? I learned a great deal recently from following the life of Joseph. Talk about someone who got a raw deal out of life. I’m not convinced Joseph would say that if he were sitting here chatting it up with me. Let’s look at a few things he faced in his trials as well to see what we can learn from him.
- The battle may not be fair. Ouch! That hurts to hear but it is still true. God never promises in His Word that life is fair. There is nothing fair about your own siblings throwing you away in a cistern and hoping you will die because they are jealous of you. There is nothing fair about false accusations, imprisonments, lies, betrayal by those closest to you, poverty or near starvation. Joseph faced virtually every type of adversity possible – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social and financial. Can you relate to anything that Joseph dealt with?
- Acknowledge the reality of what you are facing. Be truthful with yourself about what you are up against because when you are facing an impossible situation you don’t do yourself any favors by pulling out the Jesus Juke talk. Ask the Lord through prayer that you would be aware, discerning and full of wisdom. Is this a one-time situation or are you in for the long haul? If you are struggling with an individual or party, what role do you play in it?
- Know the weakness of your foe. They aren’t God. Who allowed this to happen? Who is sovereign and could have stopped it? God. Who was therefore not in charge? Your aggressor. They may appear to be in charge presently but rest assured they are not. Don’t give anyone more power than they possess. God alone is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.
- Have integrity in the secret places. If you are reading this you interact on social media in some fashion. The temptation is so great today to pretend to be so much greater than we truly are. The Super Christian. Let’s be honest about Joseph’s situation. He had to be lonely and Potiphar’s wife surely was at least a little tempting to him when she approached him as a single man in his 30’s. He is being approached by a sexually aggressive woman who will not take no for an answer. Why is he able to stand up to the temptation? He had great respect for the marriage covenant and he was most concerned with his covenant with God. The result? ‘The Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.’ – Gen. 29:33b.
- Prepare by power. Work hard because it is the right thing to do without expectation of instant results. Joseph believed fully that God would bless him because of his dreams, yet the fruition did not fully come for a very long time. Allow God to use you wherever you are knowing that it is never in vain. Most importantly, prepare powerfully in your prayer life.
- Prepare in rest. When you have done all you know how to do, stand. Standing rather than moving seems so counter-intuitive, yet Scripture speaks often of standing as a point of strength. A fellow blogger came up with a great acronym for standing:
- S – STOP SITTING (AND FEELING SORRY FOR YOURSELF) AND START BY GETTING BACK ON YOUR FEET.
- T – TAKE YOUR TIME. WHEN YOU STAND, YOU ARE NOT MOVING, AND THAT IS OKAY. BE FIRM, BUT STILL.
- A – ACCEPT GOD’S HELP. ALLOW HIM TO ARM YOU WITH HIS TRUTH, HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, HIS FAITH, HIS WORD, AND HIS SPIRIT.
- N – NOTICE YOUR SURROUNDINGS. WHO/WHAT IS AROUND YOU? WILL THEY PROPEL YOU FORWARD OR HOLD YOU BACK?
- D – DEFEND YOUR GROUND. BOUNDARIES ARE A GOOD THING. HEALTHY AND STRONG PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO KEEP THE BAD OUT AND LET IN THE GOOD.
- Be a gracious winner. So the battle is over and you have finally seen the victory. Outstanding! Now remember who fought the battle for you. Are you now going to take the credit back from the Lord, or will you give Him glory for the great things He has done? Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness. – Psalm 115:1
The greatest battle you will ever fight will not be against flesh and blood but in your heart and mind. Take every thought captive so that when God gives you the victory in war, you don’t lose it in your own personal battle against yourself.