Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Are You Willing To Suffer To Save People

Then Joseph said to his brothers, ‘I am Joseph; does my father still live?’ But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. And Joseph said to his brothers, ‘Please come near to me.’ So they came near. Then he said: ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting.  And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.’" — Genesis 45:3-8

The BIG question for every Christian is this – “Am I willing to endure hardship for the good of others?” (At least it is for me) What was Joseph thinking when his brothers threw him in the pit to sell him? What was he thinking as he sat in prison – falsely accused? Perhaps – “It’s not my fault! Life is not fair! Why is this happening to me? Where is God and why hasn’t He protected me from this injustice!” It might be thoughts that we could have today. When Joseph told his brothers that he dreamed, one day, they would all kneel before him – I doubt he was thinking “I will be the number 2 guy in Egypt.” It was years later before that happened – and a lot of hardship for Joseph to endure.

My brethren, count it all joy WHEN you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” – James 1:2-8

Notice James did not use the word “IF” but “When”. I understand that to say trials are not an uncertainty but a definite.  Everyone faces trials in life. Maybe not like Joseph – but trials all the same. The unknown is how we will respond to them.  Joseph did not curl up in the fetal position in his jail cell – but even in prison he was faithful to God.  How we respond to what life brings is a declaration or demonstration of the sincerity and depth and value of our faith as we live and breathe and walk on this earth.

Every experience gives way to a choice – do I respond with the spirit or my flesh. Oh, trust me, our flesh will shout “Pick me! Pick me!” Waving its hand frantically like a child in the classroom knowing they have the answer. Trying to get its way. When Paul encouraged us to “offer ourselves as living sacrifices”, it is that moment that he was referring to. Not a once for all sacrifice of our flesh and our way of doing things and responding to life, but an everyday – moment by moment sacrifice of our flesh in favor of our faith and new life.

We are admonished over and over again to trust God in this life and not the wisdom of man which is to favor the old – sinful nature. 

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” – Galatians 5:16-25

When you read about the works of the Flesh I think our tendency is to look at the BIG ones thinking “Oh, I don’t do that” ignoring those that we practice perhaps daily. Read what Jesus had to say about murder and adultery. He said it was a sin of the heart not merely an action taken – if the action were not bad enough. The world needs to see Jesus and the only way it can is if you are willing to suffer – Just like Joseph. Just like Jesus.

Think about it – Pray about it - Believe it – Walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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