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Set Up for Success

Joseph was his dad’s favorite from day one. The problem was that made his brothers jealous. Joseph didn’t help the situation, because the Bible tells us that he flaunted the fact that he was loved more. Soon his brothers weren’t just jealous of their brother, they wanted him dead. Instead of killing their brother, they decided to throw him in the bottom of a well while they figured out what to do. Meanwhile, some slave traders come by and they decided they could get rid of their brother and make some money. The bothers sold Joseph for 20 shekels of silver and told their dad that he had died. To make his death look convincing, they smeared blood on Joseph’s colorful robe to make it look like he was eaten by an animal.

 

Meanwhile, Joseph is off to Egypt away from his family, his culture, his language and his beloved father. Instead of a place of honor, Joseph is a slave. He is at the lowest of low where he once was a son, is now considered property in a land that is not his own.

 

Genesis 39:1-6

When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt.

 

The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did. This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat!

God wants you to thrive.

 

Even when the enemy means to harm you, God wants to set you up for success. He wants you to prosper. God is going to take your pain and use it for your good. That only happens though, when God’s with you. So, how do you have God with you? Well, it starts with taking on a posture that says, “I’m gonna live my life for God’s glory, not for my glory.”

 

A lot of people that have been far from God, go to Him when they’re in a bad place. That is exactly what you should do when your life is falling apart. He doesn’t say, “Go get your life cleaned up, and then come to me.” No, he says, “Come to me as you are, and I’ll clean you up for myself.” Maybe you’ve got a broken heart or you’re going through a divorce. Maybe you just missed your promotion at work and you’re wondering if you should change careers. Everybody’s got different things going on, but God wants to take your mess and make it a message. God not only wants to bring healing to your life, but He actually wants to use it for His good. God doesn’t waste pain.

 

Romans 8:28

We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

 

God didn’t waste Joseph’s pain and he is not going to waste yours either. God was with Joseph not only in the good times, but in the bad times, too. While Joseph was in Potiphar’s house, God blessed him and everyone that was around him. The evidence that God was with Joseph was so clear that there was no denying it. Potiphar had been worshipping Egyptian gods like the moon, the sun and the Nile. But Joseph’s God made it so that everything he touched turned to gold. Potiphar’s thinking, “I got to put this guy in charge of as much stuff as I can.” What if this was our life? What if people saw God’s hand on our life and that gave a testimony of how good he was?

 

What if the people in your life that are so stressed out, started hanging out with you because the peace of God overflowed from you? The people who are depressed, desired to be around you because there’s a joy that never runs out in your life. The favor that God had on Joseph was so undeniable that his master put him in charge of his household and property. As a result, the Lord began to bless the master’s household for Joseph sake. Genesis tells us that Potiphar didn’t have to worry about anything except for what was on the menu to eat.

 

Genesis 39:6-7

Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded.

 

But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.”

 

We don’t know how long Joseph has been at Potiphar’s house but he’s probably in his mid 20’s and looking good. He’s in charge of everything. He’s young. He’s got influence. He’s jacked. He’s tan. He’s in charge of everything. Things are going well for Joseph and he catches the attention of who? Potiphar’s wife, the woman married to the chief executioner! Joseph denies her, not because it would be a great sin against Potiphar, but against God. Joseph’s motivations are revealed here. It’s not that he’s afraid of the chief executioner. He’s afraid of God.

 

Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

 

It’s wise to have respect and a reverence for the Holy God. He is our Creator and we are His creation. Don’t get it twisted. That’s how this thing works. We’re not supposed to be here and have the amazing life that He has given us. We’re shouldn’t even have the ability to even recognize and comprehend that there is a God who loves us. It is by God’s grace that we have what we have. Joseph understood this and didn’t want to screw anything up. Was he tempted? Absolutely! He’s in his 20s, hormones raging, probably doesn’t even have a fully developed prefrontal cortex. Joseph knows he’s not allowed to fool around with anybody because he’s a slave. And then he’s got this Egyptian beauty running around with no clothes on. He’s probably telling himself, “Just hold it together, hold together!” At the end of the day, he does not get in bed with her. Joseph has a healthy fear of God. He knows that is life exists to honor God.

 

Ever wonder why sin is such a big deal? It’s because sin dishonors God and hurts people. That’s why God hates sin. The thing is about sin is that not all sin is the same. Have you ever heard someone say that? Cheating on your homework in 11th grade and cheating on your wife are both sin. And can I tell you, they’re not the same in the eyes of God. These are not the same things, some anger God more than others, some have bigger consequences. It’s the person that you’re hurting, even if it’s yourself that God loves so much. We live in a world where there is secret sin, the sin that only you know about that you may think is not a big deal. But I can tell you that the secret sin is putting you in a holding pattern at the very least from God’s will for your life. Think of it like a treadmill, but a treadmill means you’re going nowhere. You think it’s only a sin against yourself, but I’m telling you, it’s going to destroy you, and God loves you.

 

Genesis 39:8-10

But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

 

Even though Potiphar’s wife kept putting pressure on Joseph, he refused to sleep with her. It says that he kept out of her way as much as possible. For most of us, avoiding sin is our go to strategy. Does temptation come from God or the devil? The devil. God doesn’t tempt you. The devil does that. We live in a world full of temptation. Temptation is setting you up to fail. God is never going to set you up to fail. Now, does God test us? 100% yes, but he doesn’t do that so we will fail, he does it so that we will win. God gives us tests when he knows that it’s setting us up for winning, but the devil will just tempt you all the time because the devil is here to kill, to steal and to destroy.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

 

Everybody goes through stuff, God’s not picking on you. And also, the devil is probably not picking on you. I mean the devil is a busy guy.

 

3 Different attacks that come at you:

  1. Demonic
  2. The World
  3. Our Flesh

 

When you know who God is, you know, you’re not outnumbered. It could be something demonic coming at you, but it could also be the world or your own selfishness. In the story of Joseph, he might have all three coming after him. Joseph’s own flesh was probably tempted. He’s got the world at him saying, “Hey, you’re in charge of everything, why not take his wife, too?” Joseph probably does have the devil coming after him because he sees God’s hand on his life. We know that Joseph is avoiding because the Bible tells us that he was resisting her day after day. What Joseph later discovered was that avoiding wasn’t going to make the temptation go away. There was something else that he needed to do.

Work smarter, not harder.

 

1 Corinthians 6:18

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

 

When it comes to sexual temptation, don’t even try avoiding it, flee and get the heck out of there. This is the only area of temptation where God himself is like, “RUN!” You were bought with a great price. God offers all of us the gift of salvation through the person and the work of Jesus Christ. When we agree to accept his gift of salvation, he in return gives us a perfect and sinless life. In order to receive God’s gift we also have to give him our past, future, current life and even our sin. It’s called the Great Exchange. I got His life for my life. It’s working out pretty well for me, I got His spirit and forgiveness for my sin. It’s a pretty good exchange that I got. Though I think that sinning against my body is only my problem, Jesus says, “That’s my body.” The world teaches you, “it’s my body, I can do whatever I want.” For Christians, our body is not our body, it’s His body.

 

We’ve got to be good stewards of what God has given us. It’s important that we eat healthy, take care of our bodies and honor what God has given us. All guys struggle with lust. I can’t speak for the gals, but I know that I live in a world where there are temptations everywhere. There’s all this stuff around me that I know you are facing, too. It’s a challenge every day to redirect our eyes and to honor God.

 

Genesis 39:11-21

One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

 

When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “this Hebrew has been with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

 

She kept his cloak beside her until his master came home. Then she told him this story: That Hebrew slave you brought us came to me to make sport of me. But as soon as I screamed for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house.”

 

When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, “This is how your slave treated me,” he burned with anger. Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison, that place where the king’s prisoners were confined.

 

But while Joseph was there in prison, the Lord was with him;

 

 

Isn’t it weird that he only throws him into prison? It was because the Lord was still with him. That’s why. Also, who knows, maybe he didn’t believe his wife. He should have killed Joseph because of the great dishonor shown to Potiphar, but even in the gnarliest situation, the Lord was with him. Even when nobody was for him, and nobody was around Him, the Lord was with him.

 

The thing that Joseph didn’t have that we have, is a spiritual family. We have people to be around us so we don’t need to be caught in these situations. You can get through just about anything in life, if you have the right people around you. But you need to take the responsibility to put those people around you. We have ways to help you find the right people to be put around you called Life Groups. We’re not a church of life groups. We’re a church for life groups. You need friends who are there for you, who are praying for you. That’s what we call a spiritual family.

Pastor Justice Coleman
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