Ups & downs
When I was a kid, I loved riding roller coasters. I remember once, on a slow day at Carowinds, riding the old wooden coaster “Thunder Road” eight times in a row! Another time, I rode the “Corkscrew” coaster at the old Pavilion in Myrtle Beach six times in a row. As an adult, I have discovered that life is a lot like a roller coaster ride, filled with plenty of ups and downs, highs and lows. It can be a treacherous ride at times.
In the Bible, there was a man named Joseph, a son of Jacob, whose life was filled with spectacular highs and lows. Through all his ups and downs, he honored and trusted God again and again. We can learn some vital life lessons from Joseph’s wild ride through life.
Guest speaker, Andy Lackey shared some excellent insights from Joseph’s life at Watermark this past Sunday as we continued our series, Heroes: Life Lessons from Faith Champions.
Lesson #1 - Joseph shows us how to resist temptation. After being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, Joseph miraculously rises to a position as an estate manager for a powerful Egyptian government official named Potiphar. Potiphar’s wife has an eye for the handsome Joseph and tries to seduce him again and again. When she gets aggressive with her advances, Joseph doesn’t walk away, he runs! (Gen. 39:18).
Sin is seductive and alluring. Sometimes we make the mistake of getting too close to the edge by rationalizing decisions that put us in dangerous and compromising places. Joseph teaches us that the best way to deal with temptation is to flee it as fast as possible. If you are getting close to making a sinful, life-altering decision, follow the lesson Joseph taught us for resisting temptation… turn and run!
Lesson # 2 - Joseph shows us how to rest in God’s sovereignty. Sadly, after Joseph rejected her, Potiphar’s wife framed him and caused her husband to throw Joseph into prison. Joseph must have been in a really low place; yet he remained faithful. Later, with God’s hand on him, Joseph would again rise to a position of prominence, becoming second in command of all of Egypt. He would have a chance to save his country, including his own family, from a massive famine. Ironically, his brothers, who had sold him to slavery, would appear before him asking for food.
What would you have done? Most people would have been vindictive and angry; but Joseph recognized that God had used all the “low” events in his life to position him to save his people from starvation and death.
When his brothers realized that Joseph was now in this powerful position, they were afraid. 19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 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. Genesis 50:19–20
Joseph knew that God had a purpose in his suffering… God allowed Joseph to endure hardship for a greater good. Sometimes you may find yourself confused by the lows in your life, but trust that God can bring about great good from your darkest difficulties and struggles, just as He did with Joseph. (Ref. Romans 8:28)
Lesson #3 - Joseph shows us how to reflect and resemble Christ. There are some clear similarities between Jospeh and Jesus. No doubt, Joseph points us to Christ in many ways. The most telling may have been the remarkable grace and forgiveness that he showed his brothers.
Does your life reflect Christ? Can people look at you and see Christ? At Watermark, we want to make an impression and leave a mark for Christ in all that we say and do!
For much more, click here to listen to Heroes: Part 2 - Joseph.