Last week we studied how a person might become someone whom God can actually use in this world. And we learned hat to be used, you must first make a purposeful, passionate choice to be someone God uses...This may be the most important part of the entire study on how to be someone whom God can use.
Last week we studied how a person might become someone whom God can actually use in this world. And we learned hat to be used, you must first make a purposeful, passionate choice to be someone God uses. You must learn humbleness, putting God and others first. You must actively seek righteousness and hate your sin. You need to pursue Bible Study and Prayer with a new and different attitude of priority in life. You must be willing to act on what God reveals. Today we are going to get a second, unexpected part to this subject. This may be the most important part of the entire study on how to be someone whom God can use. It is the, "X Factor" of our formula in how to be successful for God. "X Factor" is defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary like this: "A circumstance, quality, or person that has a strong but unpredictable influence". Collins English Dictionary: "An unknown or unexplained element that makes something more interesting or valuable." Definitions.net Dictionary: "An unknown or hard-to-define influence, a factor with unknown or unforeseeable consequences." X-Men had the “X-Factor”. Without exception, every major player who was used powerfully of God in Scriptures had an event or a series of events orchestrated or controlled by God which molded them, matured them, humbled them, opened doors, changed circumstances, equipping them and making the way for their journey as they worked on His behalf. So, I guess it would be fair to say we can call this Factor, the "G-Factor" instead of the "X-Factor."
Let's take a brief look at the life of Joseph today and see how our ability to be used of God will most often be determined upon how we react to the "G-Factor" in our lives, and whether it molds us or shatters us.
Let's start with a very important and powerful thesis of the story of Joseph: God did not use Joseph because he was so special and usable in any way. Anything Joseph did have that was useable, God had blessed him with. But even then, all of these gifts and blessing were completely useless in and of themselves because of Joseph's limited knowledge and wisdom, and especially because Joseph's fallen nature would destroy anything righteous which God attempted to do with him. God didn't use him because he was special. God worked in his heart and life through orchestrated circumstances and events (G-Factor) that would mold him into something special, then God could use him in HIS Glory, Power, Knowledge, and Mercy—not Joseph's.
Let's begin: Genesis 37:2-4. Rather than speak to his brothers himself, or showing them an example of doing good, Joseph came tattling to daddy about his bad brothers. And when Joseph was given dreams about how God was planning to use him in the future, rather than humbly share them with his father, and contemplate their meaning, he gathered the family around to declare his important dream about his prestigious future. This, accompanied by his father Jacob’s very bad decision to show such blatant favoritism, made Him the object of extreme hatred. So, his brothers sold him secretly into slavery, and God used this "G-Factor" to do some things in Joseph's life that could never have been accomplished in any other way.
See if any of the reasons God may have done so could apply to some of us today. God had to remove him from an easy, pampered life; remove him from the focus of security and familiarity; remove him from any feelings of self-reliance, and take away the avenues of ego-boosting and self-focus, to force him to focus on and rely on no one but God. To make him lose any notion of his importance in front of others; to make him see himself in true reality; helpless and useless in his own power. If we could truly learn this, how usable could we be? That was the only beginning possible for God to use him; that was an impossibility using only words; that was the beginning of the "G-Factor" in his life. This uncontrollable, overwhelming “Factor" in his life could easily have ruined him forever, bringing bitterness, broken self-esteem, hopelessness, and despair (Imagine this happening at 17 yrs old). He could have become suicidal or reclused. He could have turned to foreign gods that surrounded him that didn't seem to have abandoned him like his God. What foreign gods do we turn to when we feel betrayed or let down by God? He could have decided to join this Egyptian people and forget those who had treated him so poorly, but Joseph is never once recorded as having ever doubted, questioned or fallen away from his God. He trusted God through this event. And this simple choice of trust, allowed God to begin the work of molding him into something special, something useable. Are we any different or better than all of these giants of Scriptures? Then doesn’t it stand to reason that God would work in our lives in the same manner if He uses us? God uses these stories to teach you and I not to despair in hard times, but to trust and know He is working.
Genesis 39:1-6: Joseph was sold as a slave to Potiphar, the Captain of Pharaoh's Guard. 1) This seemingly horrible turn of events, actually was positioning Joseph in a place where he could never have gotten himself to in any other way; a position he never would have strategized for himself in a million years; a position which would be crucial to reach the unthinkable later in life. 2) Because Joseph remained trusting, and strove to continue doing his best no matter where events placed him, God began using this event to engrain amazing traits into Joseph's character and faith that he never would have learned otherwise, forcing him to learn hard, disciplined work; forcing him to learn self-denial in service to others as a way of life; forcing him to acquire traits of management and supervision on a scale he could have gained no where else. 3) God used Joseph's obedience in the face of unexplained difficulties to be a massive proof of God's reality and works to those around Joseph. These events connected his life to those who would never have the opportunity to see God's goodness and power otherwise. This witness would have been destroyed had Joseph half-heartedly applied himself in this time of distress or had surrendered to despair. (Getting this?)
Genesis 39:6-9: Notice two things in this passage: 1) Joseph had the chance to steal from his master at any given moment, because his master trusted him implicitly 2) and Joseph had the chance to indulge in a sexual relationship, of which he would probably have had no other chance at the prime age of only 17 or 18 years old, hiding it indefinitely, allowing him to strike back at his captors in a satisfying way. When he had nothing else of joy or indulgence in life, when no one who would influence or judge him was around, he could easily have justified falling into this hidden sin, thinking he deserved it for his troubles and struggles. But Joseph chose to live for God first. His answer to Potiphar's wife said it all, "How can I sin against God?" Even when it didn't seem that God was being fair to him—that didn't excuse him to indulge in sinful self-satisfaction. Even when no one would see or credit him for his outstanding righteousness—here is where incredible growth of character and closeness to God occurred. These private moments of temptation, in a time when he seemingly was forgotten by God anyway, could have caused his entire life to shift into a completely different direction with one simple, hidden choice, losing his joy with God, and all of the future plans God had for him, that he didn't even realize at this moment. Luke 16:10. Think on this: I wonder how many plans God could have used us for, which ended with one wrong choice? How might we be used much more of God in the future, with small, hidden choices of faithfulness that only He sees, rather than justifying or sneaking with sin. This is where the battle is most often won or lost, isn't it?
Genesis 39:19-20: Joseph chose the right thing with Potiphar's wife, and he suffered terribly in spite of his faithfulness—actually as a direct cause of his faithfulness. Have you ever seen a person who seems to be working so hard for God, suddenly be overcome by a terrible event or circumstances, and think, "Why, of all people, did God let that person suffer?” Or even think the same thing about yourself, when you are trying to do the right thing for God, and still something bad happens to you? The next time this thought enters your mind, we do not know what God is doing in His infinite wisdom. These moments will truly test whether we believe He is real, and whether He truly loves us or not. And if our goal in this life is to honor and serve God above all else, moments like these will allow us to show true surrender and trust like no other opportunity, as the world around us sees our faith and joy in a seemingly unfair circumstance.
Isaiah 26:3: Joseph's faith in God, even when his righteousness brought more difficulty, again, put the chess pieces in place for an amazing event in the future, and grew Joseph in character and maturity beyond anything he could have attained in his easy, controlled life. Romans 5:3-5: We sometimes ask, “Where are you God”, in these dark times. But let me tell you, we can feel His Presence and love more than ever at these times if we are focused on Him, and not our circumstances. Joseph did more than just hang on in faith during this time of confusion and loss. He continued to care about others above himself, even when no one else gave him credit for it; even when it benefitted him in no way. He continued to work for God with all that he had, in the midst of trials, letting faith, not circumstances shape his reaction. Never could there be a truer picture of Christ!
Genesis 41:14-16, 38-40: And then it happened: all of the events, pain and seemingly unrelated misfortunes came together in ways Joseph could never imagine or plan, and Joseph was careful to give God all glory and recognition. Because God had brought him down a path he'd never have chosen. God taught him things he'd never have learned. God gave him a new attitude and heart through his trials. God sustained him when he would have fallen. God orchestrated events that were beyond his control or knowledge. And all Joseph had to do was trust God's heart and wisdom and keep walking in love, peace and servitude.
When Joseph finally did reach the other side of his trials, and he was empowered—even justified—to hate and hurt those who treated him poorly, he used all that God had taught him and answered hatred with love and genuine concern. When Joseph was given power, control and comfort, when he no longer appeared to need God's help or protection, when he easily could have accepted all praise and glory for himself, he kept the loving heart of a servant. He kept his focus on God's plan and God's people, and he remained humble, knowing it was all God. So, the character he kept in times of comfort and blessings was every bit as important in being used of God as his character in trials. What if God had never allowed all of these trials and difficulties into Joseph's life? Joseph would have remained soft and arrogant. He would never have grown in perseverance, determination, toughness, humbleness, trust, righteousness; he would never have foreseen the needs to come, nor found such an unfathomable plan to save and raise a nation, and millions of people would never have had the chance to see God's power and sovereignty.
If you are serious about being someone that God can and will use, you should not only be expectant, but anticipating the "G-Factors" in your life—those unforeseen, uncomfortable, difficult, even risky challenges placed before you—because this is where your faith will be grown, your character will be molded, and your heart will be forever changed. Then you will be ready for service in His Power, for His Glory. And when these things come, simply trust God's heart and wisdom, and keep walking in love, in peace and in servitude. He will do all the rest.
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