January started with reading through the Book of Genesis. If you are reading through the Bible in a year, then you most likely found yourself reading through Genesis, as well. We start with Genesis because the very word Genesis literally means origin. In order to understand the rest of the story, it is incredibly important to understand the origin of the story. I really do love learning about origin stories in general and the Book of Genesis is truly an incredible book to read through.
Within the chapters of Genesis, there is a familiar story that has so many incredible lessons to us all and that’s the story of Joseph. I love that no matter how many times we read and study a certain story in the Bible, we can continually learn something new. Since the Word of God is God breathed, it means that God speaks to us through His Word. If you are having a hard time hearing the voice of God in your life, I promise you that if you spend some time in His Word, He will speak to you.
I won’t rehash the whole story, but if you care to brush up on on the details of this incredible story, read Genesis 37-50. For the sake of everyone’s time, and my own typing fingers, I’m going to focus on where we find ourselves in Genesis 39. Joseph, after having been sold into Egyptian slavery by his very jealous brothers, finds himself in another not so great circumstance. Joseph gets thrown into prison, after being falsely accused of committing adultery with Potiphar’s wife. Joseph had no reason to be thrown into a prison cell, and he had every reason to be angry and bitter to find himself in such circumstances. But, instead of allowing his emotions to get the best of him, he chose to place his continual trust in God.
When we find ourselves in less than ideal circumstances, sometimes at the hand of another person’s decisions, how do we respond? For a lot of us, we probably have a really different outlook than Joseph. At least, at first. As humans, it’s natural for us to respond with a narrative that might be similar to this, “This is so unfair. I don’t deserve this. God’s forgotten me. What hope is there? If God loves me, how did I end up here?” Man, we could fill up these pages with plenty of remarks that we make when we find ourselves in circumstances that we never asked for or ever thought we would find ourselves in. And, oftentimes, which is natural to human behavior, we begin to really identify with these narratives. We become a victim of our circumstances and allow such to be the lens by which we view the world, ourselves, and God.
To me, above everything else, this is what is so powerful about the story of Joseph. While he was in the prison, the Scriptures say, “But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him…the Lord was with him, and the Lord made everything that he did successful.” He had found favor, even in a prison cell. Because Joseph knew his identity, he didn’t let his circumstances define who he is.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Joseph’s circumstances did not change his identity. There is power in where you place your identity. Because Joseph made the choice to place his identity in the living God, He walked in favor and blessing. I don’t know where you find yourself today. I don’t know what kind of prison cell it may seem like you are in, but I hope you never forget this: Just because you are walking through the fire, it doesn’t change your identity. Your identity still belongs to the King. And, when you recognize where your identity lies, you can rest in the knowledge that your life will be successful for His Kingdom. You can rest in the confidence that God has not forsaken you, nor ever left your side. You can discover His perfect peace, even when nothing around you makes sense. Are you placing your identity in the truth of God’s Word or are you placing it in the voices of those around you? The choice is yours and mine. I hope we learn from Joseph’s perseverant faith, and the many many other stories in the Bible that points to the truth that those who walk in obedient faith to the gospel will never be forgotten. When you know your identity as a child of the King, it doesn’t matter where you end up, because you have discovered the greatest gift of all.
Let’s continue to walk out 2021 in the identity of who God says we are as His chosen people.
Little side note: I was recently asked, “I want to read the Bible, but where should I start?” This is actually the number one question I get asked when teaching bible studies. I think a lot of people feel that if they don’t start from the beginning, then they will miss something. And, this might be discouraging+stop a lot of people from picking up the big book. But, the really really cool thing about reading the Bible is that because God is outside of time, we can start from anywhere and find that everything is connected. God is eternal. God is as much present in Genesis as He is in Revelation. You can pick up the Bible and read from wherever, because God is actively engaged in each chapter. Right now. It’s mind blowing. I hope this encourages you to pick up the Word of God. It is the only tool in our lives that helps us to live in every day victory. There is no circumstance that we face that can keep us from His Truth. By speaking the Truth of the Word of God over our lives, we find freedom in every area of our lives.