CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
By Denise M. Kohlmeyer
Single Page/Printer Friendly
Continued from Page One
Principle #4: YIELD
There is purpose in our pits. God knows the Big Picture of what He's trying to accomplish in His Kingdom, using our lives to fulfill those plans. And if holding us in a pit achieves His purposes, then we must yield to what He's doing, as hard as that may be.
Looking at Joseph's life, we can see what God was trying to accomplish: preparation. God had a plan in place to save the Israelites from extinction; but the man He wanted to use to bring that plan to fruition wasn't quite ready. God needed to prepare Joseph intellectually, emotionally, administratively, spiritually. And that preparation took the form of several pits.
While we don't have the complete picture of our lives yet, we can be certain that our pits have a godly purpose too: transformation, spiritual maturity, preparation, greater dependence upon God, stronger faith, closer conformity to Jesus Christ. And it's all good!
We would be wise, then, to yield, to give way, surrender, relinquish — and do so graciously, voluntarily, cooperatively. God wants to use us, longs to use us. But it may take a pit or two.
Principle #5: SERVE
Joseph didn't grovel in his pits, nor did he throw any pit-y parties (pun intended ). He served diligently, faithfully. In fact, he was so trustworthy that the Lord caused him to be successful/prosperous. And it didn't go unnoticed. In each pit, Joseph was promoted: from lowly slave to overseer (Genesis 39:6), from lowly prisoner to under-warden (Genesis 39:22).
A pit is the perfect time to serve (if we're able, that is). Serving forces us to take our eyes off of our own troubles and focus instead on the needs of others. So serve, however that may look: praying for others, writing encouraging notes/emails, making a meal for a sick friend, driving an elderly neighbor to an appointment, volunteering at the food pantry, rocking babies in the nursery.
And the blessings, while they may not include promotions, are innumerable and invaluable.
Principle #6: PRAY
Pit prayers are the best. They tend to be the most genuine, heart-felt prayers because they come from a place of vulnerability, born out of a deep need and longing for help. But what do we pray for?
Healing of our wounded hearts and spirits, especially if our pits are because of the sinful actions of others like Joseph's brothers' betrayal.
But it often takes time, time and God, for we can only be healed spiritually and emotionally by His stripes (Isaiah 53:5b). I know this to be true because it took prayer, time and the work of the Lord to heal the deep-seated wounds left by the erratic behavior of my strung-out sibling. But I am healed! And I can talk about those years now without any pain whatsoever.
Secondly, we pray for those who've hurt us: our enemies. To show us how, we look to Jesus, who prayed for the very ones who strung Him up on a cross to die. "But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44).
And we pray for the reconciliation and restoration of fractured relationships like Joseph with his brothers. Like me with my sibling. Within the past year, this sibling has surrendered their life to the Lord. They are indeed a new creature in Christ, and our relationship has been wonderfully restored.
And it's all because of prayer!
Principle #7: CONFESS
Honestly, some of my pits have been of my own making, because of my own sinful choices: flunking out of college because I partied too much, harsh words that wounded others, running ahead of God's plan only to be disciplined. And the only way out of these particular pits is to confess the sin that put us there.
To confess means to consent fully, agree out and out with God that we have missed the mark of His holy standards. Confession is the only way to be rescued from self-inflicted pits. And with confession comes the rescue, through God's unfailing forgiveness. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
Principle #8: FORGIVE & BLESS
"Am I in the place of God?" Joseph asked when his brothers threw themselves down before him, pleading for forgiveness (Genesis 50:18). That verse always cut me to the quick whenever I feel like withholding forgiveness out of my pain. But I must forgive, like Joseph. And like Jesus, who forgave His betrayers (Luke 23:34).
I am not in the place of God either. I chose to forgive my sibling. It wasn't easy, but God gave me the strength and courage to do so. After all, I've been forgiven much. Who I am, indeed, to withhold that which I have so freely received!
And then, as if forgiveness wasn't enough, Joseph did something extraordinary. He went the extra mile. "I will provide for you and your children" (Genesis 50:21). He blessed his brothers by offering them a home, thus saving all seventy really, the entire nation of Israel from certain death.
Genuine forgiveness demonstrates itself with acts of kindness towards those who offend us.
Just look at the genuine forgiveness and kindness God has demonstrated towards us, His offenders. "But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Image Credit: Unsplash; untitled; Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Depression | God-Father | Hardships | Personal-Life
comments powered by Disqus
Published on 5-9-16