There may be a Prison Phase before the Prime Minister Phase

Are you willing to Pay the price for your God given assignment? 

(James 1:2-4 TPT) 

2 My fellow believers, when it seems as though you are facing nothing but difficulties see it as an invaluable opportunity to experience the greatest joy that you can!  

3 For you know that when your faith is tested it stirs up power within you to endure all things.  

4 And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking. 

(Gen 39:21-23 ERV) 

21 The Lord was with Joseph and continued to show his kindness to him, so the commander of the prison guards began to like Joseph. 

22 The commander of the guards put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners. Joseph was their leader, but he still did the same work they did.  

23 The commander of the guards trusted Joseph with everything that was in the prison. This happened because the Lord was with Joseph. The Lord helped Joseph be successful in everything he did. 

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things. 

1.  God calls you by His unearned grace, but that does not mean it will be easy! 

The Apostle Paul said about his call: “But even before I was born, God chose me and called me by his marvelous grace. Then it pleased him to reveal his Son to me so that I would proclaim the Good News about Jesus to the Gentiles.”  (Gal 1:15,16 NLT).  

One of the hardest things for believers to truly settle in their hearts is the fact that God calls you by His grace and not your works. 

a)  Paul and Joseph did nothing to earn or deserve their call.  God called Paul while he was on his way to persecute Christians.  God gave Joseph the dream while he still a young and arrogant teenager, living in his father’s home.  But the truth is that while Paul discovered his call on the road to Damascus, and while Joseph discovered his call while he was in a deep sleep, both men were called before the world began.  Both were called before they were born.  Neither did anything to earn or deserve their assignment.  The argument can be made that both were unqualified. But God called them anyway.  Because God calls us by His grace and not our merit.  What was true for Paul and Joseph is true for you! Again, God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!  

b)  God does not call you because of your works.  God calls you to His purpose, by His grace (see 2 Tim 1:9). 

c)  God’s call on your life is finished.  It will not change.  You cannot disqualify yourself, because you never qualified in the first place.  However, this is not a license to sin to do whatever we want, but a good reminder this morning! All you can do is accept, believe, embrace, and walk-in God’s call because it is His finished work.  When you do, you will experience the life you were born to live and it will be amazing.  However, as we will learn today, it will not be easy.  God’s FREE call comes at a HIGH COST.  That cost is EVERYTHING!  Becoming the man/woman God called you to be will literally COST you everything! Remember, Jesus said, whoever will lose their life for My sake will find it (Matt 10:39).  

d)  There is a supernatural life waiting for you on the other side of your personal cross.  The day you die to self is the day you will begin living it.  It’s easy to look at Prime Minister Joseph, living in the palace, and say, “Wow.  I want to be like him.”  But you don’t know what he went through.  People see your glory, but they don’t know your story.  Joseph had to endure the paternal phase, pit phase, Potiphar phase, and prison phase of his life before he could enjoy the Prime Minister phase.  So, while God’s call is free, the process is not.  It will cost you everything!  

2.  You have the GRACE for your divine assignment. 

Paul said, “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.” (Rom 11:6 NIV).  He also said, “God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us new people so that we would spend our lives doing the good things he had already planned for us to do.” (Eph 2:10 ERV)  

a)  The message of God’s grace is often offensive to those who want to work for everything they get from God.  It’s hard to accept the fact that you cannot work for it and you could never earn it. 

b)  While we cannot work FOR grace, because it is free.  The Bible clearly teaches us that we are to work BY grace.  There are things God called us to from the foundations of the world — Paul calls them “good works” — and God has already given us the grace to do those things.  Everything we have to face, no matter how difficult, the grace of God is on us to do them. So, we are not saved by works but however, since we are saved, we are called TO DO good works now that we have been saved!  

c)  God will only require OF you what He has already deposited IN you! Our goal now is to hear from heaven concerning His plans for our lives and to then launch out in faith to bring those things to pass.  We do this fully believing that God has already equipped to do what He called us to do. We are not performing FOR the assignment,  We are performing BECAUSE we have been assigned. 

d)  While it is true that Joseph endured many challenges on the road to his purpose, it is also true that God was with him every step of the way.  God graced him to become the man He called him to be.  What was true for Joseph is true for you!  You were born for this!  So, don’t give up! 

3.  While God’s call is FREE, it is going to COST you everything! 

When Joseph made it to the prison I can only imagine what was going through his head.  He probably had questions like we all do: 

— God, where are you? 

— Why is this happening to me? 

— Why did you let this happen? 

— Did I do something wrong? 

— Have you left me? 

— Have you forgotten about me? 

Joseph endured painful situation after painful situation until he ultimately made it to the palace.  Which is why he needed faith AND patience.  When God’s timing was right, Joseph was promoted from prisoner to Prime Minister in ONE DAY!  That’s an awesome story, but he had to wait 13 years for it.  He then had to wait another 9 years before he was reunited with his brothers.  Let’s glean a few nuggets from this. 

a)  The dream is free, but the processing is not.  God gave Joseph the dream when he was just 17.  The dream came to pass when he was 39.  Joseph could have never imaged all he would have to go through in those 22 years. 

b)  God will show the dream, to get you excited about it.  But He may not show you the processing.  Because He knows you can’t handle knowing about it.  If you had foreknowledge of everything you would have to endure in order to become the man/woman you are called to be, you might run the other way!   

c)  If you watched the Michael Jordan documentary on ESPN (The Last Dance).  At the end of episode 7, Michael Jordan said something to the effect of: “There is a cost to be a winner.  There is a cost to be a leader.  Not everyone was willing to pay that cost.”  Joseph had to pay the cost to become the man he was called to be.  I have been, and still am, paying the cost of living the life God has called me to.  My question to you is: ARE YOU WILLING TO PAY THE COST?  The call is free.  But if you want it, IT WILL COST YOU EVERYTHING! So, when we sing, “I surrender all” we have to mean it.  

Closing Thought: I also want to point out that when we read these texts we might think God is calling us to greatness as God did Joseph. However, like we have been saying, greatness is defined by God and not us! Greatness is when we fulfill God’s call on our lives. If we do that, there may be times when we never become famous and some people may never know our name! And that’s ok! We are NOT Joseph, nor David, or Paul or anyone else for that matter, I am ME! And what God has more me is for me and what God had for them is for them. So, I don’t need to be upset if I never achieve what they achieved in the Bible. I don’t have their assignment and they don’t have mine, so, no need to feel disappointed, Amen?  

Closing Prayer:  Father, I thank You for calling me from my mother’s womb. You did it for FREE.  You called me by Grace.  Grace is unearned, unmerited, and undeserved.  I did nothing to earn the call.  The call was FREE.  However, now, for me to become what You have called me to be, IT WILL COST ME EVERYTHING!  I am willing to pay the cost.  My life is Yours.  I will travel down the path to my purpose and I will never stop until You get OUT OF ME everything You deposited IN ME, and I shall do it BEFORE I DIE!  I pray this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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