Your character will be tested, so get control of your emotions.

We are using Joseph as a good example of our need for patience.  We are seeking to learn from the different phases of Joseph’s life.  Each phase (paternal, pit, Potiphar, prison, and palace/Prime Minister) has significance to this series and to our lives.  There are lessons to be learned in every season.   

(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. 

(Ecc 3:1 ERV) 

There is a right time for everything, and everything on earth will happen at the right time. 

(Gen 42:9-13 ERV) 

 9 Then Joseph remembered the dreams that he had dreamed about his brothers. 

Joseph said to his brothers, “You have not come to buy food! You are spies. You came to learn where we are weak.” 

10 But the brothers said to him, “No, sir, we come as your servants. We have come only to buy food.  

11 We are all brothers—we all have the same father. We are honest men. We have come only to buy food.” 

12 Then Joseph said to them, “No, you have come to spy on us!” 

13 And the brothers said, “No, sir, we come as servants from Canaan. We are all brothers, sons of the same father. There were twelve brothers in our family. Our youngest brother is still at home with our father, and the other brother died a long time ago.” 

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

1.  Never settle for any less than what God said. 

This week and this new year, we start with Joseph seeing his brothers for the first time in over 20 years.  In our text, Joseph accused his brothers of being spies.  They adamantly refuted the claim and explained that they were honest men from the same family.  It is unlikely that a father would send 10 of his sons to spy out another country.  But Joseph insisted that they were spies.  This is when they let out the information he was probably after.  They let Joseph know that   They said, “No, sir, we come as servants from Canaan. We are all brothers, sons of the same father. There were twelve brothers in our family. Our youngest brother is still at home with our father, and the other brother died a long time ago.” 

Why is this important?  Because it was a reassurance to Joseph that both dreams would come to pass.  All Joseph needed to do at this point was not to do anything that would jeopardize the completion of the second dream. 

The second dream involved his father and his full-blood brother, Benjamin.  Although his emotions were probably going crazy, Joseph had to control himself if he was going to experience the fullness of God’s blessing.  The first dream had just been completed before his eyes.  But he needed to maintain his composure and hold on long enough to see the second dream. 

— Joseph had been through so much that it would have been understandable if he forgot all about the second dream and had revealed himself to his brothers at that moment.  But thankfully he didn’t.  His actions give us a picture of the composure we will require in order to see the full manifestation of the promise. 

— Some people, because of the pain they have endured while they are waiting on God (it has been hard, it has been long, it has been arduous), are quick to settle for anything that looks like a blessing, even if it is NOT what God said.  Don’t make that mistake.  If you settle for less than what God said, you may never receive the fullness of the promise.  Joseph did not settle.  May the same be said for you!  This can be especially true with COVID still going on.  

2.  The testing of your FAITH and the testing of your character are NOT the same thing. 

For weeks we have been studying what happens when your faith is tested.  The text is clear that the testing of your faith produces patience.  As your patience develops and you become mature, your character will be tested as well.  The testing of your character will prove the true level of your maturity. 

Joseph waited 13 years for his breakthrough to come.  He patiently endured the pit, Potiphar, and prison phases of his life.  His patience paid off.  He made it to the palace.  By the time he had the run-in with his brothers, it had been over 20 years since he saw them.  The last time he saw them he was being betrayed by them.  They almost killed him. They sold him off as a slave.  They told their father that he was dead.   

Over 20 years later, Joseph stood the test of his faith.  He was clothed with the best linens.  He was protected by security detail.  He had a wife and two children.  He was financially set for life.  He had supreme power.  The only person in Egypt who was more powerful than him was Pharaoh.  Now his character was going to be tested.   

Joseph had the power to snap his fingers and have his brothers killed.  He had the power to get revenge if he wanted it.  But just because you can get revenge, it does not mean you should.  God is love.  Because He is love, He will lead you to do things that overrule your emotions and your flesh.  If you are able to obey God in a moment like this, when your emotions are going crazy and when you clearly have the opportunity to get someone back for what they did to you, it is a true test of your character.  If you pass this type of test, it is an indication that you are maturing in Christ. 

Pause for a moment and place yourself in Joseph’s shoes.  Would you pass the love-test at that moment?  Do you have enough character to contain yourself and do what God was leading Joseph to do, or would you lash out in anger and pain?  That is a test of your character and it is much different than a test of your faith. 

At that moment, the test of Joseph’s character was proven within the internal jury of his soul.  Would you pass that test?   

3.  You can destroy all you have been working on for years in just a few seconds of uncontrolled anger. 

While your faith is being tested, your character will be tested as well.  Joseph was standing in front of 10 of his brothers.  These were the same 10 who almost killed him and sold him off as a slave.  But Joseph maintained his composure.  He was not in a hurry to expose himself.  The test of his character was being proven within the internal jury of his soul.  If he still harbored resentment and hatred towards his brothers it would come out.  Or if he had truly developed into a man of God he would have the ability to love them despite their treatment.  Joseph had the power to had them all executed, but it is clear that Joseph was more interested in seeing the promises of God manifested in his life.  Had he operated in hatred and bitterness and had his brothers killed he would have canceled-out the manifestation of the second dream.  This is very important.  If he did not have his emotions under control he could have forfeited God’s best with just a few seconds of anger. 

Many today forfeit God’s best for just a few seconds of uncontrolled action.  Some lose their families over a few seconds of uncontrolled passion.  Some lose their careers over a few seconds of uncontrolled anger.  Joseph remained in control of himself (spirit, soul, and body), he remained in character, and he calmly expected the manifestation of the second dream. 

Here are a few closing thoughts for today: 

— God wants to fulfill every promise He has made to you before you die. 

— Your expectation should be to see God’s best in every area of your life and you should never settle for anything less. 

— Discipline is the ability to make the decisions that will take you towards an expected end.  Joseph exercised discipline.  If you want God’s best, you will have to do the same. 

— Your decisions/actions will either bring you closer to or further from God’s best

— If you do not master your emotions you can abort God’s dream for your life with just a few minutes of uncontrolled action. 

Closing prayer:  

Father, I will never settle for anything less than what You have spoken over me.  I open my heart to Your dream and I walk in faith in order to see the dream come to fruition.  As my faith is tested, I am developing patient endurance.  Along the way, my character will be tested as well.  I will have moments when my emotions are going crazy and when Your Spirit will lead me to choose love over selfishness, peace over revenge, and calm over anger.  Your Spirit will remind me that YOU ARE LOVE and that since You live IN ME, I am to walk in LOVE as well.  I will pass those tests.  I walk by faith, I add patience to my faith, and I walk in LOVE every day.  I refuse to abort Your best for a few seconds of uncontrolled action.  Your vision for my life RESTRAINS me and I maintain my peace. I pray this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen. 

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