Saturday, October 22, 2011

Joseph's Self-Worth

You can't love others until you learn to love yourself.

Is this a true statement? Do you believe it?

It's a message that is shouted loud and clear every time we turn on the television, look at a magazine, read a billboard, watch a movie or listen to music. If the twenty-first century had a theme to it, it would be ME FIRST.

We no longer put other gods before God, we simply place ourselves before God. I mean, come on, how can we love Him if we don't first love ourselves?

If the story of Joseph was being written today, the ending would look like this:

Jacob, after living in Egypt with his family and rock star son, Joseph, for 17 years, finally dies, and his sons begin to shake in their boots. As long as their father was alive, Joseph would show them mercy, but with daddy out of the way, now Joseph could avenge their sin and get even for the miserable life he had led.

When Joseph heard of their fears, he called them to come before him. Sitting on his throne, still acting as second in command in Egypt, he looked down on them and said, "Don't be afraid for your lives, my brothers. Can't you see? I'm doing fine. I've been in counseling. I've worked through my issues and truth be known, I'm going to be alright. I've really learned to love myself because I was the only person I had with me throughout the hard times. But I dug deep and now, because I am a survivor, I can have a relationship with you because I'm just that kind of guy."

The end.

Thankfully Joseph didn't have modern psychology to help him process his past.

All he had was God and that's all he needed.

Joseph didn't find his self worth in his father's love, his success in managing Potiphar's household, his good looks, his ability to run a prison or interpret dreams, and he certainly never relied on his own strength to save the known world from great famine. He found his value in God. He chose not to wallow in self-pity but trusted in a sovereign God who would be faithful to His promises. He even trusted that God would judge his brothers and he didn't have to - listen to what he really said when they came to him:

"Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones."

Joseph didn't have to judge his brothers. God would do that. All he had to do was keep his eyes on the Lord and find his value within the arms of the Almighty.

In a culture which puts self first, as believers we are called to a higher standard. We know God. We know His promises. Our lives have been bought with Jesus' blood. We no longer find our value in our own comfort or pleasure, but in His Son.

If you think you've got it rough, be sure to read Joseph's story this week and perhaps you will gain a new perspective on the call to walk by faith. (Genesis 37-50)

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