Our spiritual perspective in crisis guides our actions and reactions.
Yeshua taught that believers should be following the example of the Father by loving their enemies; that they should speak well of them, help them, and pray for their needs. They should never retaliate, but instead, offer to go above and beyond for those who would be oppressing them (Matthew 5:38-48).
One of the clearest examples of this type of godly perspective is exhibited in the life of Joseph. Sold into slavery by his own family, he could have resisted every aspect of his captivity as being unjust and fought tooth and nail to escape at any opportunity he had. And yet, we find quite the opposite taking place. He instead chose to go above and beyond for his captors, and Yahweh blessed his efforts every time.
Genesis 39:2-4 – “The Lord was with Joseph, and he became a successful man; he was in the house of his Egyptian master. His master saw that the Lord was with him, and that the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hands. So Joseph found favor in his sight and attended him; he made him overseer of his house and put him in charge of all that he had.”
Even though the wife of his master Potiphar created a controversy that threw Joseph into further distress, it appears the Joseph took even that additional oppression in stride as he sought to continually go above and beyond for his new captor in the Egyptian prison.
Genesis 39:21-23 – “And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; he remained there in prison. But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love; he gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s care all the prisoners who were in the prison, and whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. The chief jailer paid no heed to anything that was in Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made it prosper.”
At every step of the way, Joseph could have struggled and fought against his captors, but we find that was not the case. It appears that throughout his experience he understood a deeper spiritual principle of serving God to the best of one’s ability no matter the circumstance. He appears to have had a forgiving attitude toward his captors, recognizing that they were just doing what they did because that was who they were. Yet, he was somehow able to remain in a mindset that honored Yahweh at all times.
We get a glimpse into his spiritual perspective that helped him through those dark times when, in his rise to power at the right hand of the Pharaoh, he confronts his estranged brothers with his true identity, and offers the ultimate form of forgiveness to them.
Genesis 45:4-8 “…He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God…”
As believers, having and maintaining a perspective that God is ultimately in control of the main events of our lives as we submit to him provides a depth of release that should allow us to act in his best interest and to honor him in all we do. In those situations where we may feel oppressed, we can bring glory to his name by going above and beyond for our oppressors. It not only can soften the yoke we bear, but can be an opportunity for them to see the power of God working through us in situations where others would typically rebel or respond harshly.
Having a Joseph mindset can produce the fruit of the Spirit that include kindness, goodness and self-control in the midst of circumstances that may seem out of control. Recognizing that it is all under the control of the Almighty God can keep us centered and focused on honoring him by honorably serving others, even when (and especially when) our circumstances may appear unjust. It may just be that God is working a greater work that requires us to be placed in a position that may be uncomfortable for the moment but will ultimately result in his mercy and kindness being exhibited to others through our acceptance and honorable service through it.
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