January tried to take me out, y’all! Between traveling then being sick half the month, it’s all a blur. But guess who’s back!
At our last live event, The Gathering: A Time of Worship for Women, we talked about how God’s will, plan and purposes are unstoppable. He invites us to join Him in His work, but only if we’re willing to trade our agenda for His. We covered five concepts we must affirm if we want to participate in God’s grand plan. Over the next few months, I’d like to revisit each one.
Ready for the first one?
I have to warn you. This might hurt. I’ve had to slap a couple Band-aids on my sore toes while writing it. But I think we’re going to be better for it. So here we go.
To fully participate in the work and will of God, you and I must affirm the following statement:
A Boy and His Brothers
If you’re familiar with the story of Joseph, the son of Jacob, bore to him by his beloved Rachel, you know his life began as a privileged one. Clearly his father’s favorite son, Joseph sported a colorful robe his father made just for him. And his brothers despised him for it.
To add insult to injury, Joseph was a dreamer. He dreamed of his parents and brothers bowing down to him, signifying that he would function in a leadership capacity over them. After all was said and done, Joseph’s brothers hated him and were jealous of him (Gen. 37:4, 8, 11).
Their disdain for their brother comes to a head in Genesis 37:18 when they conspire to kill him. At Brother Reuben’s request, they compromise at a less drastic “Let’s not kill him. Let’s just throw him in this here pit instead.” (Gen. 37:22) Real thoughtful, guys.
The brothers callously sell Joseph into slavery for twenty shekels of silver, take Joseph’s colorful robe, dip it in goat’s blood and show it to their father. They know such a thing would devastate him, but their jealousy and hate for Joseph didn’t allow them to care.
“This we have found; please identify whether it is your son’s robe or not,” they said to their father. (Gen. 37:32)
The brothers’ hearts are so hardened toward Joseph that they refuse to acknowledge any personal connection. He’s no longer their brother. Only their father’s son.
Dreams Do Come True
Some time later, Joseph’s family members find themselves in the midst of a severe famine. The only place to purchase food is Egypt, the same Egypt where Joseph ended up when his brothers sold him into slavery, and the same Egypt where he is now in a position of leadership and authority, just as his dreams foretold.
So the brothers haul off to Egypt to buy food, where Joseph is governor.
“And Joseph recognized his brothers, but they did not recognize him.” (Gen. 42:8)
This is where things get interesting.
Knowing that he’s speaking to his brothers, Joseph accuses them of being spies.
The brothers vehemently deny the accusation. They even follow up their denial with the real kicker: “We are honest men.” (Gen. 42:11)
Honest men? Fellas, did you forget to read the part where you maliciously abandoned your brother, broke your father’s heart and went right on about your business, like nothing happened? And here you are presenting yourselves as honest men?
In their hearts, the brothers know their assertion isn’t true. That’s why they say to one another, not realizing they’re in Joseph’s presence nor that he can understand everything they’re saying, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.” (Gen. 42:21)
These brothers are going to great lengths to conceal realities about themselves that are painfully obvious.
Hide and Seek
Have you ever tried to hide something about yourself that was actually pretty easy to see? I have.
I remember very early in my pregnancy with my son going to work and not wanting to share the big news with everyone just yet. I wondered how I’d camouflage my already growing belly.
A friend handed me her sweater and said, “Just wear this. No one can see under it. You’ll be fine.”
It seemed like a good idea to me, so I put the sweater on and went on my merry way.
All was well until a few hours later when another friend spotted me from clear across the room and exclaimed, “Hey, you’re pregnant!”
I was certain she’d acquired some form of ESP. How else would she have discovered my well-kept secret?
“How did you know?” I asked, dumbfounded. “I figured this sweater was covering it.”
To which she responded, “Girl, if you think that sweater is hiding anything you are delusional!”
What my friend helped me see that day was if I thought a paper-thin sweater could hide a baby protruding from my belly, I was deceiving myself.
Some of us are so busy trying to cover up, conceal, hide and camouflage our flaws and struggles, terrified that someone will find out.
But can I tell you something? We already know!
Your sweater isn’t covering up anything! Many of our less than ideal character traits, despite our best efforts, are peaking through our sweater’s flimsy fabric. Yet we, like Joseph’s brothers, insist on trying to mask what can’t be hidden.
Peel off the layers
Why not stop hiding? Why not take off your sweater and acknowledge the truth about where you are so Jesus can change you?
Another word for deception is “lie.” All lies originate from the father of lies, better known as Satan. The last thing he wants you to do is embrace any form of truth. He’s quite fond of that self-deceptive sweater you throw on each morning, in fact.
Satan knows the more real you get with God and the more layers you take off, the closer you and God are going to get. Armed with this intel, Satan finds ways to entice us to embrace self-deception and cover up.
What is the truth that God wants you to tell? Are you brave enough to tell it?
Do you struggle with jealousy like Joseph’s brothers? Are you brave enough to tell the truth, renounce the deception, so you can walk in freedom?
Do you have an issue with gossip? Has our social-media-crazed-leave-your-opinion-in-the comments culture left you with an appetite for other people’s business that distracts you from your own issues? Tell the truth!
Do you tend to be the petty one in the group? Tell the truth!
Are you convinced that you’re never the problem and it’s everyone else that needs to change? Tell the truth!
Is it lust? Anger? Pride?
Are you bold enough to call out your truth as a barrier that hinders you spiritually?
Whatever your truth is (and don’t worry, I’ve got mine too!) until it is addressed with the light of God’s truth, it will continue to stop you and I from fully participating in the will of God for our lives.
So, are you brave enough?