The Discipline to Overcome

Vacation 2012 is over. Great week at the beach with my girls. Before and during I had some time to dwell on the faith of Joseph. Lest we forget because of the status with which he ended his life, Joseph had so much to overcome as he learned to follow the one true God.

At the end of it all, Joseph reveals – in a statement to his brothers – the mindset that enabled his success in overcoming and persevering through his circumstances.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. – Genesis 50:24

The story of Joseph starts in Genesis 37. At first sight, we see a boy on a pedestal, whose hope rested firmly on his favored status in the family (see the coat of many colors) and dreams given to him by God. All of this causes so much division between Joe and his brothers that their only perceived way out is to either kill Joseph or sell him into slavery. Some dysfunctional choice.

But it is this rejection by his brothers and life as a slave that strips Joseph of his identity as favored son and seems to mock his dreams of his brothers bowing before him. Those signs of privilege are gone. What will Joseph press into? Where will his hope come from?

At this fork in the road, if we look at the above statement, Joseph chose to rest in the promises of God. Having faith in what God has already done and promised in order to have the faith to overcome. Not faith in wealth or success.

Faith that God was the author of the story.

As a great grand-child of Abraham, Joseph was an heir to the promise of a land and a people. Even at the end, Joseph was living in expectancy of that promise as he gave direction about his bones. He wanted to be the first in the land of promise.

For us, the path to overcoming is the same. Regardless of what else God has done in your life, you can rest on one promise.

Jesus.

Jesus is the past promise.

He is the promised deliverer. Salvation. Comforter. Restorer of our broken image. Peacemaker in our relationship with God.

That is why the historicity of the virgin birth, unjust death on the cross, and resurrection three days later are so paramount. When all else is failing, we can rest our faith on what God has already done.

Amidst the questions and trials of life, this truth is the reset button. Jesus lived. And died so that I won’t have to.

Jesus is the future blessing.

Like Joseph’s expectation of the promised land, Jesus is our future. Faith in the past promise allows us to live in the expectancy of Jesus’ return. Knowing He is now preparing a place for us. Like being excited about a future cruise vacation because you’ve made the reservations, looking to what God has already done builds excitement and certainty about what God will do.

Regardless of the circumstances.

The is a discipline. The apostle Paul called it being transformed by the renewing of your mind. Our present words for it are preaching the truth to yourself. Being constantly aware, moment by moment, of the truth of Jesus.

So our eyes will not rest on this present world.

In your life, is what God has already done in Jesus enough to overcome? Why or why not?

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