A Question of Character

What do we do when our plans fall apart and the things we believe God called us into seem to come unglued?  All that hard work and preparation which seems to be wasted.  Or

maybe the dreams we have in our hearts seem to be like a distant ship sailing away from us off the horizon, and we seem to be getting further and further from what we feel God has spoken.  The feelings of defeat which can go with this can be hard to live through.  And at times we feel like giving up, and wonder ‘Did God really say?’

All of us feel this way at times.  It doesn’t matter who we are or where we come from we all struggle with these feelings.  And if we allow these feelings to take hold of us we will then settle into being defeated and will then miss out on what God is actually trying to accomplish in us, and as a result we will miss out on the future God is preparing us for.

In the bible story of Joseph, found in Genesis 37-50, we have a young man who had a dream from God.  God spoke to Joseph about his future and fully intended to do what He said.  God does what He says He will do.  He said in Isaiah 55:11 “My word will go out and not return to Me empty, But it will do what I wanted; it will accomplish what I determined.” (Voice) The problem was Joseph was a spoiled little brat of a teenager and was not ready at all for what God wanted to do through him.  His first response to God’s vision was to brag about it to his family, which started his journey into the abyss.  And everyday Joseph then had to choose if he was going to believe what God had said.  Often what God intends to do through us requires a process of doing things in us which most of us would like to avoid.  But as Rick Warren said “God is more interested in your character than your comfort.”

In God’s grand scheme, it’s never about orchestrating the right circumstances. It’s always about becoming the right person. And sometimes the worst of circumstances brings out the best in us! So what we perceive as the wrong circumstance can actually produce something right—or righteous—in us.

Batterson, Mark. Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny (p. 26). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Never forget that God hasn’t given up on you, and your circumstances don’t mean you have missed out on what God wants to do, and they definitely don’t mean you have messed things up so much that God has passed you over.  Our timetable and God’s timetable are not always the same, and what God wants to do in you is more important that what you feel He has called you to.  It is your character that you take with you to heaven, and it is the character He is building in you that will allow Him to use you as powerfully as He desires to.

To often we get caught up in the destination of what God wants to do that we miss out completely on the journey God has for us.  The circumstances we are going through right now may be painful and hard to take.  Joseph endured 13 years of slavery and imprisonment, all because God had a purpose for Him.  And for all of those 13 years God tested and tried Joseph’s character and refined him into a man who would one day become one of the most powerful men in the world.  A position which has destroyed many men before and since.

Like us Joseph had no idea what God was doing, and I am positive he felt abandoned by God at times and wondered where he had gone wrong.  But in the end God developed Joseph’s character to the point where He could release him into the destiny that he had been called into so many years before.  And as a result of God’s work on him for all those years Joseph, who was in a position to unleash powerful vengeance on his brothers for what they had done to him could say “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.” Genesis 50:20 NLT

You may not want to be where you are. Maybe you’re wrestling with depression or reeling from a mistake that seems unforgivable, or you’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired. Dare I suggest that God is cultivating character?   He is chipping and chiseling. And like a half-finished piece of art, it may not look beautiful yet. But God always finishes what He starts, as long as we don’t quit on Him. So you may not like your present circumstances, but they may be the key to your character development. And character development is the key to your future.  The worst circumstances often produce the best character and the best story line. That was certainly true of Joseph. And it’s definitely true of you and I.

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” Philippians 1:6 NLT

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