- Prov. 29:18 “Where there is no vision the people perish”
- Everybody has a dream, vision implanted in them by God – a hope of what can be and do.
- Your dream is your future – it is what your life moves toward.
- Dream: Cruise, new house, new job – these are about personal fulfilment.
- God given dream: This always is about Kingdom of God advancing – people changed.
- Dreams can be lost, stolen – without dream (God given revelation) opportunities are wasted.
- Dream killers – are like terrorists, guerrillas – stalk you, try to destroy your dream and future.
- Dream Killer #1 – Undeveloped Character
- Eph. 2:10 For you are His workmanship – God is working to develop your character.
- Success is not always accomplished by most gifted, most talented.
- Your gift is bigger than your character – your gift opens opportunities for you.
- Your character is like a rudder on a ship – without character end up on rocks.
- Character Who you are when no-one but God is looking.
Your values, your world view, your attitudes, your choices, motivations
- World is concerned with image – looking good, positioning self, appearances.
– God is concerned with character – who you are, substance, positioning in heart.
– Bible abounds with gifted people whose character failed – demonstrating consequences.
– Character: Who you really are! How authentic are you?
- How God Develops Your Character
- Jam.1:2-5 “..knowing the trying of your faith works patience…”
- God sets up circumstances so we have opportunity to grow in character.
- In every trial = NT1383 = to put to the test to examine quality – God provides wisdom.
- Every person faces difficulties, pressures, frustrations, challenges, pain in life.
Generally people do not welcome these – they respond poorly.
e.g. passive – fate; must be reaping what deserve; escape – fantasies, drugs, suicide, anger and resentment; blame and bitterness; pride and self promotion.
- God wants to teach us patience and maturity through challenges we face.
- “Works” = NT2716 = to accomplish, to prepare or equip you.
- “Patience” = NT5281 = endurance, courage, character – unmoved from purpose.
- Choice: How do you respond to difficulties, pressure, setback,
Rejoice and trust God? Or React?
- If you don’t know what to do – ask God for wisdom.
- The Example of Joseph – How God prepared a Ruler
- Gen 37:5 “Now Joseph had a dream”
– God put a dream – prophetic dream in Joseph’s heart – life purpose
– Joseph was not clear about how dream fulfilled.
– Joseph was only 17 and undeveloped in character and wisdom.
– Joseph’s dream was bigger than his character.
- Joseph faced several painful situations in which his character was developed.
What Joseph Experienced:
- At Home
(a) Judgement, criticism and hatred of his own brothers.
– Gen.37:4 They hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.
People don’t easily recognise hatred – comes as judgement, criticism, ‘words’.
– Gen.37:5,8 They hated him more for his dreams and his words.
(b) Betrayed by his brothers – sold as slave to Egypt
- In Egypt
(a) Temptation daily
– Gen.39:7 “…the masters wife cast longing eyes on Joseph and said – lie with me”
During temptation God seems far away and the temptation looks so attractive
Temptation tests your character
(b) False accusation, injustice, imprisonment
“..his anger was aroused, then Joseph’s master took him and put him in prison.”
In the face of false accusation and injustice it is easy to become defensive and angry
- 3. In Prison
(a) Ingratitude from people Joseph helped
– Gen.40:21-23 “The chief butler did not remember Joseph but forgot him.”
When the people you help are ungrateful it tests your motives and reactions
(b) Delay of release from prison
– Gen.41:1 “Then it came to pass at the end of 2 full years.”
Delay does not mean God has forgotten you
When your dream is delayed it is easy to become impatient and try to “help God out”
- Each of these experiences were deeply painful but were opportunities to develop character.
- How to Develop Character in Adversity
- In every situation Joseph was in he grew and prospered and the favour of God.
- His home, Egypt, prison – the Lord was with him.
Gen.39:3 “The Lord was with him and made all he did to prosper in his hand”.
Gen.39.23 “The Lord was with him and whatever he did the Lord made it prosper”.
- N.B. You must learn how to prosper where you are! Your character is holding you place.
- People who fail in life situations often think they are called to ministry!
Keys to growing in Character:
(i) Courage: Joseph held onto the Word of God (the dream)
- Ps 105:17-19
- Hurt = OT6031 = afflict, humiliate, cause great pain and grief, mistreat.
- Word of God tried = OT6884 = to refine gold, test the quality, smelt.
- He faced a conflict between what God had promised and what he was experiencing- He choes to hold and confess God’s Word
(ii) Loyalty: Joseph held onto his Relationship with God
- Loyalty in adversity is an evidence of faith
- “Bitterly grieved” = OT4843 = to enrage, make bitter by ill treatment.
- Joseph experienced deep pain, grief, anger, bitterness through his experiences.
- “Archers” = Baal – Lord of Arrows = to chop to pieces, pierce, wound.
- Bow remained strong = OT386 = ever-flowing, steady flow, enduring.
He never lost his inner flow of life with God through his experiences.
- He was strengthened by God – He turned to Him in crisis and pain.
(iii) Purity:Joseph resolved the deep inner pain of his experiences
- Gen.45:4-8 Joseph speaks to his brothers.
- He had experienced deep pain at his brothers hands Gen.42:21
- He had grown in character by resolving the pain of his experiences
- v5 His heart was full of grace – free from anger, resentment and desire for revenge, full of love, compassion for his brothers.
- v5 He acknowledged God used pain to prepare him for rulership
- v7-8 He acknowledged God promoted him to his position of rulership. It was not by his skills or by self promotion
(iv) Serving People: Joseph served diligently and was highly productive
- Gen.39:21-23..and whatever he did The Lord made it prosper
- In every situation, no matter how difficult Joseph prospered in all he did
- He did not serve reluctantly but with passion and diligence
- Serving is a key to greatness in The Kingdom of God Mt.20:25-28
- If you cannot serve where you are and be productive how can God promote you?
- What dreams do you have that God has put in your heart?
- What areas of character do you need to grow in to be “big” enough to fulfil this dream?