Shepherd Elie Hamuli
Due to the nature of the world in which we live, there is a process through which we must go before any promotion can occur. Our world has fallen. The system is suited to only promote man without God because of how men’s evil nature constantly works with Satan and his demons to oppose those who have faith in Jesus. Those that belong to God need to be aware that the moment they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, they switch sides and become an enemy of the system of the world.
Thus, know that as we advance in life, many things will be fighting against us. Being a child of God means that we become enemies to the world. Christ himself said that if they hated Him, they would also hate us [see John 15:18 – 19]. And this is because the wicked hearts of man have availed themselves to perform the works of the devil. However, we find confidence in the words of Jesus in John 16:33 [ESV], where He said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
The writer of Ecclesiastes says in chapter 7:29 that God created us upright, but we have gone out and sought schemes for evil. So, certain evil experienced by man is not because of God but is the wickedness in man empowered by the devil. Furthermore, whenever we experience the wickedness of man (or any injustice for that matter), if we do not understand that the world is against the children of God, it may result in resentment and bitterness.
And this is one of the reasons bitterness needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency because bitterness that is not dealt with is poisonous. More on the world fighting against believers, the Bible says, “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” [2 Timothy 3:12]. Our decision to follow Christ is an open invitation for persecution by the world. However, the good news is that we are fighting a good fight in which victory is guaranteed because Jesus Christ overcame the world.
And as far as we are concerned, the Bible says, “… many can be the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him from them all “[see Psalms 34:17-19]. Hence, as trouble and persecution become more eminent, at times, we cannot change the reality of what we are facing, but in that, we are called to shine our light even brighter [see Matthew 5:16]. In the famous story extracted from Genesis 37, which is the story of Joseph, there is a lot to learn about delays and the right attitude on the way to promotion. From this story, we see that it is vital to know where God is taking you and not worry about the details. Joseph was shown that at some point in his life, he would be in a higher position than His brothers, but the details of how he would get there were kept from him.
And this is a practical example of how the just shall live by faith, where we know where we are going but not how it will happen. The reason why God spares us the details is that it can be so scary and unconceivable to the point that we abort the mission. Like a passenger travelling to an unknown destination, their trust is solemnly placed in the driver, and this is how we should place our trust only in Jesus Christ.
Joseph received two dreams from God when he was seventeen years old, but it was only at age thirty that he stood before Pharaoh. So, for thirteen years, he knew where he would end up but had no idea how he would get there. Since Joseph had a vision, it resulted in him becoming disciplined; hence, having a vision has a way of adjusting our discipline. It is essential to see the bigger picture of where God wants to take us because it becomes a compass for how we live. We should not limit our mission to our achievements because waiting to get certain things before fully committing to God’s vision will work to our disadvantage. We should always remember that there is work for us in the Kingdom that is not attached to what we have or do not have.
If we lack clarity on the vision, we are qualified to call upon God. He says in His word that He is available and wants you to know and see the bigger picture [see Jeremiah 33:3]. That is why the Bible says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God, and everything else will be given. “Seeking” comes first and is active, meaning it’s an action we take. “Given” comes after and is passive, meaning without doing anything. Let’s not have the order reversed; rather, we should actively seek the Kingdom and let Him give us everything else.
The fact that Joseph was despised for having dreams and because Jacob loved him is another important detail in the biography of Joseph. People may dislike us for no other reason than that God’s love is visible in our lives and that we are moving in the right direction. In certain cases, our loved ones harbor animosity toward us; in Joseph’s case, it was his brothers. However, we shouldn’t be resentful over people’s animosity because doing so will force us to succumb to our fleshly desires. Do not act like those who do not have God while you are being tested. Joseph joyfully served as a prisoner [see Genesis 40:4-6]. People want to follow those who have more to offer than themselves, including the ability to bring joy when the surrounding is sour. We should not be overcome by bitterness because of what people have done to us, but let us be joyful and communicate it to others.
Having a vision helps us look beyond the current pain and see the light in the darkness, which helps us stay on course. Proverbs 2:18 says, “Where there is no vision [ no revelation of God and His word]”, there is no character or discipline. So, as we pursue our God-given vision, let us not hold bitterness in our hearts. God can use us to reach those that once intended evil for us, just like Joseph’s promotion led to the preservation of the brothers that wanted to cause him harm. In essence, challenges and pain can either make us bitter or, better, choose to be better. God will turn the evil directed at us to work in our favour. Therefore, let us trade our bitterness for joy; a man of faith is a man of joy.