February 28, 2013

Growth of Character

God’s goodness prepared Joseph’s character to match the dream. God’s goodness is in the fury of the storm because it prepares my character to match the dream. Nothing is sadder than seeing someone with a great dream, but they don’t have the character to match the dream. We see that all the time with leaders today. Many times, when I’m in the waiting rooms of life, and I think I’m waiting on God, God is really waiting on my character to catch up with the dream He has given me. He’s waiting for me to grow in my character to match the dream that He’s called me to.

One of the ways God wants to grow you is to help you get rid of bitterness. Joseph kept releasing his bitterness. He could have gotten bitter so many times; bitter at his brothers for that betrayal. He could have been bitter at Potiphar for being thrown into prison. He could have been bitter at God. I’m sure he was angry and frustrated and confused about what God was doing, but he constantly let go of his bitterness. He constantly forgave those who hurt him. He constantly looked for God’s goodness. Bitterness blinds me to God’s goodness in my life. It keeps me from seeing and experiencing what God is trying to do in my life. And so, when that bad thing comes into your life, that situation that overwhelms you, just say, “God, what are you doing? What are you trying to show me?” We won’t understand everything about the whys … why God allowed it, but we can say, “God, show me what to do now. Where do you want me to go? What do you want me to do?”

In those moments, God is rearranging us, and changing us, and he is growing our character. Some of you are holding onto bitterness from someone who betrayed you years ago. It’s not hurting them at all. It just continues to hurt you over and over again. You’ve got to release the bitterness, or you will be blinded to the goodness God wants to bring into your life. You will be blinded to the dream that He’s put into your heart. Release the bitterness. Joseph released the bitterness, so much so that he could say this to his brothers in Genesis 45, “I’m your brother, Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt. Now don’t be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” They were worried Joseph was going to kill them, but Joseph said, I forgave you years ago. I released that years ago.

Have you released those who have hurt you? Have you released that person that stabbed you in the back? Have you released them? Not for their sake, but for your own sake, because God commands it, and it’s the only thing that can bring healing in your life. When you hold onto bitterness, it just hurts you. Release it. Give it to God.