A Godly man Part 2
by John Lowe
(Laurens SC, USA)
Now, our second point is this, A godly person will not only forgive injustice, he will also withstand adversity.
We saw that Joseph suffered injustice, but he also knew adversity.
Joseph’s story is filled with physical and mental hardship.
Joseph knew the sting of disappointment.
As a young man who was filled with dreams of the future, his ambitions were stifled when he was sold as a slave.
He loved his brothers, but they acknowledged to his face that they hated him and wanted to kill him.
Potiphar’s wife became so outraged by his rejection of her advances that she lied to her husband to get her revenge.
Joseph had made a friend of the king’s baker, while he was in prison, and the Baker promised to help him when he got out.
But when he was released from prison, he refused to keep the promise he made to Joseph.
Joseph could have easily grown bitter and resentful after living as a prisoner and slave.
This man knew the meaning of hardship.
Remember, believers, are not exempt from hard times.
The apostle Paul was another person, who could talk about hard times.
Paul wrote about what he had gone through in his letter to the Corinthian church: “I have worked harder, been put in jail more often, and been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again and again. Five different times the Jews gave me their terrible thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I was in the open sea all night and the whole next day. I have traveled many weary miles and have been often in great danger from flooded rivers and from robbers and from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the hands of the Gentiles. I have faced grave dangers from mobs in the cities and from death in the deserts and in the stormy seas and from men who claim to be brothers in Christ but are not. I have lived with weariness and pain and sleepless nights. Often I have been hungry and thirsty and have gone without food; often I have shivered with cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. (2 Cor. 11:23-27, Living)
That was Paul, the great apostle of Christ describing the suffering and pain he had endured for Christ’s sake.
Study the Bible and you will discover many accounts of godly people who faced harsh conditions.
We must learn to withstand hardships without allowing our spirits to turn sour.
But here is what I believe is the secret to Joseph’s victorious life, he saw adversity as part of God’s plan.
Listen to how he viewed his hardships.
When he revealed himself to his brothers he said, “But now do not be distressed, and do not reproach yourselves for having sold me here. It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you…to ensure for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives in an extraordinary deliverance. So it was not really you but God who had me come here; and he has made of me a father to Pharaoh, lord of all his household, and ruler over the whole land of Egypt” (Gen. 45:5-8).
Joseph was seventeen years old when he was brought into Egypt.
And now as he stands before his brothers and makes this great statement, he is thirty-nine years old, and he has been living in the land of Egypt for twenty-two years.
He sees God’s hand in all that’s happened to him.
We need to evaluate hardships from a biblical perspective, realizing that God’s plan is bigger than ours.
We need to remember that sometimes God is the one who brings the hardships for own good.
Even when God doesn’t bring the troubles, he may not remove them.
Instead, he may leave them.
He didn’t remove Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”, but he did give him the grace to live with it.
Listen to what Paul says in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
Paul acknowledged that his “thorn in the flesh” was given to keep him humble because he was in danger of being exalted above measure due to the revelations from God that he received.
Now our third point is that a godly person resists temptation.
Joseph resisted the advances of Potiphar’s wife, and that’s another reason that we can consider him a godly man, he resisted temptation.
At the time, he was the manager of Potiphar’s household, and as such he had great authority.
He was a handsome man, and Potiphar’s wife was attracted to him.
She tried to seduce him several times, but he always refused her appeals.
Temptation is a part of life for all of us.
As we get older, certain temptations are easier to resist.
But there will always be temptations, of one kind or another that will trip us up if we don’t resist with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Satan continually seeks to lure us from the straight and narrow path.
So we must turn to God for strength to defend ourselves against Satan’s enticements.
The only way we can resist temptation is by having God’s power within to say no.
There is a TV info spot, which I see from time-to-time, which uses the slogan, “Just Say No.”
But the truth of the matter is that you can’t just say no to temptation.
You need the help of the Holy Spirit; you need the power of God that He can bring to your life.
Jesus was not exempted from temptation.
After He was baptized by John the Baptist, he went immediately into the wilderness, and I believe He was looking for Satan; Jesus sought out the temptation of Satan.
I believe that He was tempted so that He could experience what we face.
I don’t believe that there was ever a chance that He would give in to Satan’s temptations.
The test that He submitted Himself to should be compared to the test that a diamond must go through.
A true diamond will never fail the test.
Jesus could not fail His test either because He was the Son of God.
He had more than Satan could offer.
He is King of Heaven and Lord of Earth.
He promised that He would never leave us or forsake us and that with every temptation that He would provide a way of escape.
How about Joseph; how was he able to resist the temptation of Potiphar’s wife, the beautiful woman who threw herself at him?
Joseph resisted the woman’s appeal for several reasons.
First, he had respect for Potiphar.
Listen to what he said to her when she tempted him with sexual advances; “As long as I am here,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, but has entrusted to me all he owns. He wields no more authority in this house than I do…” (Gen. 39:8-9).
Potiphar trusted him with everything, including his wife.
He could not betray that trust.
Second, Joseph had a great sense of responsibility to God.
He said, “How, then, could I commit so great a wrong and thus stand condemned before God?” (v. 9).
He knew that every sin is ultimately a sin against God.
Third, Joseph had respect for himself, as well as Potiphar’s wife.
He knew how destructive an illicit sexual affair could be.
It’s a sin that can destroy both parties; it can destroy a marriage, a home, and it damages the children.
Joseph wanted to be able to live with himself and to be able to live close to God.
He knew that if he gave into her advances that he would sin; and sin hurts our relationship with God.
But Joseph didn’t give in because he had the resources to face temptation and to be victorious over the temptation.
Would you like someone to say about you, “He sure is a godly man” or “she sure is a godly woman?”
Well, if you do, you have a good model.
Joseph’s life is a good example for you.
If you try to imitate his godly qualities, you will know how to be a good person.
But even better than following Joseph’s example, is having a relationship with Joseph’s God.
If you open your life to God, you will have the resources to be a godly person.
And the way you open up your life to God is by believing in His Son and accepting Him as your Savior.
That’s how to become a child of God.
Then to become a “godly man” or “godly woman,” you must live your life by being obedient to God as his will is revealed in His Word and through the guidance of His Holy Spirit.
Joseph was a “godly man;” that’s why at the end of his life, after all, that had happened to him, he could say to his brothers: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.”