Joseph was one of my late husband’s favorite Bible people. I think he is one of mine too. You are probably familiar with his story. His jealous brothers sold him into slavery and told their father he was dead. But Joseph kept his eyes on God, no matter what his circumstances. Serving Potiphar as a slave, Joseph accomplished so much that he rose to being Potiphar’s “right hand man.” Because God was with him and God blessed him. Then he was unfairly accused and thrown into prison. Again, God was with him and he became an assistant to the head jailer. He succeeded wherever he was.
By now, Joseph could have been feeling pretty good about himself. He could have started patting himself on the back for all his accomplishments . . . especially in difficult circumstances. But we know that didn’t happen. He continued to recognize that God was in control and it was only by His hand that Joseph had excelled and been promoted wherever he was.
How do we know Joseph still credited God for blessing him? Pharaoh had him brought out of prison to interpret a dream that troubled him.
Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I had a dream last night, and no one here can tell me what it means. But I have heard that when you hear about a dream you can interpret it.” Genesis 41:15 NLT
If Joseph had fallen into the trap of crediting himself for his successes, this would have been a prime opportunity to tell Pharaoh, “Sure, I can do that” and hope Pharaoh would reward him. But that is not what Joseph did.
“It is beyond my power to do this,” Joseph replied. “But God can tell you what it means and set you at ease.” Genesis 41:16 NLT
He honored God. And God rewarded him in unimaginably marvelous ways.
God has given each of us gifts and talents. As we develop those gifts and talents, it is so easy to allow a lie to oh so subtly invade our minds. The lie that we are pretty good. The lie that says, I’ve accomplished so much. The lie that perhaps whispers to us, I can do pretty much anything. I am really good at this. Just look at my track record.
When that happens, we need to humble ourselves before God and seek forgiveness. We need to recognize our dependence on Him.
Yes, we can do anything He is calling us to do. But only through Christ.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 NLT