Finding Success

Ways of finding success is not always agreeable for everyone. An obvious example to think of is when someone asks the question, “Does the end justify the means?” Simply because the end goal was met or there was a positive outcome of something does not always mean that all of the activities done while in the process of pursuing said goal, were ethical or moral.

When ethics, integrity, morality, and things like these are thrown out of the door – successfulness was not necessarily achieved. The better way to describe that success is the idea that it was a superficial success. There was no deep purpose or joy in what we had done or plan to continue to do. This stems from the problem of being selfish and full of pride. True success involves several ideas as an element of accomplishment is to be had. There is a sense of meaning, positive emotions, engagement, and relationships to consider. Considering these will allow us to see the bigger picture because we will not always be in an ideal circumstance or situation.

Genesis 39:1-3 Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt; and Potiphar, an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh, the captain of the bodyguard, bought him from the Ishmaelities, who had taken him down there. The Lord was with Joseph, so he became a successful man. And he was in the house of his master, the Egyptian. Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper in his hand.

This is not an ideal circumstance to find yourself in. Read Genesis 37 and think about what could have happened to Joseph. Being spared, he was still sold to a foreign people. I can only imagine the fear that Joseph must have felt when all of this occurred. Through it all, he found a way to remain calm. He was able to keep a level head and because of this, Joseph became a successful man.

Genesis 39:21-23 But the Lord was with Jospeh and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer. The chief jailer committed to Joseph’s charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it. The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph’s charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper. 

Further into the story of Joseph, we learn that Potiphar’s wife causes trouble for him which leads him to being thrown in prison. Joseph did nothing wrong. Again, this is not an ideal situation to be in. What wrong was committed? It had nothing to do with Joseph! He pled his case to Potiphar’s wife by saying “There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” No doubt that there are many who would do well to imitate Joseph with this mentality regarding being with someone that they have no business being with. Joseph understood that this was not just a sin against Potiphar and his wife, but ultimately against God. At the end of the day, he still found himself in prison and the Lord still being on his side.

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?

We forget that God is for us sometimes. As we prepare for our bible study in Job on Wednesday nights, it is easy to get caught up in the commotion that God may actually be against us. That is how many people live out their faith. In these moments of our lives when life gets hard and things are not going well, we find ourselves wondering where God is and if He even cares. Was this the mindset of Joseph? No, it was not. Joseph understood this principle.

He understood that no matter the circumstance in his life, that God was going to take care of him. Joseph finding himself in a pit with no water, he recognized that God was for him. Joseph finding himself in prison, he accepted the fact that God was for him. The brothers of Joseph, the pit, Potiphar, Potiphar’s wife, and the jail could not overcome God. The same is true for anything or anyone who stands in opposition to our faith. Those circumstances and people will never overcome God.

Genesis 40:14-15,23 Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house. For I was in fact kidnapped from the land of the Hebrews, and even here I have done nothing that they should have put me into the dungeon. (23) Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.

How frustrating is this?! Joseph interprets two dreams and all he asked for was a simple favor. Joseph did not deserve to be treated this way. Even in this, God was with him. Joseph interprets one more dream, for Pharaoh. We see that God was with him continually.

Genesis 41:38-40 Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are. “You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.”

Through all this trouble, came a great amount of success. Joseph did not continually focus on the negative things happening in his life. He kept his eyes on the prize, which is God. As God blessed him, Joseph worked through the relationships with the people that he encountered. He built a rapport with them and gave all the glory to God. May we strive to do the same in our lives!

Genesis 41:16,25 Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.” (25) Now Joseph said to Pharaoh, “Pharaoh’s dreams are one and the same; God has told Pharaoh what He is about to do.”

by Lee Elkins