Grace For Greatness
Grace for Greatness: Lesson 1
Grace For Greatness
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.” (Genesis 37:3)
Hurdle #1 – Pride
We must develop the grace of humility. Many Bible scholars believe humility is the greatest of all virtues. Humility is the grace that, when we think we have obtained it, we just lost it.
1. Humility is a grace that must be learned.
Babies are born innocent, but they are not humble. They think continually of themselves. It is easy for a parent to spoil a good child, like Joseph. His immaturity and Jacob’s pampering caused him to become proud. When Joseph was seventeen years of age, he brought his father a bad report about his brothers. His brothers were angry. No one enjoys living with a talebearer. (Genesis 37:2)
Then Jacob gave Joseph a royal robe that Joseph wore frequently. This colorful robe testified of Jacob’s intent for Joseph to become the leader of the family. If someone gives you a special robe, only wear it on special occasions.
One of the great dangers in life is succeeding too soon. In our immaturity, success goes to our heads, and we begin making bad mistakes.
2. Humility is the mind of Christ.
Humility is preferring others before ourselves. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or deceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others. Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 2:3-5) As our High Priest, Jesus ever “lives to make intercession for” us. (Hebrews 7:25)
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3) The words “poor in spirit” means to have a humble attitude. This is also called the grace of yielding. “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak, and not to please ourselves.” (Romans 15:1)
Our goal in humility should be to bend and not to break. We should be like the palm tree which has deep roots and a flexible trunk that allows it to withstand hurricane-force winds. The palm bows before the wind and is not broken.
3. If we don’t manifest humility, we will be broken.
This is one reason the Scriptures warn us about developing a hard heart. The things we experience in life either will soften our hearts or harden them. If we become hardened, the pressures of life will continue to build until finally, we break under them.
4. The breaking process usually involves tears.
Joseph was known for his tears.
- He cried in the pit where his brothers had thrown him. (Genesis 42:21)
- He cried when he forgave his brothers for betraying him and selling him as a slave. (Genesis 45:1-2)
- He cried when he was restored to his father. (Genesis 46:29)
- After his father Jacob’s death, he is crying over his terrified brothers who believe he is going to punish them. (Genesis 50:21)
Joseph had watched his father struggle throughout his life. Jacob refused to stop fighting until finally, God crippled him and he couldn’t fight anymore. Joseph learned it is better to embrace the will of God than to fight against it.
“Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive one to another, and be clothed with humility, for ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He might exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:5-7) The promise of casting all our care upon God is only given to the humble.
Joseph’s pain was not punishment for his sins. He was being disciplined for greatness. He was developing the grace needed to rule over the people who had mistreated him. It is true greatness to feed the people who have wronged us.
Humility gives us the grace to rule without vengeance.