Joseph is perhaps my favorite of all Old Testament characters. Certainly as we read about his life we see God’s hand everywhere. Joseph was a man of intense faith, great integrity, deep respect, and a willingness to forgive without cost.
As Christian men it is important we have these attributes in our lives if we are going to build good relationships with that special friend God has given to us. In this article, as I discuss relationship, I am going to use the characteristics of Joseph’s life to describe how we ought to live our lives. The characteristics of Joseph’s life are similar to the characteristics all Christian men should employ in their lives if their marriages are going to be successful. The following description is how your life would look if you were using the life of Joseph as an example to build a strong relationship.
- Good marriages require men of deep faith. Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery when he was not much more than a boy. He could have allowed this to change his outlook on life forever. Instead of allowing this event to alter his life he continued to trust God for direction. There will be unexpected events in every relationship. Maybe it’s financial, perhaps sickness, or even infidelity. Whatever the event may be there will be times when things don’t go as planned. At times like this it is easy to lose sight of God. Good marriages need to be led by men of intense faith. When intense faith is displayed it allows God room to work. One of the major difficulties I have personally is giving God the ability to work. I want to know and control the future. Some of you may have this same trait in your personality. More times than not this gets us into trouble. We don’t know the plan of God anymore than we can predict the end of time. Every relationship would benefit greatly if the man in that relationship could be like Joseph, a man of intense faith. Give God room, let Him work. Only then can relationship mature in the way God wants.
- Good relationship requires we be men of strength and integrity. Potipher came to realize Joseph was special. He knew God was with him. As a result, Potipher put Joseph in charge of everything he had. God tells us that Potipher was concerned with nothing but the food he ate. This gave Joseph tremendous power. With power comes temptation. Certainly the temptation to take care of himself was there. To make matters more difficult, during this time Potipher’s wife attempted to seduce Joseph. A man relying on his power alone would have been doomed. Joseph’s response to her was this, “How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God.” Wow, we can see that Joseph was allowing God to be his rock and shield! Satan is always looking for an opportunity to take down a man of God. It could be the temptation to lie or to steal to better one’s self. It could be a woman as it was with Potipher’s wife. Rest assured Satan will do his best to destroy both men and their marriages. It isn’t if Satan comes after us it is when. Good relationship requires men of great strength and integrity. Strong marriages require men who refuse to give in to temptation. Every man can be taken by Satan if he relies only on his own strength. Joseph couldn’t have survived alone, he survived by the power of God. To survive Satan we must rely on the Father. When we sin in our marriages we aren’t just sinning against that special friend God has given us. We need to realize when we sin we are sinning against God. This is the type relationship which pleases God: In it is a man who refuses to give up his integrity for a moment of pleasure. In it is a man who is committed first to God then to the special friend God has given to him. In it is a man who looks to God for his strength realizing he can’t defeat Satan by himself.
- Good relationship requires men who believe in the power of the creator. After Joseph had been accused by the wife of Potipher, he was placed in prison. While in prison two men came to him with dreams. By the power of God Joseph told them the meaning of the dreams. The only thing he requested was that he be remembered when the one who was to live was released. After the release Joseph was forgotten. He could have been bitter but he wasn’t. He knew the Father was in control. Joseph put it in God’s hands. His respect for the power of the creator was deep. How many of us have had something happen in our lives that changed everything about our lives. How easy is it to panic when we don’t know the future? Most of us have faced a time in our lives when we didn’t know what would happen next. Sometimes the most difficult thing for us to do is turn it over to God. Men with this ability are an asset to any relationship. Men do you have the ability to turn it over to God when you don’t know what is going to happen? Can you be consistent in faith in God so that your special friend can be comforted by your faith? Good marriages and any good relationship will have at the helm a man who has the ability to turn everything over to God, a man of intense faith.
- Good relationship involves a man who is willing to forgive without cost. One of the most amazing parts of the story of Joseph was when he brought his brothers to Egypt. Looking back we can see the hand of God in the entire event. If we had been Joseph do you think we might have been tempted to take our pound of flesh? Joseph forgave without cost. In any relationship bad things happen. When those bad things happen we must to be willing to forgive without cost. Things happen that hurt. Sin causes scars in our lives. It isn’t easy to forgive let alone without cost. Most of the time when problems occur in relationship the two involved both think they are right. Truth is most of the time both are wrong to some degree. What an awesome marriage we could have if we forgave without cost! Instead of getting our way what if we just said, “I forgive” and moved on. Joseph was an incredible man. He wasn’t the man he was except through God’s strength. Good relationships are built by good men who trust in God, men who are willing to forgive without cost.
Joseph was a man whose characteristics, with God’s help, made him second only to Pharoah in power. He was a great tool in God’s hand. Men do you know what God has in mind for your family? What kind of husband could you be if you would be a Joseph? What kind of relationship could you enjoy if you let God choose the direction? Men I challenge you to be a Joseph in your marriage. With the help of God your marriage can be the closest thing to heaven you will know this side of eternity.
From His hand, dell kimberly