In February of 2020, I preached a series of messages on leadership. Once again, I had no idea how timely these messages would be, and as I preached them, I had no idea what trial would be coming to our world. In this series. I looked at various leaders who modeled for us how to lead in different ways. These were biblical characters who had different personalities, experienced different circumstances, lived in different time periods, and faced different challenges. I attempted to show the tremendous qualities each of these leaders possessed, and hopefully caused Christians to think about the kind of leaders we are.
In that series, I did not pick the leaders you would normally think about (other than one). The sermons were not on the more visible leaders our minds tend to gravitate toward, people like Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, Paul, etc. I purposefully chose more unassuming leaders to show diversity in the church, and how God uses all kinds of people to accomplish His purposes. I truly believe each Christian is a leader in some form or fashion, but they do not have to lead like everyone else. God has wired each person uniquely and specifically gifted them to lead right where He has placed them.
I began that series by looking at Joseph. Joseph is a hero in so many ways. His life is such an example and encouragement. If you have ever wondered how God can use your life, family, trials, difficulties, etc., you must look at the life of Joseph. Joseph came from a very dysfunctional family. He faced unique hardships. He was one of the youngest of his brothers, but favored specifically by his father. His brothers were jealous of him, his mother died giving birth to his youngest brother, and his overall circumstances were less than ideal. As I studied his life, he was a man who learned how to lead under trial. Here are five things I have learned from this life.
First, to lead under trial, you must cling to the promises of God. God gave Joseph a dream when he was seventeen years old, a promise Joseph would have to cling to time and time again. As Joseph shared this promise with his brothers, they grew jealous of him and betrayed him by selling him into slavery. Joseph never wavered in his belief. He trusted in what God had said to him.
Second, to lead under trial, you must believe God is in control. Joseph’s faith was tested. As my father says, “A faith that cannot be tested cannot be trusted.” As we walk with God in this life, our faith will be stretched. If we are going to endure in this life, we must truly believe that God is holding this world and our lives together. Joseph is an incredible example to us.
Third, to lead under trial, you must resist temptation. After Joseph was sold into slavery, an influential man named, Potiphar, took notice of him. God was always uniquely with Joseph and gave him favor before people. Joseph was promoted and made into a leader under Potiphar’s direction. One day, Potiphar’s wife made an inappropriate advance at Joseph. Joseph refused and this angered Potiphar’s wife. She falsely accused Joseph and he was thrown into prison for many years, but he remained faithful to God.
Fourth, to lead under trial, you must remember that God sees you and is with you. Over and over in the story of Joseph, God’s Word says, “And the Lord was with Joseph.” When Joseph was in the pit, God was with him. When he was promoted, God was there. When he was thrown into prison, God came to him and strengthened him. Even when we feel forgotten, we must always remember, we are never forgotten by God. He is always with us.
Finally, to lead under trial, you must be controlled by Christ. As I have said before, “What consumes you, controls you.” In order to lead under trial, we must be consumed and controlled by Christ. While in prison, Joseph remained faithful. God gave him the ability to interpret dreams and Joseph found himself before Pharaoh. Joseph interpreted a dream for Pharaoh and he was promoted to second highest position in the land.
One day, Joseph’s brothers returned to Egypt to get food because of the famine in the land. They had not seen Joseph in fifteen years. Instead of getting even with his brothers, Joseph forgave them and said, “What you meant for evil, God used for good.” Joseph is such an example of how we walk by faith and lead under trial. Today, let us live and lead like Joseph, fully trusting God to accomplish His will.
If you would like to listen to the sermon I preached on Joseph, click here.