Had a guest pastor at church today. He made some solid points, though I am still very careful when listening to anyone preach. The sermon was on the story of Joseph in Genesis as well as Psalm 105. It was about success in life, but not in the way many ministers measure success these days.
Success in a life brings glory to God, so it’s only success in God’s eyes that counts. It really has to be Christ centered and is worked out by God. He first stressed that in Joseph’s life trials tested his faith. God brought these trial to his life, and he will bring them to our life in order to work His will.
The many trials of Joseph were being first rejected by his brothers, betrayed by them, physically injured, enslaved, tempted, falsely accused, imprisoned, and forgotten. We will also face many trials and we are, as James says, to count it all joy when we are tested and put through many trials.
Another thing that allows us to succeed in God’s eyes is that there is a Truth that supports our faith. Genesis 37:5 states “the word of the Lord tested him.” He was given a truth in his dreams, and his dreams came true. The pastor spoke of a change that occured in Christ, (I think it was Hebrews 1) that God in various ways spoke to us by His Son. Christ communicates by His word (recorded in the bible) and through the Holy Spirit.
He also communicated that what we perceive or feel is not often true. The only true thing is the word of God. He quoted D. Martin Lloyd Jones saying “We spend too much time listening to ourselves and too little time talking to ourselves…” I would argue we spend too little time in the bible and in prayer, but I do understand the point made. He said we need to “talk to ourselves” and remind our selves the turths of God’s word. Not exactly the same thing as contemplatives who go within themselves….
God is also bringing His people to Himself. Jacob’s family meant their actions for evil, but God meant them for good. He moves people back to Himself, and even did this with Joseph’s family. God is also fixing our eyes on eternity to see beyond our trials. He is working all this out for His glory. Success is God’s glory, not numbers in the pews, not slick presentations, not money or fame.
The above was a paraphrase from the visiting pastor, none of the work is mine…