All in the Family
(Excerpt from the Sermon)
Sermon Series: Relationship Killers
Maybe you see bad habits in your life. Maybe you see culture or spirituality that goes way back to your grandparents. Alcoholism, codependency, witchcraft, family breakups, divorce, unhealthy lifestyle. Taking these attitudes and behaviors into friendships, marriages, workplaces, and family will kill relationships. Maybe this is you today. Maybe you don't trust people or you don't love yourself. You manipulate, or have been manipulated, and you find that your family is surrounded by lies, anger, unforgiveness, and jealousy. Maybe there are things you've told yourself that are not true, things that have happened to you that have negatively affected the way you view yourself and how you view others.
Today, I have good news for you. God wants to free you from this relationship killer, from a negative script. Jesus said, I have come to set the captive free. That is amazing. That's good news. So how do we deal with negative scripts? We're going to look at Joseph and see how he overcame his negative script. The first thing that Joseph does is he walks with God. To overcome negative scripts we, you and I, need to walk with God. You need to be in what Pete Scazzero calls a loving union with God.
In Genesis 39:2 it says,
“The LORD was with Joseph, so he became a successful man.” In Genesis 39:21, it says, “But the LORD was with Joseph and extended kindness to him.”
Now, I want to explain something that you may not have really observed in both those verses. “Lord” is capitalized. “LORD” stands for the name of God, Jehovah. In Hebrew, they put together YHWY (Yahweh) and Elohim because YHWY is God's sacred name that cannot be pronounced. Elohim is the creator, God. So they put vowels in YHWY and came up with His name as Jehovah – which I'm excited to tell you means a relational God. I've been going through this study by Tony Evans with my community group, it’s an amazing study, learning the names of God. This was fascinating to me because when you see the word “LORD” here, and capitalized, it means God is pursuing somebody. He wants to be in a relationship with someone. They capitalize it to show you that God is pursuing the person or that the person is already in a relationship with Him.
So when we see Joseph at this time, it says the LORD was with Joseph. It's amazing because it tells us that Joseph was in a relationship with God. I'll give you evidence as to why. When he's tempted by Potiphar's wife, he says this to her: how can I do this evil thing and sin against the Lord? That means Joseph loved God so much, he didn't want to disappoint God. He and God were tight. So Joseph was not about to kill his relationship with Potiphar, but most of all, he didn't want to kill his relationship with God. He loved God so much. Joseph could have done the same thing his brother Ruben did. Ruben slept with his father's concubines.
1. Walk with God. So if you want to get rid of a negative script, you've got to walk with Jehovah. Jehovah is pursuing you. He wants to be in a relationship with you. Walking with God gives God permission to start working on you so that you can become more Christ-like. Just because you've given your life over to Jesus, it does not mean that you are walking with Him.
Colosians 2:6 says this,
“Therefore as you have received Christ as Lord, so walk in Him.”
It's possible to receive Jesus and not walk with Him. There is a guy in the Bible who walked so close to God that God just took him.
This is in Genesis 5:21-24, and it says this,
“Now Enoch lived sixty-five years and fathered Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he fathered Methuselah, and he fathered other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
I wonder what his kids were thinking. One day while they were maybe walking with him, or they're eating dinner, I'm not even sure what happened, and he just disappeared.
The New Living Translation says this,
“When Enoch was 65 years old, he became the father of Methuselah. After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.”
In Genesis 5, Enoch is the only one listed in that whole list of people who walked in a close fellowship with God. Everyone else lived and died. Enoch walked with God.
Question I have for you: Do you just want to live or do you want to walk with God?
As Pastor Jeff says,
“Your relationship with God cannot be reduced to one hour on the weekends.”
Your relationships will be healthier if you walk with Christ. More love, more joy, more peace, more patience, more kindness, more goodness, more humility, more faithfulness, more self control. Imagine what our relationships would be like if we all walked with God. Because Joseph walked with God, Jehovah turned his life around. Instead of killing his brothers, he invited them into a new relationship with him. When you walk with God, He begins to turn your life around.
There's a Kenyan song that my friend Liza was singing when we were in Hungary that she learned on a mission trip to Kenya. It goes like this:
Who is the King of kings? Jehovah is the King of kings. Who is the Lord of lords? Jehovah is the Lord of lords. Jehovah turned my life around. Jehovah turned my life around. He makes a way when there is now way, Jehovah has the final say.
So God will rewrite the script if you choose to live in a loving union with Him.
Question for you: How is your devotional life? Are you in a community group?
Most Christians today do not have daily communion with God. How is your walk with God?
2. Admit your family failures and losses. As I was reading Joseph's story, I noticed something I never observed before. Joseph was a crier. He felt very deeply. The first time he weeps was in Genesis 42, which is the first time his brothers visited. The second time is when he sees Benjamin in chapter 43. In Genesis 45, when he reveals himself to his brothers, he cries a third time. The fourth time was when his brothers were afraid and tried to manipulate him. He just cried and wept all the time. Why? Because Joseph was walking with God and he observed how broken his family was.
I can see him struggling as he sees them and he remembers all the hurt, the bad jokes. Yet he was willing to look beyond himself and see what God sees, and so he grieves.
Pete Scazzero says,
“But out of his honest grieving of pain, he truly forgave and was able to forgive his brothers who betrayed him.”
Joseph flipped the script and repaired the relationships he had with his brothers. Instead of killing relationships, he moved towards forgiveness and a positive script. Your family is broken because of sin. There is no perfect family. If you want a better relationship, if you want a positive script in your marriage, with your children, at work, in church, in your community group, you have to admit the failures and losses of your family of origin. Name them and give them to God.
Blaming your family for your problems will never help.
You have to ask questions like: How did you describe your parents' marriage? How was conflict handled? How well did your family do when they talked about their feelings? What was considered success? What addictions existed? What traumatic losses affected your family (and so on)? If you were in Joseph's place, what would you have done to your family?
Ask God to look deep in your family and reveal anything that you need to confess.
3. Partner with God to bless others in your relationships. In order to rewrite your script, you have to do what Joseph did. You must partner with God, because God is writing a bigger story than you.
In Genesis 50:19 Joseph said this,
“‘Do not be afraid, for am I in God's place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good to bring about this present result, to keep many people alive. So, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.’ So he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.”
Joseph had a profound bigness of who God is and what God was doing. Joseph's partnership with God did two things: It preserved the lineage of the Messiah – He comes through Judah. Next, he provided for those who did not even know God, who did not follow God at all. He preserved humanity.
Joseph had clearly developed a history over a long period of time in his relationship with God. His whole life was structured around following the God of Israel. Then, when the moment for critical decision came, he was ready. In the same way, there are daily choices centered around our own walks with God that are critical for us to serve as an instrument of blessing to many. God has strategically placed you where you're at in the family in which you are born, in the place you live, the job you have, the friends you have, the gifts you have. You have to look carefully and figure out where God is calling you.
Who is He calling you to bless? How can you be a blessing?
Realize your place before God and use your gifts to bless those in relationships with you.
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