As citizens of the kingdom of God, we have the right and authority to do all that He has called us to do. We have the right, even the obligation, to call upon the resources of heaven to accomplish His will in our lives. We don't have the right to be greedy, to put our faith in money or wealth instead of Him, or to not recognize and thank Him for giving us the ability to gain wealth.
Our heavenly Father loves us, and as any parent, He wants us to prosper and be in good health. But we need to be aligned with the kingdom of God. Our soul (mind, will and emotions) should be aligned with heaven's priorities. Similarly, His kingdom should be our first priority. His righteousness should be sought in all aspects of our lives. Lastly, we should be a giver. The Old Testament required tithing, but the New Testament urges us to put all under the lordship of Christ. We follow Him because of what He has done for us, not because of the law. Our God is faithful and will not fail us in anything, including monetary resources.
"Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, even as your soul is well" (3 John 1:2).
"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you" (Matt. 6:33).
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy and where thieves do not break in nor steal" (Matt. 6:19-20).
The life of Joseph is a good example of kingdom living. Joseph was called to reign. He had a dream that he and his brothers were binding sheaves (Gen. 37: 5-8). In the dream, Joseph's sheave rose up and his brothers' sheaves bowed down to his sheave. The brothers couldn't believe that Joseph was called to reign. Similarly, as citizens of the kingdom of God, we are called to reign in life. It doesn't matter our situation, we are called and equipped to reign in life through Jesus.
"For if by one man's trespass death reigned through him, then how much more will those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:17).
Because of his calling, and the jealously his calling aroused, Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt. But Joseph was different. Even as a slave, Joseph was successful because the Lord was with him. Even his master, Potiphar, recognized it, so he promoted him to be over his household and all he owned.
"His master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all that he did to prosper. Joseph found favor in his sight and served him. So he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put under his charge" (Gen. 39:3-4).
When a person is called, expect the adversary to test and challenge. Joseph was handsome and the wife of Potiphar was lustful (Gen. 39: 7-20). She propositioned Joseph on multiple occasions, which he rebuffed. He told her that he couldn't be unfaithful to his master and would not sin against God. Once they were alone in the house, she propositioned him again and he refused once more, but she grabbed his garment as he escaped. She told her husband who promptly threw Joseph in prison. Like Joseph, we will be tested and should similarly decide to follow the Lord regardless of consequences.
God was not done with Joseph. God was with him. He had favor with the chief jailer, who put him in charge of all the prisoners. Even this Egyptian chief jailer recognized that God was with Joseph and that all that he did prospered.
"The keeper of the prison did not concern himself with anything that was under Joseph's charge because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it to prosper" (Gen. 39:23).
While in prison, Joseph interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh's baker and cup-bearer (Gen. 40). Both interpretations were fulfilled; the baker was hanged while the cup-bearer was restored to his former position. Although the cup-bearer promised to remember Joseph, he promptly forgot until God's perfect timing. Like Joseph, expect to be disappointed by people. But it will not keep the calling of God from being fulfilled in your life.
Pharaoh had a dream which bothered him (Gen. 41). He called all of the magicians and wise men of Egypt to interpret his dream, but none could interpret. Finally, the cup-bearer remembered Joseph. Pharaoh called for Joseph who correctly interpreted the dream. Pharaoh promoted Joseph to be ruler of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. God arranged it to bring Israel and his entire family to live in Egypt under Pharaoh and Joseph; the prophecy was fulfilled. Egypt and all Israel were saved.
Many Christians know the story of Joseph. But fewer may be aware that the heathen Pharaoh recognized a "divine Spirit" in Joseph, who would give him discernment and wisdom. Ephesians also says that God is able to do far more than we can ask or think, according to the power (Holy Spirit) that works within us. The Holy Spirit empowered Joseph and can empower us.
"Pharaoh said to his servants, "Can we find anyone like this man, in whom is the Spirit of God?' And Pharaoh said to Joseph, 'Since God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you'" (Gen. 41:38-39).
"Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we ask or imagine, according to the power that works in us" (Eph. 3:20).
Jesus taught that He came to give us an abundant life. Abundance is far more than wealth or money. But He came that we will have no lack (spiritual, physical, emotional, social, and resources).
"The thief does not come, except to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
Dr. James Russell is a professor of economics at Oral Roberts University.
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