I was born in a Christian home. I saw the example my parents and grandparents set forth, I witnessed their faithfulness and devotion to God, yet there came a time when I had to choose the path for myself. An example is necessary, but so is the choice to follow said example.
For a young person to truly grow more is required than the artificial environment of a family that spoils them. Most young men and women today are in a greenhouse of sorts, sheltered from the elements, so much so that they grow either unconcerned or indifferent toward that which is happening outside. They take for granted the fact that although the winds are howling, and the sleet is pelting mercilessly, they are safe within the confines of their home, protected from the elements.
God allows the tunic made of many colors to be stripped off the still young and fragile body of a seventeen-year-old adolescent, and be sent home to his parents, torn and dipped in blood. Jacob’s heart was broken that day, and for some fifteen years he was inconsolable at the loss of his son, having thought him dead, only to receive him back, accomplished, mature, tried and tested, just as God had wanted him. Jacob receives Joseph back as one who has risen from the dead, but having learned his lesson during the hard years of separation, that his son was no longer his.
Is this perhaps too cruel a method on God’s part? Knowing that you are unable to build a righteous character in them, or that while they are sheltered by your love they will not change, God takes the child and enrolls him in the school of life, where suffering is the only teacher, his tears are his comfort, where his brothers are his enemies, and his enemies his friends.
Will you understand when that time comes for you, that God is educating your offspring that he is being chiseled, molded, prepared, so in due tine God may work through Him toward the saving of not only you and your family, but countless others as well?
Are you prepared to sacrifice his fragile life on the peeks of Mount Moriah, that you may receive him again one day with gladness, knowing that your offering was what God expected, and his return is confirmation that your offering was received? Will you understand that your sons or daughters were not given you merely for your enjoyment, to dress them up in multicolored tunics of parental love, and lavish them with your best, which can impede moral growth and inward beauty, keeping them from being prepared for service?
The relationship between a parent and a child is a lasting one. There is nothing that can diminish the bond and the love a parent has for the child it brought into the world. A wise parent understands that eventually the child will leave their side, that he or she will venture out into the unknown, and all a parent can really do is prepare and pray. There are circumstances however, when a parent must endeavor beyond basic wisdom, and begin to discern with godly wisdom the course of their offspring’s life, to understand that God’s purpose is a destiny longer than the span of one human life, and greater than any hypothetical and illusory happiness their child might have sheltered under the shadow of parental wings.
Remember Joseph when God will allow the multicolored tunic to be torn off your offspring, when they will be stripped of all that the tunic can symbolize: perhaps a good education, an assured future from a material standpoint, a profitable career, a dream dear to your heart which you yourself were unable to fulfill, and many other things that men have the tendency to place their trust and hopes in.
By the time adulthood had been visited upon Joseph, he was already being covered with a second tunic, this time the tunic of slavery in Potiphar’s home, the master who had purchased him. This was not a tunic of many colors, it had not been custom made, or sown to specifications. Slaves are not taken to tailors, their measurements are not taken, nor are their clothes made to fit. Slaves are made to wear a tunic they have not chosen, realizing the fit only when they have put it on. This was a heavy tunic for a once spoiled boy who until recently had everything he desired, this new tunic now requires labor, devotion, submission, obedience, humility, in other words, integrity. Integrity toward whom one might ask? His master of course, but is it possible to require integrity of a simple slave?
To whom much is given, much is also required, and Joseph continued to be given much even in his current state. He had been shown favor by his master, and this favor needed to be honored. God had made Joseph a wellspring of blessing for Potiphar’s home. There was only one thing for Joseph to do, one path to pursue, that of being worthy of the trust his master had shown him, not earned of his own merits, but given of God. In the end he understood that he must remain accountable before the Great Master. Absent of testing, absent of being tried, integrity in and of itself doesn’t mean very much. Daily, Joseph is offered a myriad of options, every one offering an easier path, tempting avenues that promise much but in the end lead nowhere.
Not long after his being established in his master’s house, we are told by way of the Word that the Egyptian’s wife notices Joseph and begins to make advances each more insistent and direct than the last. By way of this lascivious woman, the enemy attempts to compromise Joseph’s integrity, knowing full well that if he succeeds in ruining his reputation he would have reached his desired result, destroying the good work God was planning to do through Him, and neutralizing his good testimony.
Someone once observed that three fiery arrows of the enemy most often target men of God, and it only takes one of these arrows to hit their mark to fatally wound the man of God if it happens to find him defenseless, without his armor, and even for a few moments lacking in integrity. These three arrows are known as the three G’s, glory, gold, and girls. There are countless examples wherein of one of these three has fatally wounded a man of God, and if it were not so painful to recollect those that have been felled by the enemy’s attacks, we could readily go into detail, naming the names of the fallen.
A good reputation is easier to maintain than once having stained it, reacquire it’s previous purity and luster. Joseph’s tunic, formerly the tunic of a slave had now been transformed into the white garment of innocence, of a character beyond reproach, a heart untouched by the filth of unfounded accusations, which refused under any circumstance to compromise, to give in, no matter the consequences. Joseph never forgot the promises of God, and even in the darkest hour waited patiently upon the Lord. A foundation laid in suffering, for a future glorious work.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.