Living the Dream

Posted: November 5, 2013 in Uncategorized

Joseph‘Living the Dream’ has to be one of my pet hates when it comes to a social media status update. Perhaps I am just jealous, thinking others are having a better time than me! But living his dream is something that the Old Testament prophet Joseph did, even when he thought he was in a nightmare. I am sure there is a phenomenal amount we can learn about living the purpose-filled life from him. Here are a few ideas:

1. Make sure your dream really is from God. It may be exciting for you (Genesis 37:6-11) and others may endorse that God is with you (Genesis 41:38-39) but will the outcome of your vision be of benefit to others? This is often the litmus test of whether we  are on track with heaven (Genesis 45:7).

2. Be careful who you share your dream with! Joseph’s brothers were supremely unimpressed (Genesis 37:5-11). Heavenly business is not everyone’s business and sharing too much may lead to arrogance or self importance – this was Paul’s concern too (2 Corinthians 12:1-7). Best to take a leaf out of Mary’s book and keep things hidden in your heart (Luke 2:19).

3. Accept that God may need to ‘edit you.’ The Joseph narrative has him lose his robes again and again (Genesis 37:23; 39:11-13). For some of us, every time we work out who we are and what our work is, we find ourselves being remoulded for the next season. Slap bang, back on the potter’s wheel, just when we had established life’s future shape. Each robe Joseph wore was a containment that just looked like a blessing. Let God edit, painful though it may be. While the Lloyd-Webber show ends with Joseph asking for his ‘coloured coat’, in fact it wasn’t for him by then. We often have to ‘move on’ in God’s plan.

4. Serve the vision of others. Before he ruled the planet, Joseph ruled the prison and Potiphar’s place. Before his dream came true, he interpreted the dreams of his fellow ‘waiting room’ companions (Genesis 40). It’s rare to meet someone who has found success in ministry and service to Christ, who has not first served wholeheartedly the vision of their local church or leader. We are not the centre of the universe, just a link in a chain.

5. Pass the character tests. Most of us are aware that we face tests but those who find God’s greatest blessing are those who realise that these are tests to be passed! Joseph was hated, abused, attacked, sold into slavery, tempted with sexual activity, falsely accused, wrongfully imprisoned, forgotten by a vital government department… the list goes on. Perhaps the biggest test was that he was later given authority – the power to deal harshly with everyone who had wronged him. He forgave with joy and thanked God for the journey. Keep a good heart, otherwise your dream is just a fantasy.

6. Praise God even if the dream seems to die. The vision of being the sheaf of corn that rose above them all must have seemed absolute folly as Joseph entered his third year of dungeon time. What he couldn’t possibly have known was that each ‘negative’ step was taking him closer to the day of its fulfilment. Sometimes we have to let a dream go and accept that we have got it wrong; other times, we need to rejoice. The sovereign Lord is taking us to a great place, even if we wouldn’t have chosen the route ourselves. We may be nearer than we think.

I love how the story concludes. The character-tested dreamer has not had his faith stolen during the process and he has clearly held on to God through it all, rather than just the dream. He says to his rogue brothers: “You intended to harm me but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). If God has spoken to you, even if you are a thousand miles from any sense of fulfilment, watch out – you may in fact be living the dream after all.

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Comments
  1. Caroline Harvey says:

    Thank you Peter

  2. Marie Hobbs says:

    So True

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