The Purpose Test

How can we know what God’s purpose is for our lives? And how do we fulfill that purpose? Joseph is 39 years old when he sees his brothers again. Egypt has had seven good years of plenty and now the famine is on them. Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt to buy grain and Joseph recognizes them.

Genesis 45:3 – Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph; does my father still live?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed in his presence. (Verse 4) And Joseph said to his brothers, “Please come near to me.” And they came near. And he said: “I am Joseph your brother, whom you sold into Egypt. (Verse 5) “But now, do not, therefore, lie grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life.

(Verse 6) “For these two years the famine has been in the land and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. (Verse 7) “And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity (remnant) for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. (Verse 8) “So now it was not you who sent me here, but God; and He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

In order to find your purpose, we first have to:

Believe that we have a purpose!

Everything God has created has a purpose. So don’t think that God doesn’t have a specific purpose for you, because He does: Ecclesiastes 3:1 – To everything, there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:

The best way for us to discover our purpose is to look at God and the way He made us. God made each of us unique. For instance: When we look at an object, we usually know what its purpose is. For example, a plunger, a pencil, a phone and on and on. You can look at each of these objects and see that the designer had a specific purpose in mind when they made it. The Great Designer had a specific purpose in mind for us when He designed us. So we need to figure out what we look like in the Spirit, not in the natural. After we believe that we have a purpose then we need to:

Understand that God is in control!

For us to understand our purpose, we are going to go through some difficulties and setbacks. People will say things and do things that are wrong to us, but God still has a purpose for our lives and God is in control of all that. Joseph told his brothers not to be grieved or angry, for God sent him to preserve life. Joseph’s brothers were not the ones that sent him to Egypt, God was.

Some people get held up on what has been done to them by others and stay there on that bitterness instead of moving ahead. Joseph didn’t do that. He knew God had set it all up for him to reach a much bigger purpose that involved many more people. Joseph knew that God was in control of it all! No one can de-rail us from our destiny but us. All of us have been offended and abused at one time or another in our lives. However, we cannot let what others have done stop us from what God wants to do. We have to get over it!

Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. So even when things go wrong, He is working everything out for our good.

Isaiah 55:10 – “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, (Verse 11) so is My word that goes out of MY mouth; it will not return to Me void, but it will accomplish what I please (desire), and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.”

God’s word has the power to produce the purpose for which He sent it! And the good news is, He has spoken over us! These ten-character tests, if not passed, can de-rail what our purpose was and is. Pride and not having integrity is the biggest de-railer. How about not being humble? I’m not talking about false humility either, where one pretends to be humble in front of others. God knows the heart. We don’t take these tests just one time, we can take them again until we get it right. Don’t sabotage your destiny by not being honest with yourselves when it comes to any of these character tests.

Discover Your Gift and Your Direction

Everyone needs to find out what their gift is. There is a list of what we call the “motivational gifts. These are gifts that come naturally for us.

Romans 12:4 – For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, (Verse 5) so we being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another. (Verse 6) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; (Verse 7) or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching: (Verse 8) he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberty; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

Motivator – This person desires to motivate people to serve God. A person with the gift of prophecy is a motivator.

Servant – Desires to meet the needs of people on practical bases. This is the duty of ministering to people to serve.

Teacher – Desires to study and present truths to people. This is a person that reads a lot and loves to study the word of God and tell others.

Encourager – Desires to admonish and encourage people. It doesn’t matter what happens, these people will say something encouraging to others.

Giver – Desires to meet the needs of people on financial bases. These people love to help people financially and also give wisdom and counsel to help the person.

Administrator – Desires to lead people through an organization.

Sympathizer – Desires to identify and empathize with people. We always want the encouragers and the people with mercy around us when we go through difficulty.

These gifts will become very plain if we have ever served with a group in church or anywhere else. As soon as a situation or a task is brought up, the gifts will show up. Gifts have to do with serving and helping people.

Joseph’s gift was leadership. His gift worked everywhere he went in his life. He didn’t wait until he got in a place of authority to lead, he did it at whatever level he was in  – prison or palace. He didn’t wait until he was in the position and then minister to those in need, he did it no matter the situation.

People have to learn to be faithful in the position they are in right now. Just start using the gift or gifts God has given you and step out in faith. Joseph didn’t know the specifics of his purpose, he just kept being faithful to God and step by step he was brought into his full destiny and purpose.

Stay faithful to God, operate in your gift right where you are now, and in God’s timing, you will step into your destiny that He has had all along for you!

The Pardon Test

If you’ll remember, Joseph’s brothers sold him as a slave when he was a teenager. Could you forgive your own brothers for selling you as a slave?

Genesis 50:15 – When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.” (Verse16) So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, (Verse 17) ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph: “I beg you, please forgive the trespasses of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.” ‘Now, please forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” ‘ And Joseph wept when they spoke to him.

(Verse 18) Then his brothers also went and fell down before his face, and they said, “Behold, we are your servants.” (Verse 19) Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? (Verse 20) But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. (Verse 21) “Now, therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

The only way that Joseph could have spoken kindly to them was if he had already dealt with the issue of forgiveness in his heart. This is the first time the word “forgive” is in the Bible, Chapter 50 in the book of Genesis. It means to absolve or release from penalty. This Hebrew word is also translated to mean “to lift up”, “to bear.” That is exactly what Jesus did for us. He lifted “off” our sin, trespasses, transgressions, off of us, thereby placing it on Himself and releasing us from the penalty of death.

Here’s the thing: If we can’t learn to pardon or forgive people, we cannot fulfill the destiny God has for our life! I know this is hard to do because people can be horrible to us and others, but there are three keywords to remember:

Release

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they sent messengers to him saying that their father commanded Joseph to forgive them. Could this have been a lie from the brothers? Did their father really command Joseph to forgive them? We have no record of Jacob saying this on his deathbed. Can you not see those brothers saying, “Don’t ask for him to forgive us, tell him our father commanded it.” Then they said for the servants to tell him, “The servants of the God of your father.” They thought if they put God in there it would sound stronger!

Did you notice the brothers never repented of the evil they had done to Joseph? When they came to Joseph, they said, “We are your servants.” That’s not repentance! So, can we forgive someone who lies and manipulates and never asks for forgiveness? That’s the true pardon test! However, here is what Joseph answered them: “Am I in the place of God?” So if we don’t forgive, we put ourselves in the place of God.

Leviticus 19:18 – “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” 

Romans 12:19 – Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, “I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it,” says the LORD.

Here is why we are not to take vengeance: Because to bring vengeance means to bring justice to an unjust situation. And that is impossible for us to do. Why can we not bring justice to an unjust situation? Because we are not “just!” A big difference in being “just” and being “justified.” We’ve been made “justified” by the only One Just! If we live our lives with unforgiveness, we will always be trying to avenge ourselves. Vengeance will make a person try to prove something all the time.

However, if we release them, the wrong they did will be released. We know they were wrong and did wrong, but we don’t forgive people who are right or do what’s right. We forgive the ones that did wrong. God knows very well they did us wrong! If it’s still going through our minds, over and over, then we haven’t forgiven them in our hearts. God doesn’t go through our sins or wrongs through His mind over and over and neither should we.

Receive

Matthew 6:12 – “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtor.” That word “as” means “in the same way.” So here’s what we pray, “Lord, forgive me in the same way I forgive others.” If we keep bringing up the wrong someone has done to us, then we have not forgiven in the same way that God has forgiven us! God doesn’t keep reminding us of our sin, so why should we do that to others?

“Freely we have received, freely we give.” We have freely received forgiveness, therefore, we can freely give forgiveness. If a person feels in any way that they are earning forgiveness or paying for it, they will make others pay or earn their forgiveness.

When we as believers, have something go wrong or something bad happens to us, God is not getting us back! Please don’t look at everything bad that happens in your life as God getting you back, and now we are even. That’s not true, but you wouldn’t believe the times I’ve heard people actually say that. All our punishment and penalty for sin was placed on Jesus. God is never going to get even with His children.

Believe

Psalm 103:12 – As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Isaiah 53:6 – All we like sheep have gone astray. We have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 

Habakkuk 1:13 – You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness.

Job 36:7 – “He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous.” So God can’t look on evil, wickedness, but He never withdraws His eyes off the righteous.

1 Peter 3:12 – For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears open to their prayers… So who is righteous?

2 Corinthians 5:21 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Do you realize that something had to be done with our sin just so God could look at us? He did do something, He placed our sin on Jesus at the cross, rose Him from the grave so that we could become the righteousness of God in Jesus. We as believers are the righteousness of God in Him. so now His eyes are forever on us! Not only can He look at us but He can walk with us, talk with us, and have a deep loving relationship with us! And God did this for the whole world, they just need to believe and accept what Jesus did for them.

And because we, I, believe and understand that, I am able to forgive others. Bitterness towards another is like drinking poison over and over. “Freely we received forgiveness, freely we forgive!”

 

The Prosperity Test

There are ten character tests that we all have to pass to get from our dream to our destiny. We’ve studied seven and this study is the:

Prosperity Test

Every person takes the prosperity test before they step into their destiny. This simply means that God wants to prosper His children so that they can be a blessing to others. Every time we get paid, who are we going to honor first? If we can’t pass this test, more than likely, the rest of our life will not be in order.

Genesis 41:33 – “Now, therefore, let Pharaoh select a discerning and wise man, and set him over the land of Egypt. (This is Joseph speaking after he interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams.) (Verse 34) “Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, to collect one-fifth of the produce of the land of Egypt in the seven plentiful years. (Verse 35) “And let them gather all the food of those good years that are coming, and store up grain under the authority of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 

(Verse 36) “Then that food shall be as a reserve for the land for the seven years of famine which shall be in the land of Egypt, that the land may not perish during the famine.” Joseph’s plan was so good that he literally fed the multitude of people during that seven-year famine. Other nations came to Egypt to buy grain. During that time, Egypt’s land was extended because people traded their land for grain.

Let God be first, wait, and live below our means. Genesis 47:26 – And Joseph made it a law over the land of Egypt to this day, that Pharaoh should have one-fifth, except for the land of the priests only, which did not become Pharaoh’s. The land was God’s. He is the one that gave it to the priests. That land represented the tithe to God from the Jewish people.

Here is one principle that a lot of Christians just don’t get: You will never be able to afford to tithe until you do it. We tithe first and there will be plenty left over. Surely you know that tithing removes the curse? And until we tithe, we are under a curse, but as soon as we tithe, the curse is lifted.

Malachi 3:8 – “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. (Tithing is a test of our character. It’s a matter of the heart. When people want to argue about tithing, it reveals their heart. Why would anyone want to argue about being blessed?) (Verse 9)You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. (Verse 10) Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,” says the LORD of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. (Verse 11) And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field,” says the LORD of hosts;

We live in a fallen cursed world and God is saying, “I would like to redeem your finances out from under the curse.” So what is this principle of the first?

Exodus 13:1 – Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (Verse 2) “Sanctify to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, birth of man and animals; it is Mine.” God uses the same terminology when He talks about fruit and the tithe.

Malachi 3:12 – “that you shall set apart to the LORD all that open the womb, that is, every firstling that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD’s. (Verse 13) “But every firstling of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. Any first “thing” given is never lost. Any first “thing” kept is always lost. The tithe is going out of our account whether we give it or the devourer takes it.

The Firstborn Must Be Sacrificed or Redeemed

If their animal was unclean, then they had to redeem it with the sacrifice of a clean animal. If the firstborn, like a lamb, was born clean, then they had to sacrifice it. If the firstborn was unclean they had to redeem it with the sacrifice of a clean.

Simple question: Were we born clean or unclean? We were all born in sin – unclean. Now, was Jesus born unclean or clean? The clean had to be sacrificed so the unclean could be redeemed! Jesus is God’s tithe. Tithing brings the blessing because we give it in faith. Faith releases the blessing. God gave Jesus in faith. God gave Jesus while we were still in our sin. God didn’t wait to see if we’d straighten up before He gave Jesus, He did it before! Christ died for us while we were yet sinners!

God gave and sacrificed His Firstborn as a sacrifice so that all the unclean would be made clean – Redeemed! When we give the first portion to God, the rest is redeemed.

The Firstfruits Must Be offered

Exodus 23:19 – “The first of the firstfruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the LORD your God.” Scripture doesn’t say “give” when talking about tithing. We can’t give what doesn’t belong to us. We can only “Bring” it. Over and above the tithe is an offering, but the whole tithe belongs to the house of the LORD.

So do you remember what happened when they conquered Jericho? God said all the silver and gold belong to Me. He said that because Jericho was the first city. (Joshua Chapter 7) Then Achan kept some of it and it was cursed! The firstborn and the firstfruits belong to God. Why did God accept Able’s offering but not Cain’s?

Genesis 4:3 – And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the LORD. (notice it doesn’t say that he brought the “firstfruits.”) (Verse 4) Able also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the LORD respected Able and his offering, (Verse 5) but He did not respect Cain and his offering.

The Tithe Must Be First

Leviticus 27:30 – “And all the tithe of the land, whether of seed of the land or of the first of the tree, is the LORD’S. It is holy to the LORD.”

When we set aside money for the month’s bills, the tithe is first, not the mortgage company. If we give God’s first, there will be enough to pay the rest. Now don’t be legalistic about it to the point where if you buy food first, you’re cursed. That’s dumb. It’s a matter of the heart when it comes to the tithe. Does God know you put Him first by your actions? Just don’t curse your finances.

Exodus 13:14 – “So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ that you shall say to him, ‘By strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. (Verse 15) And it came to pass when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all males that open the womb, but all firstborn of my sons I redeem.” ‘

Let us never forget that we too were once in bondage, before Christ redeemed us. We didn’t always have what we have now. When God blesses the tithe, He makes sure to rebuke the one that comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. If we will place Him first in everything in our lives, He will bless the rest. This is about so much more than just our finances.