Summary: Certain dreams can be realized when we are willing to engage in helpful disciplines.
DREAM TO REALITY
How should we live from dream to reality? Achieving the reality of our dream requires certain disciplines. Note that Joseph’s success was the result of God’s blessing on his life and works. However, even if Joseph’s success was dependent on God, he demonstrated certain disciplines to lead him to his dream. What are these disciplines?
1. Discipline of Stewardship (39:1-6)
Verses 1-6 revealed that the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in everything he did. Note that although God made him prospered, Joseph was a hard-working and diligent young man (v. 3). He was a slave but became a steward of Potiphar’s household and was entrusted of everything that Potiphar owned.
I don’t know if Joseph was aware that he was on his way of realizing his dream but he disciplined himself to become a good steward. I believe it is important that a dreamer should discipline himself to hard work and diligence in order for him to realize his dream.
ILLUSTRATION One of history’s sharpest minds belonged to Thomas Edison, the great inventor. Despite only three months of formal schooling, Edison and his inventions changed the world forever. His secret? “One percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration,” as he put it; and he proved his definition by working days at a time, obsessed with his projects, neglecting family and friends, and stopping only for short catnaps.
Failure never seemed to discourage him. When about ten thousand experiments with a storage battery failed to produce results, a friend tried to console him. “Why, I have not failed,” Edison quipped. “I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Joseph never knew what lies ahead of him but he knows what’s before him. The fact that he was sold as slave never stops him from being a good steward of his life and opportunities. In the same way, wherever you are in the ladder of success, never underestimate the power of hard work. If we can be trusted with little things, then God is not afraid to give us greater opportunities in life.
Joseph’s success was not purely based on hard work. He succeeded because God was with him (vv. 2-3). Potiphar recognized God’s presence in his life and how God made him prospered in everything that he does. As a result, he was not afraid to entrust his household and properties to Joseph. What can we learn here?
First, a person who walks with God does not need to advertise God’s presence in his life. People will see God. Some individuals manipulate their credibility by stating that they are Christians and therefore can be trusted. We don’t need to promote our credibility, it simply shows.
Second, God’s presence made a difference in a person’s success. In God’s presence, no event or situation would be wasted. Everything has a purpose and would contribute to the overall achievement of success. If you believe that God is with you, then be vigilant and follow God’s leading. At times, following God’s leading may not be acceptable based on worldly standards. Follow Him anyway.
2. Discipline of Vigilance (39:7-18)
ILLUSTRATION Charles Swindoll said, “With greater success comes greater measures of trust, which by the way, lead to greater times of unguarded vulnerability.”
Without any doubt, Joseph became successful in the house of Potiphar. Potiphar left everything in his charge except the food he ate (v. 6) Joseph was a slave who had earned the right to be respected and trusted. As a result, Potiphar turned everything over to him. I take this to mean that Joseph determined his own schedule, that he organized all of Potiphar’s estate and administered all his finances. In short, Potiphar trusted him.
Joseph however knew that greater success comes greater trust which leads to greater times of unguarded vulnerability. So he guarded himself from vulnerability. He was tempted by Potiphar’s wife and knew exactly what he’s supposed to do. He refused (vv. 8, 10). He was vigilant and protected his weakness.
Discipline of vigilance is necessary to protect our vulnerability. Sometimes because of the level of success and trust by others cause us to think that we are untouchables, immune, and invulnerable from moral and spiritual failure. (See 1 Peter 5:8-9) The devil’s attack may come in three forms:
a. Material temptation – lust for things, it might be as big as a house or a small as a ring.
b. Personal temptation – lust for fame, authority, power, or control over others.
c. Sensual temptation – lust for another person’s body and attention.
No matter where we are in our level of success and trust by others, we are susceptible to at least one of these temptations. We thought that only those who are big time individuals can be vulnerable but even an average person or common workers may lose his dream and opportunities for success if vigilance is taken for granted.