Summary: This series follows the life of Joseph as he enrolls in the "School of Hard Knocks". Learn how you too can be victorious no matter what life throws at you.

How To Escape Life’s Greatest Prisons

Series: Surviving the School of Hard-Knocks

July 9, 2000

I want to talk to you this morning about how to escape life’s greatest prisons…

OR we could entitle today’s message…

“The Amazing Benefits of a Positive Attitude”!

As you’ve heard me say before, “It’s not so much what happens TO you, as what happens IN you that matters in life!”

What that statement is primarily talking about is… ATTITUDE!

Your attitude is the way you choose to interpret the events of your life.

You can either interpret them negatively or positively.

You can interpret them as destructive, or constructive.

You can see yourself as the “victim” or as the “victor”!

You can believe as Rom.8:28 states, “That all things are working for my good”, or “ That all things are working against me!” It’s your choice!

The bible tells us in Phil. 2:5 to, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus…” In otherwords, being a Christian is really the process of taking on the attitude of Christ. Thinking and acting as Christ would think and act. It’s seeing life from HIS perspec.

And it all starts with attitude. See, in life, your attitude determines your AL-titude! How far you go in life, the success you have in your marriage, in raising your kids, at work and home… ALL in a large part have to do with your attitude.

Now the secret of Joseph’s ability to survive (and even thrive) in the face of incredible odds (as he attends the “School of Hard Knocks”), is found in his amazing attitude. And that’s what we’re going to study today.

When we last left Joseph…(you’ll remember) he was a slave, and after earning the favor of his master, Potiphar…Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him.

When he refused to give into her advances, she became furious and lied, saying that Joseph had tried to rape her. As a result of her lies, he was unjustly put in prison and abandoned.

And that’s where we pick-up the story in Gen.40. (READ 40:1-7)

I have to smile to myself when I read that last vs. because if anybody ought to have a sad face, you’d think it would be Joseph wouldn’t you? After-all, his situation was much worse than theirs!

While in prison, Joseph had two cell-mates. One was the royal cupbearer and the other was the royal baker.

The cupbearer was the person who tasted the wine and food for the king before he ate or drank. That way, if somebody was trying to poison him, “So long cupbearer…and long live the King!”

Because of his job description, the cupbearer was often the most trusted man in Pharaohs court. Over time an intimate relationship would develop, and the king would confide in him for other matters. If that trust was ever broken, the consequences were serious.

Well, apparently the trust was broken, because both the cupbearer and the baker landed in jail. Now we don’t know exactly what happened…but because they were both in the “food industry”…

… it could be that somebody found some poison in Pharoah’s food, and now they were both under investigation for attempted murder.

Whatever the cause, Joseph and these two men found themselves in the same place, sharing similar miseries.

Now Joseph could have kept to himself. He could have whined and moaned about the injustices he’d experienced. They could have sat there and had a huge ‘pity party’ for themselves… but instead, Joseph decides to help.

And that’s the first thing I want to show you about a positive attitude from this story… because, no matter what your circumstances are this morning…a positive attitude enables you to…

1. MINISTER while others mutter!

Because of his positive attitude, Joseph was able to get outside of himself, and show genuine concern for his cell-mates problems.

Listen, when your heart is right with God, even when the bottom drops out of your life, you’ll be sensitive to the needs of others.

Instead of saying, “You think you gotta lot to complain about? Well, listen to my story!”… he said, “How come you guys are so sad today? What’s wrong?”.

One of the sayings that helped me get over a rough time in my life this past year is… “Get over yourself – everyone else has!”

Ha! I love that! It was like a cold slap in the face when I first read it! See, if you’re ever going to move forward after a failure, or a tragedy in life… you have to turn your attention away from yourself, and towards helping others!

It’s the process of getting over yourself! Barbara Ward was right when she wrote, “Don’t get stuck inside your own ego, because it will become a prison in no time flat!”

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