Last week we discussed the first layer of meaning of Joseph’s coat: the coat that his father gave him was a type and shadow of Jesus and our salvation. The second layer of his coat’s meaning deals with more of the moral element of Joseph’s character. Let’s call this “The Coat of integrity.”
The Free Gift of Salvation
Although Joseph was stripped of his multicolored coat before he was thrown into the pit, he never lost the free gift of salvation that it represented. We know this because his story doesn’t end there. We know that he was sold at auction and put to work at in a socially prestigious household in Egypt—Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh (Gen. 37:36).
Promotion = Favor
Even without the first coat, the grace of salvation that was on Joseph’s life promoted him in Potiphar’s house. In fact, the Bible says that he had so much favor in his lord’s house that Potiphar “left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favored” Genesis 39:6 (KJV).
He Could Have Lost More Than Just His Coat
No sooner had Joseph become established and promoted in his new role, his coat was taken from him again. This is the coat that Joseph left in the hands of Potiphar’s wife when he refused her advances and stayed true to his heart for God and his own convictions. ‘When Joseph went into the house to do his work… she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled…‘ (Genesis 39:11-12 NKJV).
Make Sure You Build Maturity
Like Joseph, we sometimes are put into situations where we may be very gifted and we want to focus and grow those gifts quickly. Just as Joseph’s gifts drew Potiphar’s wife’s attention, people will praise us for we can do. This can be as predominate in church as well as in the workplace. However, if we don’t have the character to carry those gifts, then, unfortunately, we can fall flat on our faces. And in worse cases, we can drag others down with us on that downward spiral. Think of it like this: Spiritual gifts are free, but spiritual maturity is expensive! Why? Because it takes time to build maturity and character.
Trust is Earned & Not Given
Our trials or temptations may be very different from Joseph’s situation. However, how we respond to them can determine our next relationships and how others see or trust us. Let’s face it; trust is earned not given! Joseph’s initial choice of keeping his integrity instead of his coat did not end up well for him in the short run, but in the end, God raised him up to be second in command over the whole of Egypt! Sometimes even our best choices can initially seem to have harsh outcomes, but we know God is faithful. He honors the just and raises up the humble!
Our Character Will Get Revealed
See, we may be tempted to gossip about someone at church or work, cut corners on a particular job, or not do our work to the best of our ability. We may even lie about others to save face or take the credit for something we didn’t do. It’s tempting to spend time on social media seeing what our friends are up to, or trawling the internet for some clothes when we should be focusing on a project, or let’s say even avoiding our quiet time with God. Whatever the temptation is, our response will help us find out what’s inside of us. And our character will be revealed during that time. Passing the test of integrity is what qualifies us for more in the kingdom of God.
Take Captive Your Thoughts
These verses reveal Joseph heart: his first concern was not that he couldn’t get away with it, but that he couldn’t live with himself if he succumbed to Potiphar’s wife’s wishes. He remembered just how much God loved him, preserved him, and blessed him since his brothers threw him into the pit. These thoughts allowed him to put the brakes on very quickly to any carnal impulses that he may have had. 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV says, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
We Determine The Outcome
There are so many choices to make in everyday life, and how we respond to them is crucial. We determine the outcome, as we have the power to say yes or no. Our thoughts and how we deal with situations that challenge us, allow us to either walk in victory, or unfortunately, deal with consequences that may indeed not only hurt us but also hurt the ones around us.
Our Old Man is Gone
Colossians 3:1-2 declares that if we are hidden in Christ, then our old man no longer exists, and we have the option to set our thoughts on the things above (heaven’s realms) and not our own wants and wishes or shall I say our own selfish desires.“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Make The Right Choices
So today, make the choices that keep your character in its rightful place, where trust is built in spiritual dimensions in Christ Jesus. That spiritual coat of godly integrity can never be taken away.