“The focus is not Joseph’s winsome personality, but on God.” – John Piper (Providence, pg 386-7)
“The LORD…gave [Joseph] favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison” – Genesis 39:21
In my reading of the story of Joseph (and with similar characters such as Daniel) who gained the favour and recognition of those whom he lived with. I have always taken to heart the importance of being ‘likeable’.
Being socially aware, considerate, winsome, positive, inspiring etc.
Yes, all these things are undoubtedly important!
But as I read John Piper’s book on providence, I realise that the key ingredient to winning the favour of others, is not my personality. It’s not my looks, talents or even my character. It is my God.
He is the one who alone can sway hearts for my favour.
This has enormous ramifications. Ramifications I am only just beginning to process.
- In applying for a new job or a promotion, the end result is in God’s hand. Not my qualifications, personality or ability to ‘ace the interview’.
- When I see that I have friends who enjoy my company, this too is a gift from God.
- In moments of rejection (and/or persecution), for whatever reason…God is still sovereign over these relationships.
It must have been this reasoning which enabled the early Christians to speak out about their faith. The response of the crowds, positive or negative, was not their responsibility. They knew that God was in control, whether that meant mass conversions or revival, or being fed to the lions.
Again, this does not relieve me of the responsibility to ‘make every effort to live at peace with everyone’ (Hebrews 12:14). But what it does do, it remind me that the favour I receive from others is based on God’s purposes. It gives me courage to be bold about my faith, (without relying on my charisma, appearance, relatability or circumstance), because I know that it is totally within God’s power to grant me favour!