Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
PROVERBS 3 : 5,6
Cacti are meant to grow in extremely hot conditions because they can store up a lot of water. They can also typically take in a one-time heavy rainfall. But, can they survive in continuously damp or wet soil? The answer is no, they rot.
This is exactly what will happen to us if we position ourselves in an environment that is not meant for us – we will rot (a process of deterioration). On the other hand, when we position ourselves in the right environment, we will see how we thrive, grow and accomplish all that God has ordained for us. Unlike plants who cannot control where they are positioned, we, human beings, can very well position ourselves. God has also given us His Spirit to discern when and how to do it.
If the environment we position ourselves is not where we are created to be, we will shrink, dry up and struggle to survive.
Looking at the life of Joseph, one of the sons of Israel, we can evidently see how he intently chose where he positioned himself in the midst of challenging circumstances. In fact, he was placed in the most uncertain places – a pit, a prison and a palace – yet, he thrived in all of them. How did he do it? It is only by the way he positioned himself. One of the things we read constantly through Joseph’s story in the bible is ‘the Lord was with him’. If we want to accomplish what God ordained for us like Joseph did (by becoming the Prime Minister of Egypt), this aspect of positioning ourselves in the right environment is something we have to learn from him.
- Resisting Temptation –
Sometimes we willingly or unwillingly find ourselves in a spot where we are tempted. It becomes very difficult for us to fight it out and overcome it.
Yet, the right thing to do at the time is to resist it – by moving away from it.
You see, you cannot always choose the situation you are placed in, but you can choose where and how you position yourselves in it.
In the midst of a serious temptation to commit adultery with Potiphar’s wife, Joseph said ‘..how can I sin against God?’ and ran away from there. He resisted the temptation. The Bible clearly tells us that no other servant was in the house that day; Joseph could have given into his flesh. But, because he was conscious of God, he realised that the best thing to do when no one else was there in the place was to move away from there. Joseph positioned himself in an environment where he does not give way to temptation. We really don’t know how different Joseph’s life would have been had he positioned himself differently by staying in that place and not resisting the temptation. However, because Joseph knew that it was not God’s will for him to be there or do that – he was able to position himself rightly.
What is that temptation that you keep facing? Sometimes you need to completely move out of the place where you’re being tempted, or move away from the people causing you to be tempted or remove the thing that causes you to sin.
1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
Position yourself to resist temptation, and you will watch yourself thriving. Joseph might have been falsely accused and sent to prison for resisting – but in due time, he was made the second in-command of the entire nation!
Don’t underestimate the importance of positioning yourself in the right environment in the midst of temptation. It can change the trajectory of your purpose and calling!
Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. – James 4 : 7
- Persevering through trials –
Another place we often find ourselves in is TRIALS. Be it struggling with depression, loss, a dead-end or an uncertain circumstance. Joseph found himself in these kind of situations quite often – thrown into a pit and sold as a slave by his own family (brothers), sent to prison for no fault of his, betrayed by people. Yet something that stands out is how Joseph thrived through it all. Nowhere in his story do we read that he was defeated by the circumstances he faced.
Maybe you are the only believer in your family and are being questioned for your faith every day, or maybe you are in a place in life where nothing seems to be working out, or maybe you have just lost someone or something who you depended on – it could be anything. The question is – Are you allowing the situation to determine your response or are you positioning yourself to face it?
When Joseph was sold as a slave to Potiphar’s household – he did not lament about being sold off by his brothers, instead he trusted God (we read again – God was with him) and depended on God to face the challenge. What happened? He was able to work at Potiphar’s house so well, that Potiphar entrusted everything in his care. When he was put in prison – Joseph refused to mourn about being innocent of the accusation, instead he did what he was given to do in the prison with utmost sincerity (again by trusting God and God being with him).
Joseph learnt how to position himself correctly in the right environment despite being placed in tough places only by leaning on and trusting God.
Each trial is unique and so the way we position ourselves in them is unique. So, who can guide and direct us how to do it? God can. Learn to trust and lean on God to help you position yourself in the right environment, even in unlikely places.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit. – Jeremiah 17 : 7-9
We have the choice to position ourselves in the right environment by seeking God’s direction and grace to do what is right. And, resisting temptation and persevering through trials will always help us position ourselves correctly to face all that comes our way.
Let us be cacti that are positioned to thrive – be it in the desert or a hilly region. The choice is ours!
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