It amazes me sometimes how we gauge ourselves. I was talking to a young guy once who told me just what a failure he was in ministry. "I don't have any baptisms, I'm not making an impact, I'm wasting people's time and money." Honestly, a part of me wanted to reach across the table to slap him back into place. I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and say, "You're twenty-two! Grow up and start acting like you're not so grown up!" That's right... you heard me... I wanted to tell a twenty-two year old that he was focusing his eyes in the wrong direction, trying too hard to be the "him of the future" and not God's man for today.
I'll tell you, sometimes we just think far too much of ourselves. We get in mind exactly what it is to be a Christian, how many hours of study, how many baptisms, how much growth we are supposed to see in ourselves and others, and we find ourselves depressed and overwhelmed. You know why? Because we want to be finished products before we even get started! So, we covet the ministries of others and we lust for spirituality that God has not yet granted us. We often become an idol unto ourselves, forgetting the creator and worshiping our own selves, desiring to take a greater seat at a "grown-up table" that we are not yet prepared for. No wonder so many young ministers and missionaries lack self-control in so many areas of life. Self is always on our minds, even when we are talking about God. We can be completely selfish.
Joseph could have lived his life like a guy with a dream. He could have lived life like a guy who was supposed to be something better, something greater. However, at some point, Joseph grew up and started rolling with the punches. He stopped asking himself, "How can I be the guy that everybody will one day bow down to?" and he started turning towards God as his source of strength. That's how Joseph survived temptation in Potipher's house. Not by focusing so much on himself and his strength, but considering his Lord and God. Had Joseph been selfish, he would have given in to sin for sure. However, Joseph learned in humility and integrity to become reliant on his God always (Genesis 39). Not to live for a future dream, but to live in the moment for God. To be content with God today and not to just keep looking in the mirror all of the time.
One day, I expect you will be something great. I hope and pray for you that you find yourself reading lots of scripture, winning lots of souls, and wasting no one's time. Until then, start to fall in love with the God of the universe. Humble yourself before him and live a life of integrity. And one day, following your daily devotional or after sharing Jesus with a friend, you will remember today and you will laugh, knowing that you are no longer reading and sharing for the sake of self or others, but for the love of God.
Micah 6: 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.