This is not a male version of Ate Vi, the Star for All Seasons…
Dr. Ravi Zacharias has been one of my favorite teachers lately. I listen to him answer hard faith questions on YouTube. I wait to see if he will take his watch off and lay it on top off the podium at the beginning of his talk and then pick it up again to put it back on his wrist as he ends.
In 2013 when the first Global Discipleship Congress was held here in Manila as hosted by CCF, I signed up as a volunteer and got assigned to VIP care under Sam and Kelly Lieuson for Pastor Randy Pope’s team (Perimeter Church in Atlanta).
We went in and out of the VIP Lounge occasionally and when Sam saw that Dr. Ravi was in the room, he told me to have a picture with the latter, without me knowing how precious this picture would be to me today… now that I feel like Dr. Ravi is one of my spiritual fathers.
Last January, I had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Ravi’s talk, “A Man For All Seasons” during the 2016 Global Discipleship Congress. Would like to share the three main headings from the talk that I was able to note down:
- Grounding his belief in his season of temptation
- Guarantee of God’s peace in his season of pain
- Generosity of his spirit his season of power
This was based on the life of Joseph, a constant inspiration who despite the human cockiness of his earlier years lived in steadfast faith and guarded his integrity through the major seasons of his life:
Grounding his belief in his season of temptation
No doubt, when Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, almost killed, then sold as a slave, it must have been lonely. He was well-built and handsome (Yeah, I took note of that). Not having been a castrated slave, surely, resisting the persistent advances of the lady of the house in private quarters was not natural and automatic. Surely a little release of tension specially with a willing volunteer around could come in handy but this was Joseph’s reply to his temptress:
Genesis 39:8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.
Dr. Ravi shared that a restaurant owner he worked for once asked him to compromise/ break the rules for the sake of convenience. Dr. Ravi asked him, “If today you make me break my convictions, will you still trust me again?” That made the boss think. Afterwards, he respected Dr. Ravi’s refusal to compromise.
Lord, we need a clear vision of why You created us, why You choose to keep us alive on this earth, why You have been giving us grace not to perish; we need a vision of how fleeting our lives are. We need Your almighty power to remove the chains that bind us to sin. We need Your all-knowing wisdom to number our days and gain a heart of wisdom.
Guarantee of God’s peace in his season of pain
Dr. Ravi says, “Pain is a real part of life. You will never be shaped into what God intended you to be unless you go through suffering. It is the heart of the gospel so you and I will experience the cost and grace of forgiveness.
Joseph was very familiar with pain. The verse “The Lord was with him” is repeated about Joseph. Jesus said in John 15:6 “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” Remaining in Him is key to having His peace despite pain, suffering, and unpredictable circumstances.
Lord, thank You in advance for Your peace which transcends all understanding. It is Your will that we have this peace not merely in the absence of trial but right in the midst of trials and challenges.
Generosity of his spirit in his season of power
Dr. Ravi says, “Do much for those who can do nothing for you. Represent Christ in every situation. We will never win if they don’t see Christlike character… they won’t listen… Let your light shine before man.”
Instead of using his almost absolute power in the then highly powerful nation of Egypt, Joseph was steadfast. Face to face with the persons who almost killed him, actually sold him as a slave that led to the life in many a year in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, this was Joseph’s reply to his fearful brothers:
Genesis 50:19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.
Lord, please give us the same generosity of spirit as Joseph had. Give us the humility that he had, just like Christ that in the position of power, he served, he thought of Your viewpoint as the context of that power. Only by Your Spirit is this possible, yet You are generous to those who ask so we ask in Jesus’s name and for His glory amen.