I love the story in the Bible about Jacob's son, Joseph. Joseph was a young boy dearly loved by his father. His father distinguished him from his eleven brothers with a beautiful, luxurious coat of many colors. That coat set Joseph apart and symbolized the favor and affection of his father. It also represented God's mantle and anointing on his life. In essence, that beautiful coat displayed Joseph's identity.
As you might imagine, Joseph's brothers were jealous. They didn't like Joseph very much to begin with, so this didn't help the situation. In fact, they were so jealous and angry that they plotted to kill him. One day, they found their opportunity and ambushed him, stripped him of his coat, and threw him in a pit. One of the brothers pleaded on Joseph's behalf, so they sold him into slavery instead.
I find it interesting that the first thing they did was strip him of his coat. It symbolized that they were trying to strip him of his identity, favor and anointing.
Soon after, Joseph was taken to Egypt and sold to Potiphar, a high-ranking official. Joseph worked diligently for Potiphar and found great favor. Even though he was stripped of his coat from his earthly father, he wasn't going to let anyone strip him of his robe of righteousness from his heavenly Father. The Bible says that Joseph excelled in Potiphar's house, and Potiphar's wife took notice of him. She tried to trick him and seduce him, but Joseph stood strong. When she approached him, begging him to go to bed with her, he turned around and took off running. As he ran out the door, Potiphar's wife grabbed his cloak. She was trying to steal his robe of righteousness, and when she couldn't have that, she took the cloak off of his back! She then lied to her husband about it, and Joseph was sent to prison.
Now, that's not the end of the story. Even though Joseph was knocked down many times, he rose again in great victory. He stayed faithful to God, and God blessed him beyond his wildest dreams.
Joseph's journey is a powerful reminder that all throughout life, people may try to strip us of our identity; our robe of favor and righteousness. We have to stay on guard and be aware of all the subtle ways this can happen. Do you ever find that you try to adjust who you are in order to be accepted by others? You may not be like everyone else, but that's okay. Be who God made you to be. You may get knocked down sometimes, but just like Joseph, you will rise again! Stand strong in faith and don't let the world strip you of your robe!
"I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness..." (Isaiah 61:10 NIV)