Created to Overcome

What is your story? Is it a story of victory and success? Is it a story of overcoming great odds? Or, is it a story of disappointment or even defeat? In all of the stories shared with me here at Lakewood Church and those I've heard on the other side of the world, I have found one thing to be true. The person who overcomes, who is able to find victory, who succeeds where others have failed—there is something different about this person. There is one trait that separates them from everyone else.

Just read this story, and I'll show you what I mean . . . The scripture tells us that Joseph was an overcomer. He had the favor of God and was promoted to a position of great power. He was second only to Pharaoh. But in order for that to happen, there were some things Joseph had to leave behind.You see, when Joseph was a young man, his brothers were so jealous of him that they sold him into slavery. The slave trader then sold him to Potiphar (Captain of the Egyptian palace guard).

In Potiphar's house, Joseph served faithfully, being promoted to overseer of the entire household and property. But even though Joseph was being his best and doing what was right, Potiphar's wife falsely accused him and Joseph was unjustly thrown into prison. While in prison, he once again rose to the top. He was put in charge of the entire prison, answering only to the warden.Eventually, Joseph was brought before Pharaoh. He interpreted a dream Pharaoh had and advised the Egyptian ruler how to prepare for the upcoming famine. Pharaoh was so impressed with Joseph's wisdom that he promoted Joseph to second-in-command of all of Egypt.

That's a story of great victory, success and achievement, especially if you focus on the last paragraph.

It's a story we still celebrate today. But in order for Joseph to be the overcomer that God created him to be . . . .

Joseph had to leave the past in the past. He had to look forward. He couldn't drag the pain, bitterness, disappointment and injustice with him into his future. He had to let those things go, trusting that God had a great future in store. Even when the circumstances looked dark, even when the naysayers were gloating, even when there seemed to be no hope, Joseph kept his eyes on the future, knowing that God would fulfill His promises.

Friend, the trait that separates overcomers from everyone else is this: Overcomers forget the past and look forward to the future.No matter what others say, no matter how big the obstacle, no matter what limitations have slowed them in the past—overcomers know their tomorrow is good and in God's hands!

The apostle Paul went as far as to say it was the "one thing" he focused on. Here is the really good news: You are an overcomer. You can forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead!

You were created to overcome! You weren't meant to live defeated, discouraged or bound by your past. No, you have royal DNA flowing through your veins. You are a child of Almighty God. You've been given favor from on high. Get this down in your spirit . . .You might be thinking, Well, Joel, I sure don't feel like an overcomer. The bills are piling up. My boss doesn't like me. The doctor's report isn't good. I've never amounted to much in the past.

I can tell you from experience, when you have this faith-filled, hope-filled attitude, the blessings of God are drawn to you like a magnet. It won't always be easy. You will have times when you have to persevere. But you must remind yourself of what God is saying to you, "I created you to overcome."

There have been many times when Victoria and I could have easily become discouraged and given up. Times when it didn't look like that prayer would be answered. Times when we didn't know if that dream would come true. But we've learned over the years that no matter what happened in the past and no matter what obstacle we were facing, if we'd just stay in faith, God would do something miraculous.

That's exactly what He has done time and time again. And I know He will do it for you too, so build your faith. Increase your expectation. Persevere through the difficult times. The Almighty God has created you to overcome!