How do we move from understanding the acronym of SHAPE to practical, real-life implications? One way is by learning from the SHAPE God has given other flesh-and-blood humans – like Joseph. Read more about Joseph's SHAPE in What was Joseph's God-given SHAPE?
So, now what? Let's take a look at 3 key takeaways and how they can help you in your own SHAPE discovery journey.
When we are first introduced to Joseph at age 17 he is cocky and manipulative. His passion to lead is about promoting himself. He is foolish in flaunting his status as the favored son. And he is hated by his family. By the time the story of Joseph closes, he is humble. He is a man of integrity who has earned the trust of others. He has uncanny wisdom and discernment. And he is loved and honored internationally.
Whatever your SHAPE, God is not finished with you yet. You are like a clay pot on the potter’s wheel, being constantly SHAPEd into a more beautiful, usable vessel for God’s purposes.
Wherever you are on the timeline, there is always the need to improve and grow. So don’t get discouraged about the flaws that still exist. And don’t get complacent about the changes God has already made. The hands of the potter will continue to SHAPE you until you draw your final breath.
Each hardship was a test that could either harden Joseph’s heart toward God and others or soften it. With each hardship, he was faced with a choice: "Will I choose God’s way of responding to the difficulty or my way?"
When your boss is unfair, when a co-worker lies about you, when you are passed over for a promotion that was promised to you, you have a choice in how to respond. Your choice will affect how God uses the hardship to SHAPE you.
You can choose your way and get all bent out of SHAPE. Or you can choose God’s way and let God SHAPE you more into His image.
While in his workplace in a foreign land, where no one knew about the one, true God, Joseph’s life, work ethic, and words testified about his God and brought blessing to the foreigners.
In Potiphar’s house: “Now his master saw that the Lord was with him and how the Lord caused all that he did to prosper” (Genesis 39:3); “It came about from the time [Potiphar] made him overseer in his house…the Lord blessed the Egyptian’s house on account of Joseph; thus the Lord’s blessing was upon all that he owned in the house and in the field” (Genesis 39:5).
Pharoah’s reply to Joseph: “Can we find a man like this, in whom is the Spirit of God…Since God has informed you of all this there is no one so discerning and wise as you” (Genesis 41:39).
Joseph understood that God had blessed him for God’s good purposes rooted in Genesis 1:26-28 (the Genesis Mandate) and Genesis 12:1-3 (the Abrahamic promise).
God blessed Joseph with just the SHAPE he needed so he could be a blessing by wisely stewarding an abundant grain harvest to overcome the curse of a severe famine and to preserve the life of many people in Egypt, the surrounding nations, and his own family.
“There was famine in all the lands…The people of all the earth came to Egypt to buy grain from Joseph, because the famine was severe in all the earth” (Genesis 41:54, 57). “Joseph was the ruler over all the land” (Genesis 42:6).
“Do not be grieved or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5). “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result to preserve many people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
God has SHAPEd you and is SHAPEing you for His good purposes in your workplace. By your work ethic and words, He wants you to be a testimony for Him in the marketplace where He has set you. God has blessed you with your SHAPE so you can be a blessing to your co-workers, reverse the curse through the power of the gospel of Christ, and bring life to those who don’t know him. Let Him fill your SHAPE with the Spirit of God so those who are working around you will know the Lord is with you.
By the way--Joseph lived out his SHAPE in a foreign land where no one knew about the living God. Will you consider that He might SHAPE you for a faraway marketplace?
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Written by: Global Contributor, Terre Haas – Jesus follower and student of God’s Kingdom
Terre Haas is a Jesus follower on the journey of learning to live fully alive in Christ. He began his journey with Jesus when a freshman at Georgia Tech. It has continued through forty-seven years of marriage, two sons, three grandchildren, twenty-four years as pastor, and seventeen years as Pastoral Ministries Director for Operation Mobilization. Because of his SHAPE, one of the times he is most fully alive is when he is passing on the truths of God’s Word to others through speaking and writing. He has become especially consumed with learning more about the Kingdom of God and the various ways that King Jesus is working through His people to answer their prayer, “let Your kingdom come.”