Paperwork can be a frustrating, but a very important part of life. I’ve submitted hundreds of pages of paperwork already in my lifetime (I dread thinking how much more I’ll have to submit!) I recall very clearly one very important document I had to submit. It was about 20 pages long and most people hire a lawyer to process it for them because any mistake could result in a negative response. A wrong number or letter could be the difference between it being approved or denied.
Approximately six times in the first six verses of Genesis 39, we see that Joseph has God’s approval. He was well favored, God caused everything he did to prosper. This from a young man who was just sold out by his brothers and forced into slavery. A young man who had the special place at home was now a servant in a foreign country. And yet, something made him approved by God.
In Psalm 38, David asks the Lord to forgive his sins and withhold the judgment that he knows is deserved. We know from James 4 that God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. As David approaches God in humility, his “application” for mercy would be stamped approved because of his humility.
If we go back to Genesis 39, we see that Joseph wasn’t a proud individual. He understood his role within Potiphar’s house, and his position before God. He was a humble individual and God lifted him up. Then he ends up in prison, and God lifts him up. Then he stands before the most powerful man in the world, and again, God lifts him up.
The key to receiving God’s stamp of approval on our lives boils down to humility. I think you can break humility down into three parts: understanding who God is, understanding who I am, and understanding who I am in relationship to God.
Back to Psalm 38, and we can see each part of this. David understands God’s justice, he understands his own sinfulness, and he understands that he stands to receive the punishment of God on his sin.
If we consider the list of sins found in Proverbs 6, we might find at least some of those in our own heart, but what is the very first thing on the list? A proud look. “…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble….Humble yourselves therefore in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:6,10
Will you be approved or denied?