THE KEY TO A FRUITFUL LIFE
"Now before the year of famine came, two sons were born to Joseph ... And Joseph named the first-born Mannaseh, 'For,' he said, 'God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father's household.' And he named the second Ephraim, 'For,' he said, 'God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.'"
Everyone loves success, abundance, and prosperity. We all love to be fruitful, to use a good, biblical term. Although we all want fruitfulness, very few understand the secret or the sequence to enjoy such a life. Joseph gives us the key.
Joseph was a man who had lots of deep hurts early in life. He was hated by his ten older brothers. They sold him into Egyptian slavery when he was only seventeen. He was lied about by his slave master’s wife—she said he tried to rape her—and ended up in prison for a crime he did not commit. It appeared his life was over, but God had other plans. Because Joseph kept trusting the Lord, regardless of his rotten circumstances, God elevated him from the prison to the palace. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream, and Pharaoh promoted him to the lofty position of Prime Minister of Egypt. He was given rights, riches, royalty, and a wife.
When he and his wife had their two sons, Joseph carefully selected their names—first Manasseh (forgetful) and then Ephraim (twice fruitful). Those two names were extremely significant and give insight into a fruitful life.
IF YOU WANT TO BE FRUITFUL, YOU MUST FORGIVE
Joseph had a boatload of hurt in his heart. His own flesh and blood ripped him from his home and sold him into slavery. It would have been very easy to have harbored a heart of bitterness toward his brothers … but he refused to do so. Joseph chose to forgive them, and God was faithful in enabling him to forget the pain. He never forgot his brothers. He loved them and longed to be reconciled with them. He simply let go of the offense. He turned it over to God, and let the Lord apply His healing balm to Joe’s wounded heart.
Once Joseph was willing to forgive from the heart, it opened the door for Ephraim, a name meaning twice fruitful. God was able to bless Joseph beyond measure and turn Egypt (a place of tremendous suffering) into Eden (a place of tremendous blessing). To be sure, Joseph suffered for thirteen long years in Egypt—from seventeen until thirty. But, God gave him eighty wonderful years as the Prime Minister, the number two man in all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself.
HOW ABOUT YOU?
Have you been hurt? Have you been hated, or lied about, or sold into slavery so to speak? Have terribly painful things come into your life as they came into Joseph’s life? Do you find yourself struggling with a heart of resentment, bitterness, and ill-will toward another person? You will never move forward in life until you choose to forgive. You will never give birth to Ephraim until you first have Manasseh.
Perhaps you need to pray a prayer like this:
Dear God, You know how deeply this person (state the name) hurt me. God, I have so much resentment in my heart toward him/her for what was done. This bitterness I carry is souring everything in my life and hindering my relationship with You. Lord, I don’t want to live this way any longer. I want to experience fruitfulness and joy once again! So, by your great grace, I make the choice to forgive ___________ for what he/she did to me. I know I have sinned against You far worse than anyone could have ever sinned against me. I have been freely forgiven, and I choose to freely forgive. Today is my Manasseh moment, Lord. Thank You that Ephraim is coming soon. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Pastor Jeff Schreve,
From His Heart Ministries
Jeff Schreve founded From His Heart Ministries, www.fromhisheart.org, in 2005 with the vision to reach as many people as possible with the good news of God's love. Jeff believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a great plan just for you. He broadcast on radio, TV and in the internet around the world from his pulpit ministry as Pastor of First Baptist in Texarkana, Texas. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.
Have you ever felt the painful emotions of loneliness, guilt, worthlessness, anger, worry, frustration, and gloom? Have you ever wondered why you have to endure it? God has a message in your emotions. He wants to help you trace your emotional pain back to the source…and turn that pain into victorious living. In this 8-message series from Pastor Jeff Schreve, he shares insightful messages on anger, discontentment, frustration, worry, guilt, loneliness, and inferiority ... to help you rise above those negative emotions and live in the joy and power of the Holy Spirit.