Each one of us is on a journey toward an extraordinary future. In this five-day devotional from his new book Dream to Destiny, Pastor Robert Morris shares five of the ten character-building tests we all must navigate on the road to our God-given destiny.
Day 1: The Pride TestGenesis 37:2–11
Thousands of years ago, a young man named Joseph received a dream from God. And it wasn’t long before he found himself in the middle of an unexpected test—a test that probably didn’t seem to line up at all with the dream God had given him.
That test was only the beginning of a long season of testing for Joseph. In fact, he went on to experience ten distinct character tests on the way to his destiny. And it wasn’t until he passed those tests that he was able to step into his destiny—the glorious fulfillment of God’s dream. Walking out the fullness of that dream was not only a great blessing to Joseph but also to millions of people who came after him.
We may love God and have big dreams in our hearts that He Himself has placed there, but if we don’t have His character, we won’t get very far. That’s why, like Joseph, every one of us will encounter these same ten tests—tests that root out sin and prepare us to succeed—on the way from our dreams to our destinies.
Joseph’s first test is what I call the Pride Test, and it’s a very important one. Joseph experienced it. I experienced it. And every one of us will have to pass this test.
Joseph was seventeen years old when he received his dreams from God (see Genesis 37:6–7, 9). It seemed obvious from the dreams that he was destined for great power and influence. But something was standing in the way of Joseph moving toward the destiny God had shown him. The reason for this test was really quite simple: Joseph had pride in his heart. And God knew Joseph’s prideful attitude would have to go if he were to successfully reach his destiny.
It shouldn’t surprise us that pride is often the first and most frequent test we face. After all, pride is the original sin. It’s the sin that caused Lucifer to fall (see Isaiah 14:12–13), and it was an appeal to pride that Satan used to tempt Adam and Eve to fall as well (see Genesis 3:5). Obviously, pride and falling are closely linked.
So how do you humble yourself? I have found a very easy method: spend time with God every day.
It’s easy to be humble when you’ve spent time in the presence of a holy God. If you sit down to meet with God, it’s very difficult to walk away puffed up with pride! The longer you stay out of God’s presence, the more you get filled with your own presence. But when you have an encounter with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, you see how big, wonderful, and awesome He is, and you see yourself as you really are. You walk out of that meeting knowing exactly who you are and Whose you are.
The ultimate key to your victory over pride is knowing who you are in Christ.
Day 2: The Pit Test
At this point in Joseph’s story, he had just received those glorious dreams from God (see Genesis 37:6–7, 9), and the future seemed bright and wonderful. But his brothers were jealous and schemed to kill him. Suddenly he was thrown into a pit, and it began to seem like his dreams of honor and authority were just some kind of cruel joke.
Like it or not, all of us will go through times when we feel as if we are in a pit. We may not be sure how we got there and even less sure how to get ourselves out. But one thing is certain: we won’t move into our destiny unless we get out of the pit!
You know you’re experiencing the Pit Test when nothing in your life seems to be going right. It’s easy to get discouraged and depressed because you’re in a pit, and it appears there’s no way out.
The pit is a dangerous place to be because you will encounter the lies of the enemy—lies of accusation, lies of hopelessness, and even fabricated evidence. And if you believe his lies, you could stay in the pit indefinitely. If you want to get out, you will have to learn to discern the enemy’s lies and resist them with the truth.
The first truth we must keep in mind to overcome the lies of the pit is this: it’s Satan who accuses us, not God. Revelation 12:10 identifies Satan as “the accuser of our brethren” (emphasis added). So any time you have an accusatory thought about yourself or someone else, know it’s a lie from Satan.
The enemy will try to get us to focus on our circumstances rather than on God’s faithfulness. The enemy will even manipulate those circumstances to try to make his lies look like the truth. So if we let circumstances determine what we believe, we will get caught in the lies of the pit. If you want to overcome the lies of the pit, you must learn to focus on what God says. When you are in the pit, you must remember that nothing is too hard for God, no matter what evidence the enemy might produce.
Before Joseph ever got into that pit, God had a plan to get him out and bring him into his destiny. He is a redeeming God, and He delights in getting His children out of trouble. It doesn’t matter how many pits you might be in. You could even be in several pits at the same time. You might be in a Pit Test with your finances, a Pit Test with your marriage, and a Pit Test with your job. No matter what pit you’re in—even if you dug it yourself—God is big enough to get you out of it!
Day 3: The Power Test
Genesis 41:1–16, 37–44
So far, most of the tests we’ve studied have involved the way we respond when bad things happen in our lives. But the Power Test is different. This test has to do with how we respond when something good happens. In other words, it’s the test of success, and it’s the hardest test I’ve ever taken!
When you have power, you have to choose when and how to use it, because your decisions can greatly affect multitudes of people. The Power Test requires a different kind of restraint, discipline, and responsibility than the other tests. Genesis 41 tells the story of Joseph taking this test.
Suddenly, Joseph was called from the dungeon to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams. At that time Joseph had been in Egypt for thirteen years. But things were about to change.
Pharaoh had heard that Joseph could interpret dreams. But Joseph refused to take the credit for his gift. Joseph said, “No, it is not in me to interpret dreams. It’s only God who can do it” (see Genesis 41:15–16). Joseph understood he needed to stay behind God. And because of Joseph’s humility, God was able to trust him with His power.
Psalm 62:11 tells us power comes from God. He has given every person power in some area of his or her life, and every person is a leader to some degree. It’s what you do with the power and blessings of God that is the true test of your character.
Like so many of the other tests, this test is about stewardship. God is looking for people He can trust to steward His power. Power isn’t ours to own, and it can be taken away just as quickly as it is given.
The Bible tells us God gave power to Jesus when Jesus walked this earth. Acts 10:38 says, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, [He] went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” What did Jesus do with that power? He went about doing good deeds. God gave Jesus power so He could do good—so He could heal people and set them free from the oppression of the devil.
Similarly, God did not give power to Joseph for Joseph’s sake. God gave Joseph power so he could feed the world during a severe famine! Power is not a bad thing. It’s a good thing, and it comes from God. God’s heart is always for people, so God’s power is always given to help people. That’s what power is for, and God wants us to remember that.
Day 4: The Prosperity Test
Genesis 41:17–33, 46–57
As we discovered in the previous day, power will test your character. But so will money. In fact, money is just another form of power. Money can give us the power to do certain things or meet certain needs, and in the same way, the lack of money can hinder us from doing certain things.
So we must ask ourselves, What do we do with the power that money brings us? Do we use it as God would have us use it—to further His purposes for our lives and the lives of others? Or do we squander it in foolish ways?
This is the Prosperity Test. Every one of us has taken this test, and we will continue to take it as long as we’re living.
In Genesis 41:1–8, God showed Pharaoh two dreams. God had a purpose in showing him those dreams—a purpose of blessing, provision, and deliverance from starvation! God knew seven years of famine were coming, and He wanted to make sure people didn’t starve. But He needed someone whom He could trust to carry out His plan. Joseph was that person. He understood God’s principles about managing finances.
When asked what to do, Joseph had a plan, and that plan involved saving specific amounts of grain each year—one-fifth (20 percent) to be exact. This plan was so good that Joseph not only fed Egypt and his family, other nations came to Egypt to buy food, and Joseph extended Egypt’s empire by trading land in exchange for life-saving grain.
God’s plan would have failed in the hands of someone who didn’t know how to manage money wisely or put Him first in their decisions. He couldn’t choose someone with a pattern of unrestrained spending, who didn’t know how to save for the future. If He had chosen someone like that, the grain would have been depleted before the famine arrived! God looked for someone who was a good steward, someone who knew how to manage material things according to His principles. The Prosperity Test was a huge part of Joseph’s destiny.
The Prosperity Test is a huge part of your destiny as well. Until you are found faithful with money, you will not be able to step into your destiny to the full extent God desires. Why? Because God’s plans for you will always involve bringing His blessings and provision to others.
You might be saying to yourself, I never have any money. How could I be taking the Prosperity Test? The truth is everyone has financial resources to manage. Every person will be tested by money, whether he or she has only a little or a lot. When you have been found faithful in handling money, God will be able to use you as a channel to distribute His wealth and resources to a hurting and destitute world.
Day 5: The Pardon Test
What would it be like to narrowly escape being murdered by your own brothers—only to have them sell you as a slave into a lifetime of bondage and degradation? That is Joseph’s story, and he certainly had valid reasons to feel betrayed and abused!
Joseph could have spent endless nights consumed by bitterness, replaying in his mind the horror of what had been done to him. Yet he didn’t do that. Instead, Joseph made the decision to forgive.
How do we know? Because we’re told “the Lord was with Joseph,” and he prospered in everything he did (Genesis 39:2–3). If Joseph had been walking in unforgiveness, the blessing and presence of God would not have been with him, and that would have kept him from stepping into the destiny God had prepared for him all along.
This is the Pardon Test, and every one of us will have to face it. Just like Joseph, every one of us will have to deal with hurtful relationships and wrong or even malicious behavior. It can be easy to forgive when the offense is something minor, but what about when it’s major? Like being sold into slavery by your brothers? Yet Joseph passed the Pardon Test with flying colors.
Genesis 50:15–21 is the very first time the word “forgive” is used in the Bible. This word in Hebrew means to “absolve fully” or “release from punishment.” Most of the time it’s not translated “forgive” but rather “bear up” or “lift up.”
That’s exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ did with all our sins. He bore them. He lifted them off us (see Isaiah 53:6–12). That’s what the word “forgive” really means. It means to take a burden off someone completely and totally release that person. It does not mean to take only part of it off or just help them carry it. It means to lift it off entirely.
Now think about this: Is that the way you’re forgiving other people? Are you releasing them, absolving them, and pardoning them fully and freely, as God does? That is true forgiveness. In order to step into your destiny, you must forgive the same way God has forgiven you.
A popular analogy compares holding unforgiveness in your heart to drinking poison and hoping it will hurt the other person. But the reality is that you are the only one who will get hurt! Unforgiveness causes you to live in torment.
Through Jesus, God has provided forgiveness for every sin we have ever committed or will ever commit. And when we receive His forgiveness, we are able to give it to others, no matter how traumatic and awful the situation may be. We can forgive others as He has forgiven us. He is asking, “Will you forgive the same way I have forgiven you? Will you release that person fully and freely? Will you let it go?”
DREAM TO DESTINY | $24.99
Pastor and bestselling author Robert Morris shares exactly how to navigate the journey from your dreams to your destiny. This newly revised and expanded edition is full of profound insight and hope. No matter where you are in life, you have a meaningful and bright future ahead—beyond what you could ever imagine!