A few weeks ago I read a wonderful UCB Bible study on two of the coats that Joseph was given. It said that to be used by God, we must be prepared to wear the two coats Joseph wore – namely, those of favour and integrity.

As I read this passage again however, I spotted a third coat. The coat of responsibility. Read on to see what I mean.
Remember the story of Joseph?
First his father Jacob gave him the coat of favour. ‘Now [Jacob] loved Joseph… and he made him a coat of many colours’ (Genesis 37:3 KJV).

Like Joseph’s multicoloured coat, the favour of God will undoubtedly cause us to stand out in the crowd; it will open doors, protect and promote us. This may not always make us very popular with people, but the Bible says, ‘For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favour You will surround him as with a shield’ (Psalm 5:12 NKJV).

I bet there were many times when Joseph felt that his coat was not something that brought him favour at all! It may well have felt like the opposite. It may be similar with what God has given you?

There are certainly times when the things that God gives us are not straightforward or easy to understand. Sometimes it does not feel as though we have His favour or His blessing at all. But, with hindsight, insight or foresight and longsight, we may come to view things differently. Joseph was marked out from an early age as a person who carried the favour and intended purposes of God. I believe you and I walk in the same destiny. Do you?

Secondly, Joseph had a coat of integrity. This is the coat Joseph left in the hands of Potiphar’s wife when he refused to sleep with her. ‘When Joseph went into the house to do his work… she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand, and fled…’ (Genesis 39:11-12 NKJV).

Our temptation may not be to sleep with the boss’s wife, of course. It may be to cut corners at work, or to lie about a situation, or claim the credit for a success that belonged elsewhere…whatever it is, we will all experience times of real testing. In any test our character is revealed. Passing tests of integrity are what qualifies us to be continually used by God.

A good friend of mine helps to run a youth camp every year. During the camp he takes the young leaders through a difficult assault course to see what happens when they are put under pressure. Every time, character traits rise the surface and he is able to see who has the leadership potential, stamina and integrity he is looking for in the next generation of leaders to train.

What is your stamina like under pressure? Do you fold at the slightest hurdle and give up? Or do you know that whatever comes you have a promise written over your life that you will simply rise above all obstacles to achieve?

The last coat Joseph is recorded to have been given is in Genesis 41:42 where we read:
‘Then Pharaoh… clothed him in garments of fine linen…’

Here is Joseph the foreigner, exalted to the highest place in the land. Pharaoh isn’t just dressing him up for a posh meal or because he wants to hang out with someone who looks and smells nice. He dresses Joseph as royalty because he is now given huge responsibility and power; the power to save lives.

We may have the favour of God over our lives and the integrity to handle what He gives us well. But what we also need is the knowledge and wisdom to hold in tension the responsibility of what we are called to do in His name.

We all need to get used to wearing these three coats

They flow into one another. The Bible teaches us that a chord of three strands isn’t quickly broken. But our job is to realise how vital all three of these ‘coats’ are to what we are doing today.

If we are living lives surrendered to Jesus, we have God’s favour over us. If we choose to walk in uprightness and integrity then we will be given tasks to achieve for His name.

May God bless us as we seek His wisdom to make His word come alive to us and in us today. Amen.