There are different spheres of leaders and different handicaps that a leader will have to deal with if he is to be as wise as a serpent. Jesus said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: BE YE THEREFORE WISE AS SERPENTS, AND HARMLESS AS DOVES” (Matthew 10:16).
Your colour can be a handicap.
Being half African and half European has its amazing challenges. When I am in Europe and America, everyone sees me as a black man. When I am in Africa, everyone sees me as a white man. In effect, I do not belong to any of these places. I used to feel sorry for myself because of my brown colour.
'I don't belong anywhere', I thought to myself. As I began to travel around the world, I found out that I actually fitted into more countries than I thought. In South Africa, I pass for a 'coloured person'. At different places I have been asked whether I am Somalian, Ethiopian, Malaysian, Indian, Indonesian, Pakistani, Columbian, Brazilian, Latino, etc. As my international ministry grew, I found out that my limitation was actually an advantage.
Your marriage can be a handicap.
Everybody has a different kind of marriage. Some people have A1 (excellent, ideal) marriages.
Others have P5 (prison, suffering, bondage) marriages. Perhaps you married someone who is not an ideal partner. Perhaps you have an unpleasant, quarrelling, malicious, and contentious wife. Perhaps you feel sad that you backed the wrong horse and are yoked to an unfortunate circumstance.
Joseph was in prison, which is a 'type' of bad marriage. He used this handicap to rise into prominence and leadership. Your difficult marriage is giving you certain important qualities. Every difficult marriage releases two key spiritual treasures into your life – humility and wisdom! Take advantage of the humility you gain from your difficulty because God gives more grace to the humble!
Take advantage of the wisdom you gain from your difficult situation because wisdom will make you do excellently.
People who do not have difficult marriages do not have the same level of humility as those with difficult marriages. Those who have A1 marriages often develop a subtle pride about their ideal and harmonious lives. You will hear them saying things like, “Why don't you pull yourself together and be a good husband so that you can have a good marriage.” Then they will go on to suggest six principles that they have followed for years, explaining that these principles always lead to good marriages. A1 marriage partners often suffer from pride, whilst P1 marriage partners are blessed with the humility of their circumstances.
After many years of a P5 marriage, you will become a wiser and more humble spouse who appreciates and understands other people's problems. A person with an A1 marriage will not have this advantage and can even become insensitive to people's problems.
So Joseph's master took him and put him into the jail, the place where the king's prisoners were confined; and he was there in the jail.
But the Lord was with Joseph and extended kindness to him, and gave him favor in the sight of the chief jailer.
The chief jailer committed to Joseph's charge all the prisoners who were in the jail; so that whatever was done there, he was responsible for it.
The chief jailer did not supervise anything under Joseph's charge because the Lord was with him; and whatever he did, the Lord made to prosper.
Genesis 39:20-23 (NASB)
Being a woman can be a handicap.
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour UNTO THE WIFE, AS UNTO THE WEAKER VESSEL, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
1 Peter 3:7
If two ships are going on a long journey, the weaker vessel will suffer more from the storms and the bad weather. The weaker vessel is likely to collapse and suffer more than the stronger ship. Women are exposed to many specific fears and temptations. Women are often mistreated and mishandled by men. But a woman can turn around her disadvantage and use it to her advantage. Women who have learnt how to do this enjoy many benefits by acting weak and vulnerable, thereby drawing the sympathy and assistance of people. Today, women have turned many laws to favour them by presenting themselves as victims of evil. This is ironic because they are equally evil as men.
Overcome your handicap by thinking of a way to turn your handicap into an advantage. Always think of how you can turn your particular problem into an advantage for the ministry. Overcome your handicaps by assuming the stance and posture of an overcomer! Always remember that you will be rewarded for what you overcome!