Temptation came to Joseph at a time in his life when he was vulnerable. The temptation appealed to his natural desires. He was far away from home where his accountability would have been higher. His family background failed to provide a positive model. It came after a big promotion when he would have been relaxed. It was constant. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we can take several steps toward overcoming temptation by simply recognizing the circumstances that make us vulnerable.
Though Joseph was vulnerable he stood firm. The story from Genesis 39 tells us how Joseph resisted this temptation. These points are invaluable, especially if you’re facing chronic or habitual sin patterns in your life.
First, Joseph got his mind right (Genesis 39:8-90). He confronted Potipher’s wife with the following rationale for his refusal:
• Your husband trusts me, and my integrity and character is of utmost importance.
• You are married and you belong to your husband. You are off limits! (It’s fascinating that Joseph had a sense that adultery was wrong…especially given the fact that this event occurred 400 years prior to Moses and the Ten Commandments!)
• God sees me! God was so real to Joseph that he knew that God was fully aware of every step he took.
While those arguments were well thought out and delivered, Potipher’s wife just doesn’t get it. She continued to pursue him. So Joseph did some practical things to resist her overtures (Genesis 39:10-12). He ignored her, refusing to acknowledge her continual requests, and he avoided being in her presence as much as possible.
Finally, Joseph had an escape strategy (Genesis 39:13). He could avoid her most of the time, but what would he do when backed into a corner? That’s right, he ran into the streets, leaving his coat behind. When all else failed, Joseph physically removed himself from the temptation. By the way, that was Paul’s advice to young Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22: run!
I Corinthians 10:13 says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so you can endure” (NLT).
Do you need a plan to counter attack temptation? Do you have a plan? Joseph’s plan is a good template. Feel free to borrow it and make it your own. That’s why it’s in the Bible.