Avoiding Temptation

Genesis 39:10-15 NIV

And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.

One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, "Come to bed with me!" But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.

When she saw that he had left his cloak in her hand and had run out of the house, she called her household servants. "Look," she said to them, "this Hebrew has been brought to us to make sport of us! He came in here to sleep with me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream for help, he left his cloak beside me and ran out of the house."

Joseph did everything he could to avoid Potiphar's wife. But if that woman was anything, she was determined. And, because Joseph was young and virile and at the peak of his sexuality, she was probably also very tempting to the handsome young man. When she finally got him cornered in her bedroom, what did he do? He turned and ran! He ran just as fast and as far as his feet would carry him... away from the temptation to do what he knew God did not want him to do.

You and I should follow his example. There are many things in life that can be a great temptation to us, things that cause us to sin. If we have a problem with alcohol, attending a party where drinking is going on or stopping by the local bar to have a "Coke" are just plain stupid things to do. If we have a problem with gambling, going to the track "just to watch the horses run" is asking for trouble. If we have a problem with sex, putting ourselves into intimate situations with attractive people of the opposite sex is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. The outcome of such a situation is inevitable.

So, obviously, we should avoid temptation to do those things to which we're most susceptible. But what if we can't avoid them? What if temptation backs us into a corner? Then, like Joseph, we need to run! As far and as fast as our feet will carry us! Sometimes that is the only way we can avoid committing a particular sin again and again and again.

For instance, let's say you're involved in a sexual relationship with someone to whom you're not married. And let's say that you two decide to stop having sex. That's a wise and honorable decision. But is it practical? Because once you have broken that barrier with a particular person, it's difficult, if not impossible to go back. So what should you do? Either set a date and get married as soon as possible, or stop seeing that person altogether. It's as simple as that. Because it is rare that two people are strong enough to avoid that particular sin for very long, especially if they've already experienced it together.

Remember, avoiding temptation is good, but sometimes it takes running away from it at full force to keep us from doing what is evil in God's eyes.

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