How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (
Sex is used to sell everything from hamburgers to video games. You cannot access the internet or go to a movie without encountering temptation. Wherever you turn, you will see more flesh than you should and hear more lurid conversation than you ought. Ours is a sex-saturated society. Yet, God calls His people to holiness. How is this possible? The story of Joseph helps us understand how to stay clean in a sexualized culture.
We note THE DANGER THAT HE FACED (
Gen.39:1-7). Joseph was a red-blooded young man with all
the sexual desire any man his age possesses.
God has wired us up that way. He
has also, however, established marriage to be the place where that joyful
experience is celebrated. Sin—in
whatever form—is exceeding the boundaries God has established. Temptation came to Joseph as he goes through
his normal course of life. The challenge
to our purity will arise, the issue is how we will respond to it.
There was THE DECISION THAT HE FORTIFIED (v.8-9). Joseph had developed moral convictions. His prompt reaction shows he had thought this matter through and was prepared for the crisis. He knew God’s demands, and was determined to follow them. With each decision made to stand, that commitment was fortified. “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (
Rom.12:2) We are either being conformed to the world or
transformed by the Word.
So came THE DEFILEMENT THAT HE FLED (v.10-12). You don’t have to go looking for temptation—it will come seeking you. It did for Joseph. His temptation was not an occasional matter, but a continual challenge. Then came the moment when he had no choice but to run—the fire was too hot! We cannot get away from all temptation in the world we live in, but there comes the point in which we must, “Flee sexual immorality.” (
1 Cor.6:18a). It may mean installing internet monitoring
software, getting an accountability partner, not traveling out of town alone, or
something else, but linger long enough near the edge of that polluted stream,
and you will one day dive in!
Still, there was THE DIFFICULTY THAT HE FACED (v.13-20). We have heard the expression, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned,” and this story illustrates it. If we decide to stand for God, don’t assume that means you are free from trouble. The world will seek the downfall of the godly. If they can’t find a legitimate means of attack, then they will spread false accusation. Satan will then whisper, “See, what serving God gets you!” As Joseph was isolated in a prison cell, those who seek holiness will feel very much alone—on an island in an ocean of pleasure-seekers.
Yet, there was THE DELIGHT THAT HE FOUND (v.21-23). God blessed Him despite his circumstances. The Lord still had a wonderful plan for his future. Had he yielded to sin, he would have disqualified himself. Instead, God favored his faithful servant. Trust Him! He will help you stay clean in a sexualized culture—and in the end it is rewarded.