After Joseph is sold into slavery, he’s taken to Egypt and bought by “Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and captain of the guard” (Gen. 37:36). As a young man, Joseph finds himself in an unfamiliar land. But Potiphar clearly appreciated Joseph’s work and recognized that Joseph was successful because the “Lord was with him” (Gen. 39:2-6). Scripture also says Joseph was “handsome in form and appearance” (v. 6). However, there was a woman in the house who had too much time on her hands. She was rich, bored and idle. And Joseph got the attention of Potiphar’s wife, who tried to seduce Joseph but he refused. The result? Joseph was falsely accused and sent to prison.
Before I choose to sin … think about others: We are all subject to temptations that appeal to us through the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17). Think of how sin is packaged in our culture. It looks so good. Paul said in Rom. 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Do we ever use this verse as a crutch? We conclude that, “Well, I’m going to sin, so why fight it?” In Gen. 39:7-9, Joseph thought about his master, Potiphar. We don’t live in a bubble. Every decision we make affects others—spouse, children, parents, brethren, God. When we choose to sin, it doesn’t just affect us. The next time sin lies at your door, ask yourself: How would this impact others?
Before I choose to sin … think about what’s right: God calls His people to live pure, holy lives (Matt. 5:8; I Pet. 1:16). Even if no one found out about the affair with Potiphar’s wife, Joseph knew he’d be sinning against Potiphar and God. Do we ever think that nobody will find out? We may be able to keep sins from our spouse, parents, brethren, the elders and the preacher. But God knows (Prov. 15:3; Heb. 4:13). Joseph was a man of integrity (Gen. 39:9). If I am a person of integrity, I am loyal, I honor the things God honors and I keep my commitments.
Before I choose to sin … think about God: The Lord was with Joseph (Gen. 39:2-3, 21, 23). God cared for, protected and blessed Joseph. Do you think that was lost on Joseph? Joseph was more concerned about doing the right thing. He only wanted to be in favor with God (Gen. 39:9). Sin is a big deal. Sin separates us from God. When I sin, it’s because I’ve chosen to sin (James 1:12-15). Let’s think like Joseph thought. Let’s think about how good God has been to us. Paul says in I Cor. 16:13: “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.” Do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.
Joseph, as a young man, chose to fight this battle, instead of giving in. He chose to flee sin, rather than pursue it. We, too, can choose not to sin (I Cor. 10:13). If you’re doing the right thing and God’s presence is in your life, the same Lord who was with Joseph is the same Lord who is with you.