Today’s Bible reading is Genesis 39 and Luke 12.
Young Joseph, just 17-years-old when he was sold by his own brothers to a caravan of Ishmaelites, has ended up in Egypt. Potiphar, the captain of Pharaoh’s guard, bought him and Joseph has been appointed overseer of Potiphar’s house. “So he left all that he had in Joseph’s charge” (Gen 39:6).
Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her. (Gen 39:6-10)
Step #1 in the fight against temptation? Make up your mind before you’re tempted.
Joseph “refused” the sexual advances of Potiphar’s wife. His mind had already been made up. The answer was “no.” Later that same day, the answer would be “no.” The answer would be “no” tomorrow. As far as Joseph was concerned, it was always going to be “no.” With his whole heart he had already made up his mind.
“How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
Joseph wouldn’t allow himself the luxury of conflicting standards. He wouldn’t give into the temptation to reason, “I’ll say ‘no’ for now, but ‘maybe’ later. I’ll say ‘no’ to going all the way, but ‘yes’ to something a little more innocent. I’ll say ‘no’ to this woman, but who knows about the next?”
The answer was “no.”
If you and I have any hope of surviving and ultimately winning the war against temptation, here is a lesson we must learn: make up your mind before you’re tempted!
Is your mind already made up? Is your answer already “no”?