Morning everyone. I am returning to the story of Joseph today. Although this is post 6 in this series on Joseph, I feel like I have only scratched the surface of what we can learn from Joseph’s story. I encourage you to read and study the biblical account of Joseph as I am confident the Holy Spirit will show you more truth and applications to help you in your journey of faith.
So today’s post is about Temptation and Self-Control.
Self-Control is a characteristic and fruit of the Holy Spirit which is so contrary to the world’s culture which is very much about giving in to temptation and getting immediate satisfaction for our desires. I’m thinking of those things that are seen as almost an entitlement. I have heard people say…I’ve worked hard, or I’ve had a disappointing/stressful day, or so and so doesn’t give me what I need…so I DESERVE IT. Those are danger signs to wrong thinking and lead to self focus and self gratification.
That is not the characteristics we see in Joseph. We read that Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph and it was a relentless daily pursuit. She really tried hard to get him to give in to sexual immorality and lust. The temptation especially for a young man like Joseph must have been hard to resist. It wasn’t just the sexual temptation either. Joseph had been betrayed, abandoned and was all alone in a foreign country. His desire for a relationship and emotional comfort must have been great. The enemy of our soul knows our weak areas and will try to exploit them. There can be many doorways for temptation to lead us astray and away from God’s truth and His plan. We need to recognise our weaknesses and the triggers in our lives to harmful behaviours and be wise. Get support from trusted people who will help and speak truth into our lives.
We know from the story that Joseph didn’t give into the temptation. He escaped and ran away. That’s a wise example for us to follow. Get ourselves out of there. If we struggle with certain weaknesses then don’t stay or associate in the wrong places or with the wrong company. Bad company corrupts good morals.
The bible says that with every temptation God will provide a way of escape. That is Godly wisdom that needs to be applied in our lives. Don’t put yourself in potentially compromising situations. Don’t fall for the lies of the enemy to “test” yourself by putting yourself in such situations.
Let us be led by the Spirit of God otherwise pride can lead to a fall. Beware of those who seek to appeal to your flesh.
Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
There are times when we do have to face temptation squarely in the face and it is Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit working in us which helps us to overcome and break those temptations. We crucify our flesh and it’s desires to Christ. We say No and reject those desires. When we do the power of those things can be broken in our lives and they don’t control us any more. Jesus delivers us from them.
Jesus can empathise with us in our situations because he himself was tempted directly by the devil himself, 3 times. Each time, Jesus rebuked the devil with the word of God. “It is written”. The living Word is the power of God to us too. Jesus said that because He overcame the world then we can too. That gives us hope to know that the power of these things will be broken for us too.
If we do fall into temptation then God is merciful to rescue us and redeem us and get us back on track. We need to repent and come back to righteousness because otherwise we will end up in a worse state than before. The bible warns us of this.
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
2 Peter 2:20-22
Let us encourage ourselves and meditate on these words today from the Apostle Paul which are biblical truths for us to apply:
Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.