Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Model for Fighting Sexual Sin

Joseph serves as one of the primary models in the Bible for fighting sexual temptation. I have heard several messages geared towards men with the emphasis of FLEE! And certainly he is a great model for that in Genesis 39. He is alone with a woman. He has gained a great deal of power and no doubt could have pulled off this secret sin if he wanted to. But he flees the situation and the sin. Maybe Paul was thinking of Joseph when he wrote in 1 Cor 6:18 “Flee from sexual immorality.”

But I want to suggest that if we limit the Joseph model to just fleeing, we miss the whole picture of what fighting sexual temptation looks like. The emphasis of the text is not on the fleeing but on the fact that God is with Joseph.  In the midst of everything that is about to happen, this is clear: the Lord is with Joseph (39:2,3,21,23). The Lord’s presence is with Joseph even when a woman comes at him with the full force of sexual temptation.

Another helpful emphasis is how Joseph responds in the climactic moment. He is alone with this woman and she is coming at him with the full force of seduction. But listen to what he says to her, “There is no one greater in this house than I...How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” (Gen 39:9 NASB). Joseph understood that he has risen to a level of greatness and power. Yet he also realized that there is something much greater than human greatness: God and his greatness. As a result, Joseph calls the potential affair out for what it is: great evil. 

That has something to teach men. The seductive porn site is great evil before God. The woman who is flirting and is not your wife is great evil. If you don’t believe me check Proverbs 6:24-29. 

If you are a Christian man you will need a strategy to fight sexual temptation. The temptation may be fighting against internet pornography or fighting the temptation to commit adultery with another woman. So here is the full picture of fighting we get from Joseph. 

  1. Recognize the presence of God in your life. All Christians have the continual presence of God through the Holy Spirit, so the Lord is always with each one. No man can fight the forces of sexual temptation on his own. Cry out for the power of the Spirit to help in times of temptation. 
  2. Have a true view of greatness. Seeing God as great makes sin look much greater. There will be a ton of great temptations coming your way in the form of sexual sin. Our culture is not getting any more modest or virtuous. Remember, that no matter how appealing the sin looks, it is a great evil. 
  3. And finally flee. Turn the computer off. Get accountability if needed.  Look away when the scantily-clad girl passes by. Resolve like Job to make a covenant with your eyes (Job 31:1). Get out of the car or the office or the hotel room if you are alone and in a situation like Joseph.

And most importantly have this part of God’s Word sketched in your heart for the appropriate time: “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” 

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