Fleeing Sexual Temptation

joseph fleeing2Genesis 39

A while back I was working on a blog regarding Paul’s visit to the city of Corinth.  I was searching for a graphic to go along with it and was stumped as what to use.  I got to thinking about how much ancient Corinth was like modern day Las Vegas.  Maybe a Las Vegas skyline might work!  But I couldn’t find one that struck me as suitable.  Then I had another thought:  “I know!  I’ll get a graphic of one of those XXX signs they hang out in front of some of their clubs.”  So I typed “XXX” into Google Images.  Okay… I did not think that one through.  I won’t tell you what came up but I could not X out of that screen fast enough!

I’m sure it has happened to you.  You typed something innocent into  a search engine and got an eyeful of something you wished you had never seen.  It is becoming increasingly hard not to stumble into porn.  We talk a lot about avoiding sexually charged material and situations… but what happens when you didn’t see it coming?  What happens when an innocent conversation turns to flirtation?  What happens when you are at a friend’s house and the movie they suggested takes a raunchy turn?  What do you do then?

I’m telling you right now what to do.  But its something that you can’t do in the heat of the moment.  You must do it NOW… and not wait until THEN.

Here it is:  “Be Prepared!”

Stop pretending that this world will never be able to seduce someone as spiritually adept as you.  If you are still breathing… lust will continue to be one of the 7 deadlies Satan will use in his attempt to bring you down.

Take Joseph.  He was a young attractive, junior executive for Potiphar enterprises.  He is quietly and effectively minding his boss’s business when he becomes the target of the CEO’s wife!  “Lie with me.” She commanded.

Yet Joseph was able to escape her clutches.  How?  Because he was prepared for it!  Here is was his plan.

1.  He knew his character ahead of time!  Joseph knew who he was as a person.  He was a faithful person.

He was faithful to Potiphar.  He tells the wife:  “There is no one greater in this house than I, and [Potiphar] has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife.  How then could I do this great evil…?” (v. 9)  The consequences of sexual sin (sex outside of marriage, adultery or porn) affect more than just oneself.  They affect the lives of loved ones with cuts too deep to ever heal properly.  And Joseph’s faithfulness to his master had been a witness to Potiphar.  Why would he chuck all of the capital he had accumulated for a quick fling?

Also, Joseph was also faithful to his God.  I mean, Joseph could have given in and Potiphar might have never found out!  (Unlikely… yet possible).  But to Joseph that didn’t matter.  God would have known.  That is why Joseph exclaims:  “How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”  Not against Potipher… Against God!

Are you a faithful person… to others and to God?  Be faithful with your sexuality as well.

2.  He Knew This Kind of Battle was a Daily One.  Note that Joseph was propositioned by Mrs. Potiphar… daily.  (v. 10)  He could not avoid her frequent advances.  He was a slave after all.  It wasn’t like he could quit his job!

It is the same for you.  You cannot 100% avoid the bombardment of sexual images in our culture today.  When you get up in the morning you better be prepared to fight!

I particularly want to reach out to those who are married.  Never EVER let your guard down.  I read years ago the words of a famous Christian author that had given into an affair.  The year before it happened he had been asked by a friend where he thought Satan could attack him.  Was he weak in any area?  He wasn’t sure how to answer, but he told his friend that he knew for sure where Satan couldn’t attack him… in his marriage.  He had a strong one.

This author went on to warn his readers:  “Satan will often attack your strong side, because it is the least defended.”

3.  Finally… He Knew When to Run!

“Now it happened one day that he went into the house to do his work, and none of the men of the household was there inside.  She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!”  And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.” (v. 11- 12)

When Paul wrote to the Corinthians and told them to “flee sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18) I wonder if it was Joseph’s story that was in the back of his mind.  Likewise Paul wrote to Timothy and told him to “flee youthful lusts.” (2 Tim. 2:22)  He, like Joseph, knew that when all else fails… you better have an exit strategy!

Perhaps your exit strategy might be to pull out a photo of your family and show it to the person who is flirting with you.  Perhaps it is to go “unplugged” for a while… staying out of places where porn can be accessed.  Work out this plan with God and then follow it.  Memorize it like the fire escape plan on the wall where you work.  It could save your life.

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Know this… He who made you is working to complete you one day in Christ Jesus.  If you have fallen it is not too late to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and then continue on developing His character in your life.

And remember… when all else fails… you can always run!

You Need a Timothy!

Legend-of-Zelda-Wallpaper-the-legend-of-zelda-5433362-1600-1200Acts 16:1-5

This may be news to you:  Jordan Verner of Ontario, Canada, recently beat the video game The Legend of Zelda.  “Okay.  so what?” you might respond, “He’s not unique.  Lots of people have beaten that game.”  Well, Jordan Verner is blind!  He went on the internet to enlist the help of other gamers to help him.  Four rose up to meet the challenge. It took them two years but they played The Legend of Zelda and recorded every jump, roll, and sound.  Jordan then took this information and entered it into his computer which would then read them aloud as he played. And he was then able to finally beat The Legend of Zelda without ever laying eyes on the screen.

It seems to me that there are a lot of young men and women out there that could use the benefit of someone in life that knows all the jumps, rolls and sounds to look out for.  I believe that there is indeed a Timothy for every Paul in this world.  But often young people are left to figure out life blindly.

Paul had his literal Timothy and poured his life into the young man.

1He came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy lived, whose mother was a Jewess and a believer, but whose father was a Greek. 2The brothers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him. 3Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

What do we know about Timothy?  He’s green.  He has baggage.  But he’s teachable.  Paul’s willingness to take this young man under his wing would lead him to write two of the books of the New Testament to teach and encourage him.

How close was Paul to Timothy?  Paul writes to the Philippians that Timothy had proved himself, and in the first of two letters written by Paul to Timothy in the NT, Paul calls his protégé:  “My true son in the faith.”  That’s close.  How close are you to someone that needs your guidance and support?

In previous posts I’ve mentioned that we all need mentors like Barnabus, and friends like Silas, but let me now stress that we also need a Timothy! – young men or women that we are mentoring and working to build into their lives.

You might protest: “I’m no Paul!  What do I have that I can share with another?  I need to get my own stuff together before I begin mentoring.”

Not only is it true that you are selling yourself short… and you may also be hampering your own spiritual growth.

In a recent Leadership Journal interview with David Platt (right), he was asked:  “Some leaders feel like they’ve been

Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL

Pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL

called by God, yet there are some days when they feel like imposters.  They don’t feel holy enough, faithful enough, gracious enough, strong enough, competent enough.  They feel obligated to talk further than they’ve walked.  Do you ever identify with that?”

He responded:  “Definitely.  With any kind of spiritual leadership, whether it’s pastoring a church or discipling one person, you get to the point where you see  something you need to call people to do.  Then you realize you’re not doing that, certainly not to the degree you’d like to see others do it. … Someone might say, “I’m not disciplined enough in prayer to teach someone else how to pray.”  Well, start teaching them anyway and it’s actually going to cause you to be more disciplined in prayer. … God’s got this thing rigged.  He’s designed disciple-making not just for other’s santification, but for our own sanctification, too.  … I tell my folks here that until we pour into others’ lives we’re going to hit a ceiling in our own life spiritually.  As long as it’s just about us, then our sanctification will not happen as effectively as it would if we are working to lead others to faith in Christ.” (Leadership Journal, Winter 2013, p. 27.)

Taken any jumps, rolls, twists and turns of that spiritual journey of yours?  Then there are those behind you that need your eyes.  Would you kindly step up to the challenge?