Overcoming sexual temptation
Bible Text: Genesis 39 | Preacher: Pastor Steve | Series: Seal Training
We are going to see how Joseph handles sexual temptation. He chooses to not violate God’s moral and ethical laws.
Genesis 39:1–3 When Joseph was taken to Egypt by the Ishmaelite traders, he was purchased by Potiphar, an Egyptian officer. Potiphar was captain of the guard for Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. The Lord was with Joseph, so he succeeded in everything he did as he served in the home of his Egyptian master. Potiphar noticed this and realized that the Lord was with Joseph, giving him success in everything he did.
Matthew 25:21 The master was full of praise. Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!
Joseph understood that his devotion to God and his success were directly related. There was in fact a direct causal effect relationship between the two!
Genesis 39:4–6 This pleased Potiphar, so he soon made Joseph his personal attendant. He put him in charge of his entire household and everything he owned. From the day Joseph was put in charge of his master’s household and property, the Lord began to bless Potiphar’s household for Joseph’s sake. All his household affairs ran smoothly, and his crops and livestock flourished. So Potiphar gave Joseph complete administrative responsibility over everything he owned. With Joseph there, he didn’t worry about a thing—except what kind of food to eat!
Joseph’s behavior was so outstanding and above reproach that he became the executive assistant. That meant that he was supervising all other servant employees, handling public relations, overseeing finances, administering all agricultural interests, and all other business activities, in fact we know that from Genesis 39:6 that Potiphar did not consider himself with anything except the food he ate.
Genesis 39:7–10 Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man, and Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. “Come and sleep with me,” she demanded. But Joseph refused. “Look,” he told her, “my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God.” She kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day, but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible.
Exodus 20:14 You must not commit adultery.
Exodus 20:17 You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.
Why did Joseph resist the sexual temptation?
Joseph would not violate Potiphar’s trust
Joseph would not violate spiritual convictions and he would not disobey God
Joseph did not want to hurt God’s reputation
Genesis 39:11–20 One day, however, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. She came and grabbed him by his cloak, demanding, “Come on, sleep with me!” Joseph tore himself away, but he left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house. When she saw that she was holding his cloak and he had fled, she called out to her servants. Soon all the men came running. “Look!” she said. “My husband has brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us! He came into my room to rape me, but I screamed. When he heard me scream, he ran outside and got away, but he left his cloak behind with me.” She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home. Then she told him her story. “That Hebrew slave you’ve brought into our house tried to come in and fool around with me,” she said. “But when I screamed, he ran outside, leaving his cloak with me!” Joseph Put in Prison Potiphar was furious when he heard his wife’s story about how Joseph had treated her. So he took Joseph and threw him into the prison where the king’s prisoners were held, and there he remained.
We are often the most vulnerable to sexual temptation when we are the most successful. We must be on guard at all times especially when we are doing well. We will face the challenge to not compromise our integrity over and over. 1 Corinthians 10:12 …if you think you’re standing firm be careful that you don’t fall.
Our strong moral and ethical values are the way that we will resist temptation. Joseph had made the choice that he would not violate the trust placed in him by Potiphar and by God.
Accountability: one of the reasons that we have SEAL training is for “accountable living.”
Strong biblical constraints are what help us to remain faithful!
Accountability: one of the motivating sources we have is our accountable with the Lord.
Titus 2:11–14 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.
We need to learn to avoid verbal and visual stimuli in order to resist sexual temptation.
One of the powerful reasons we give in to sexual temptation it is not because of uncontrollable lust because of fear of rejection and loneliness and poor self-worth.
1 John 2: 15–17 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
We may pay a price within ourselves and other people by resisting temptation but never with God.
1 Peter 1:7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
It is true that God can turn lemons into lemonade if we let him. All is not lost even if we stumble and fall. There is forgiveness in Jesus Christ. We can begin anew and the things that are in the past although they cannot be changed, with the Lord’s help we can make significant changes for the future and discover the amazing gift of God’s peace within us today!
1 Corinthians 10:13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
SEAL Training Questions
Do you think men are in fact most vulnerable to sexual temptation when they are most successful? Why or why not?
What are the other factors that cause men to be vulnerable sexually?
If you feel free to share with the group: When are you the most vulnerable to sexual temptation? Follow up question: How do you avoid giving in to the above sexual vulnerability?
Are you willing to make yourself accountable to other believers to help you resist temptation? If it worth your time? Why or why not?
What do you think about the fact that sexual temptation is often related to the fear rejection or loneliness or poor self-worth?
What do you think about the fact that giving in to sexual temptation is dishonoring and disrespectful to God and your brothers in the Lord?
What are the constraints that help you resist sexual temptation? As a team come up with a list of constraints that would help men resist sexual temptation.