HE PLAYED HIS PART
I believe the situation report in Genesis 39:11 of the house of Potiphar on the day his wife attempted to use force on Joseph to sleep with her that, “and it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business; and there was none of the men of the house there within”, was written for us to know the grave situation he found himself and yet was able to refrain from committing sexual immorality. Joseph should be commended for outsmarting and escaping from the grip of a daring and adulterous woman, who happened to be her boss, in her well-planned ploy and snare. Joseph’s actions speak great volumes of the person, wisdom, doggedness, and a high level of moral integrity. He was courageous and decisive. He acted fast and timely. He played his part of watching and pray; resisting and fleeing from sexual immorality as expected of believers and by so doing he overcame. He did not take the grace of God upon him as a license to live a life of ease and carelessness.
There is always God’s role and the human role in all situations of life especially in overcoming temptations. God will always play His part because He is a faithful God. He expects that as He does His part in protecting and providing us with His sufficient grace to do all things and overcome all temptation, we also should make considerable efforts to ensure we watch and pray, resist and flee.
The reason many believers fall into the snares set for them by their predators has to do with many not taking into cognizance signs and warning alerts of danger lurking around them and also insensitivity to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Scripture advises we should watch and pray so that we would not fall into temptation (Matthew 26:41).
SEXUAL IMMORALITY TEMPTATIONS
God created mankind as moral sexual beings (males and females) He created our bodies and the sexual organs and hormones responsible for our sexual urges. The sex hormone in the male is called testosterone while that of a female is known as oestrogen and progesterone. He also ordained marriage whereby a man and a woman would come together as husband and wife and enjoy sexual intimacy in purity, holiness, and love without guilt and shame.
However, when man sinned by disobedience to God’s commandment in the Garden of Eden, man became depraved/carnal. Among the things seriously corrupted in man due to his depravity was his sexuality and love; everything about sex has been perverted and the marriage bed defiled and dishonored. Fleshly desires and passions have overtaken spiritual/godly desires and passion; sensuality and lust have overtaken spirituality and true love from the heart. The sexual urge has become uncontrollable in both men and women to the point of having no shame or public decency. Sex is the greatest weapon of the enemy against mankind and is the in-thing.
Among the challenges anyone (both believers and unbelievers, young and old, females and males) would face in life are temptations. No one is exempted from this as our Lord Himself was tempted by Satan, but He never fell or sinned (Matthew 4:1-11; Luke 4:1-13; Hebrew 4:15; 1 Peter 2:22). Temptations are unavoidable in our earthly life. Temptations are not of God but the devil. There is no one living that will not be tempted to do evil. Being tempted in itself is not sinful, however, falling into temptation is. The aim of temptation is to ensure that a believer’s relationship with God is destroyed and the destiny is truncated.
Among the temptations one can face is sexual immorality temptations. Sexual immorality has to do with involvement in sexual activities outside what God designed it to be between husband and wife only and in purity and holiness, Hebrews 13:4. Therefore, being involved in it is a contradiction to God’s law and is a grave and heinous sin against God, others, and one’s body. Sexual immorality includes premarital sex (fornication) or extramarital sex (adultery), masturbation, anal sex, oral sex, pornography, rape, sex texting, homosexuality, bestiality, incest, masturbation, lesbianism, sensuality, impure and degrading passions. Sexual immorality thrives in homes, churches, schools, everywhere and cuts across people of all races, religions, social statuses, age and class. The effect of sexual sin on one’s body can take several forms. It makes one feel guilty, pollutes/defiles one’s body, soul and spirit, it reduces one’s worth, sex is one of the sins that damages your soul and defiles your body. No sin eats deep into a man’s body as sex. it infects one with very serious sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, aids, and several others.
Sexual immorality temptation is the commonest challenge most people especially youths are facing in our time because sex has been hyped and overrated. Satan has made immorality to be the accepted thing in modern days where everything from music, adverts, social media, video games, fashion, publications revolve around sex. It is even worse now with the new sexual provocative fashion trends of butt and breast enhancement, braless, body-revealing, body clinging, short dresses with long slits and low-necked dresses, seductive body movements, and facial make-ups as well as social media, porn sites, sexual pollution of the internet. Those who are determined to live righteously are mocked and counted as old fashion.
All the actions of Potiphar’s wife in this sexual immorality saga perfectly described notable characters of those given to sexual immorality and the ways by which they tempt their victims to make them commit such sin with them. The sex predators could be anyone, male or female, young or aged, married or unmarried, rich or poor, literate or illiterate, black or white, and of any belief. Among the things they have in common are:
- a) They act under the control and influence of their sinful sexual passions and desires like demonic-possessed people. Therefore they would do anything to satisfy their corrupt sexual desires and cravings.
- b) They all have wanton/lustful eyes. They entice and seduce with their eyes, they are like ravenous lions always on the lookout for whom to devour. Once they set their eyes on their innocent prey, they don’t let go. they would go to any length to lay with them; they would cajole, pamper with gifts, entice, seduce, sweet-tongue, pretend, and could result in the use of deceit, violence or force.
- c) They are shameless and daring. They do dumb and foolish things, they care less about decency or their reputation. They don’t care about the age, position, social status of their prey. Threats, insults, abuse, crying by their victims don’t work on them, because they have no conscience.
- d) They prey on the vulnerable of the society most especially the youths and take undue advantages of them.
- e) They are die-hard. This implies they are stubborn and don’t relent on their demand and don’t easily give up on anyone they want to prey on.
- f) Oftentimes, they like luring their prey to secluded/lonely places. Don’t involve yourself with an immoral person (Proverbs 6: 23-35; 7:5-27). It is pathetic that many people in our generation have been deceived to accept sexual immorality as a social norm and not a sin.
Know that something evil cannot become right simply because a large number of people are involved in it or don’t believe it as sin. The Word of God says sexual immorality is sinful and evil. Involving it in contravenes the will of the Holy God for His children.
DARE TO BE LIKE JOSEPH.
Sexual immorality was very rampant in Joseph’s time in the land of the Canaan where he grew up even among his family members as revealed in Genesis 35:22; 38: 12-19 and in the land of Egypt where he was sold to as a slave. However, he maintained his morality and did not get involved in it because he knew that covenant children of the Holy God of Israel must abstain from all forms of sexual immorality as it is a grave and heinous sin against God, others, and one’s body. Joseph has set for us a standard of sexual morality and purity. It is likewise expected of the New Covenant believers to be morally and sexually pure and have self-control, 1 Corinthians 6:9; 2 Timothy 2: 22. For this reason, God gave us commandments against it and told us that He would judge adulterers and sexual immoralities (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:27-32; 1 Corinthian 6:13-20; Hebrews 13:4). Immorality is not to be named among us, Ephesians 5:3. The body is not meant for sexual immorality but for God therefore we are to flee, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. No one involved in sexual immorality and did not repent will inherit the kingdom of God, Galatians 5:21. Joseph has set a good example for all covenant children of God both of the Old and New Testament to follow.
To dare to be like Joseph in overcoming the temptations of sexual immorality is to do all he did to overcome such as:
i) Having faith in God: As earlier pointed out, sexual immorality is among the things caused by the fall of man from being spiritual to being carnal due to disobedience to God’s commandment which was an act of faithlessness. Therefore, the first step anyone who desires to live a victorious life of moral, sexual purity like Joseph must be in a personal intimate faith relationship with the Holy God of Israel, the Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ by embracing His gracious salvation through His Son Jesus Christ and living a consecrated life unto Him, Titus 2:11-14. It is only through this that a new spirit and heart are given and grace to overcome the flesh is bestowed on one.
It is important that after putting one’s faith in God, one must live a daily life of a continual consciousness of the abiding invisible presence of God with us. The root cause of many sinful and wicked things including sexual immorality done by many in the secret is lack of the awareness that God knows, sees,, and hears everything done and said anywhere. Among the things living in the consciousness of His invisible Presence is making one live in awe and reverence of God’s presence. This helps one to avoid sin.
ii) Put your flesh and all its activities to death. The sinful elements in human nature with its corrupt sexual desires remain with the Christian after his conversion and is a deadly enemy to him, Romans 8:6-8, Galatians 5:17, 21. The flesh is that which makes one desire and crave for immoral sexual gratifications.
The good news is that God through His gracious salvation has given us all what it takes to overcome the flesh. To overcome the desires of the flesh, totally yield yourself to the Holy Spirit and be spiritually alive and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh, Romans 8:5-14. You must deny your flesh of its sinful desires and cravings every day as long as you live. Don’t be a slave to your flesh, but have dominion over it. Understand your own emotions and weakness; know what arouses you sexually and take precautions. From all indications, one can say that everything Joseph did reveal he had been able to overcome his flesh even at that tender age. This was somewhat powerful people like Samson and King David failed to do.
iii) Guide what you see and what you hear. The human eyes and the ears are two of man’s sensory organs whose inputs in the heart condition a man’s sexuality, emotions, feelings, desires, thoughts, and actions among others. Therefore, one must be mindful of what one sees and what one hears to avoid being tempted to lust in the thriving immoral activities around us. To do this implies making deliberate decisions on what to see and what to hear as Joseph did by not setting his eyes on her and also her talks to have any impact on him. Doing this involves great discipline but it is worth doing. To overcome the desires of the flesh cut off from all evil influencers, entertain pure thoughts, control your eyes. Therefore, you must be mindful of what you see, hear, read, or listen to, and things you think of. Stop reading immoral books, songs, websites, and movies. Entertain pure thoughts, Philippians 4:8. Do not lust after beauty, “Do not lust after her beauty in your heart. Not let her allure you with her eyes lid” (Proverbs 6:25).
iv) Be determined and principled: One thing that differentiates man from animal is humans’ will power to make choices, decisions, and to control our emotions, feelings (Proverbs 25:28). It is in each of us to choose to do that which is good and right and reject that which is sin and evil. Determine not to sin against God, others, and yourself by choosing to live in obedience and love. Making decisions is easy, however, keeping to it does not come easy. You must discipline yourself against flouting your decision. You must maintain your stand and never give in to it, keeping to your decision no matter what because friends, colleagues would say so many beautiful things about their sexual experiences, they may even abuse, mock and call you names, however, maintain your stand.
To be determined is good but we know that no amount of determination can help from falling in certain situations when the grace is not available. Daily righteous and holy living makes the grace of God to abound. Therefore live a godly life always, pray and ask God for more of His grace and also to keep you from falling into temptation.
v) Be on Guard: Although sexual immorality involves mankind, yet Satan is behind it all. The scripture gives us reliable information about satan the devil such as an adversary, accuser of brethren, an arch-enemy of our soul a tireless impostor of God, and a tempter with the sole aim of to stealing, destroying and killing, John 8:4; 10:10; 1 Peters 5:8; Revelations 12:9. This he achieves through deceit, lies and enticement to do evil. Satan entices us daily with seemingly cheap sexual immoral acts that appear outwardly pleasurable and harmless but are inwardly deadly. Sexual immorality seems sweet when committed but the end is disastrous. It is one of the sins that damages your soul and defiles your body (Proverbs 6:32-36; Proverbs 5:1-8; 9: 13-18).
Satan would use his human agents to do everything to convince you on why you should get involved. He attacks often in our unguarded hours, therefore one needs to be on guard and cautious at all times especially when alone with a member of the opposite sex who one has feelings for or who has shown great interest in one or had made sex advances or demands from you at one time or the other “to avoid one thing lead to another.” Act fast when faced with an unpalatable situation. Wrestle yourself out with all your power and escape. Having been able to think fast, Joseph outsmarted the woman by removing his garment, he was on guard.
Seek not repose; you are in the midst of foes. He was watchful. Flee from every form of sexual sin (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26). “Resist the devil and he will flee fro thee”, James 4:7.
2 Corinthians 11:14, 1 Peters 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walked about, seeking whom to devour.” “My son when sinner entices you, do not consent”, Proverbs 1:10.
vi) Mind where you go to: Don’t go to where acts of sexual immorality take place such as brothels, lodges, and prostitutes hideouts because such environments are polluted with immoral spirits that can enter into one. Doing so is walking straight into Satan’s snare.
As much as possible, avoid solitary places because evil people lurk around there and it can be a trap. Solitary places give a false feeling of secrecy. There is no secret under the sun. Sin is sin – secret or open; little or big. You can only hide your secret sins from your fellow men but you cannot hide it from God. Sin hinders, it destroys anointing and blessing and powers of God, Isaiah 59:1-2.
Don’t spend time all alone and idle in your room. This is because loneliness and idleness encourage wandering inordinate thoughts that trigger sexual immoral acts like masturbation.
vii) Choose your company: The company one keeps have a great influence on one. An immoral friend will convince you to immorality sooner than later, Proverbs 13:20. Remember evil communication corrupts good manners. Therefore, cut off all immoral people from your life (1 Corinthians 5: 9-11; 15:33-34). It is advisable not to have a person of the opposite sex that is not your spouse or related to you by blood as your best friend, business partner, or confidant because doing so oftentimes leads to emotional bonds and immorality.
If you are married stay loyal and faithful to your spouse, don’t involve in extramarital affairs, it is adultery! If you are single and unmarried don’t involve in pre-marital sex with anyone including the one you intend to marry. Doing so is fornication!
viii) Keep God’s words: The Psalmist asked “wherewithal shall a man cleanse his way? He gave us the answer saying “by taking heed thereto according to thy Word”, Psalm 119:9. He further stated “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11. He said again “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). “Thy Word” here refers to God’s written commandments, testimonies, statures, promises, ways and precepts written in His Holy Bible for His people individually and collectively for directives, corrections, revelations, reproof and instructions unto righteousness, 2 Timothy 3: 16-17. The Psalmist said these about the Word of God “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart, the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Psalm 19: 7-11). Therefore, it is imperative and necessary that we read and study and meditate on God’s Word daily and try committing them to our memory, Joshua 1:8.
ix) Pray Always: The importance of seeking the face of God daily in prayers for the strength and power of His grace to live a godly life in a godless world cannot be overemphasized. This is because without seeking God’s face in prayers, weakness, defeat and the temptation of falling into sexual immorality are imminent. For this reason, Jesus Christ asked us to pray asking God to help us not into temptation in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:13. He charged us saying “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: …” Matthew 25:41. “PRAY ALWAYS”, 1 Thessalonians 5:17
God’s gracious salvation through His son Jesus Christ has given us victory over the world, Satan, and the flesh. However, only those who abide in Him will continue to enjoy all of Jesus. Therefore, abide in Jesus, John 15:4-7. Pray always looking earnestly unto Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith with your whole heart for daily power and strength of his grace.
If you are reading this and you are battling with the sin of sexual immorality, there is a respite for you; embrace Jesus Christ as your Lord and surrender yourself wholly to God because without Jesus Christ no man in his natural sinful nature has power over the strong desires and passions of the flesh because they lack the power, will and heart to do so. The presence of Jesus Christ in anyone gives the power to overcome and the wisdom to know what to do at all times.
GOD LOVES YOU AND SO DO I.