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The Struggle With Temptation

Jul 09, 2004 06:35 AM EDT

Genesis 39:1-9

As we have seen, temptation is common to all people. And despite popular opinion, temptation can be overcome. When we face enticement, we have the assurance of almighty God that we can be victorious.

Joseph dealt with a great temptation for days, weeks, and perhaps even months on end. As he went about his duties, the wife of his master continually—tirelessly—tempted him with the allure of a sexual encounter. However, in the throes of this immoral invitation, Joseph asked the key question: "How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9)

In this wonderful response, we see the value in bringing our attention back to its proper focus: almighty God. Joseph didn't think about the beauty of Potiphar's wife; he didn't consider the false promise of immediate gratification; he didn't reflect on his years of loneliness and isolation or toy with the idea of momentary comfort that might be found in this woman's arms. Instead, he kept His eyes fixed upon the Lord and therefore claimed victory over extreme temptation.

When we give our attention to the big picture rather than the millions of little things crying for our attention, we stay on track. Temptation begins in our thinking, which is where it can be defeated. When you find your mind wandering in the thrall of inappropriate thoughts, ask yourself Joseph's clarifying question: "How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" You will be amazed at how quickly this little redirection of focus can dispel the cloud of temptation.

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