Temptation lesson from Joseph’s story:
It is a fact that we all face temptation. Temptation comes in many different forms, shapes, and sizes. It’s not just a present-day issue; the temptation is a biblical fact. The main and sometimes difficult goal is not to yield to temptation. Jesus the only son of the living God was tempted by the devil. David was tempted by lust and gave in to commit adultery with Bathsheba.
Samson ended up being captured and enslaved because of Delilah. Ananias and Sapphira were tempted by greed and money, so too Gehazi the servant of Elisha was tempted by deceit and secretly decided to accept silver and clothes from Naaman after Elisha had refused and sent him away in peace. (See 2 Kings 5:2 ) These are some types of temptation
Sometimes it seems like temptation is a natural occurrence. There are so many things around to cause us to wander away from the will of God. Our desires are a natural part of our existence. We desire things that are necessary or even needed in order to carry out our daily functions. Things like food, love, sex, and companionship. The world is full of things to tempt us, greed, lust, pornography, and such darkness. Jesus our savior knows what it means to be tempted because he himself endured temptation but did not give in. So too we have the ability to submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee from us.
“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV
At times, we are pressured to do things that we do not want to do by someone in a position of authority. People are driven by a need to fit in and be submissive to those that are placed in authority over them. They see the need to succumb and give in and do things that they would not have done if they weren’t persuaded or felt fear of offending the person who asked them to do such things.
“And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”Luke 11:4 KJV
The need to fit in
This can also be a way of fitting in with the boss or the popular crowd. And many end up going against their faith, beliefs, and moral convictions just to stay with their circle of friends. It is therefore important to know who you are in Christ and stand firm on your beliefs and not be persuaded by every little wind. Stand your ground say “no” when you need to say “no” and be quick to defend your grounds. Don’t give in and back down. Remember that God will never put more on you than you can bear, and he will always make a way of escape.
Remember the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. Joseph did not yield to the sexual temptation, even though he knew she was in an influential position and could use her power to destroy his life. Which in essence is what she eventually did. It took great courage for Joseph to refuse her and decide to bear whatever consequences that came with his refusal. And of course, there were consequences, as there usually are. He ended up in prison, but that was all a part of the process to get him to his destination. So stand up for your principles and beliefs. As Christians, we should never use our influential authority to pressure others into doing our bidding.
Rising, elevation temptation
People are driven by a need to thrive, succeed and become very successful. These attributes are instilled in us from an early age. We go to school and try to figure out our goals in life. Aspiring to become the best at everything we do, with the ultimate goal of benefiting significantly from our efforts. We aim for higher ground and our parents, family, and well-wishers want us to attain heights that they themselves have never achieved. Or wants us to become just like them.
They have reached the highest height, so we should reach it too. So we climb the success ladder. Rung by rung is the norm, but because of greed, impatience, and the need to get there ahead of everyone else, without hard work or unnecessary pressure many yield to great and grievous temptation.
“And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.”Luke 22:46 KJV
Higher levels mean greater devils. The higher you climb the more you are exposed. We are reminded of these honest and true facts. With promotions comes more responsibilities, opportunities, and challenges. It might become difficult to keep a clear head and many lose sight of their goals and morals along the way. Promotion might come with more problems, and cause conflicting and difficult choices. Also, the devils of greed, immorality, lust, and pride might follow suit.
Some people just don’t handle promotion well, allowing it to change them, while some forget and turn their back on those that helped them on the way. Don’t lose your integrity as you climb higher, ask God for the grace to help you not to allow it to get to your head. Some sell their soul to get to the top and only to realize when they get there that it wasn’t what they wanted, and certainly wasn’t worth it. Be careful.
“Trust not in oppression, and become not vain in robbery: if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” Psalms 62:10 KJV
Well, it’s easier to deal with an occasional temptation than the ones that are staring you in the face every day. Some things just have a bad stain and just won’t go away. No matter how much soap and water you use it’s just there. You scrub and scrub, and it dries but the stain is still there and will remain there until you use a stain remover. Sometimes we are aware of the temptation, but fight it with the wrong tools. We need to attack it from the root and weed out the cause to prevent the effect.
It is great to remove ourselves from the temptation if we can, but what if we can’t? We pray, fast, and ask God for the wisdom and knowledge to deal with and overcome this temptation. After all, there is nothing that our God cannot do. Joseph had to deal with the persistent and relentless pursuit of Potiphar’s wife. No matter what, she was determined to have her way either by getting him or destroying his reputation. She pressured him hoping he would give in to her wishes, but the temptation must have been strong but the spirit in Joseph was stronger. So he prevailed. We too should be strong and ask the Holy Spirit to give us the strength to overcome temptation.
The ideal temptation when your back is against the wall
Sometimes we feel cornered with our backs against the wall with no way out. Facing a crisis that might be a result of our own careless actions, or other people’s attempts to get us to do something that we don’t want to do. In both cases, it will take the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit to get us out. The devil always tries to attack when we are at the weakest and lowest points in our lives. He waits, hovers, and sees when we are down, then he hits hard, with crisis after crisis. Back-to-back uppercuts, jabs, straight punches, and below-the-belt hits. That’s his tactic and strategy.
“Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”Mark 14:38 KJV
But we are wise enough to know his plans and should always be aware and ready to counteract him with the solid word of God. Strange things happen. The day you decide to fast, is the day they bring all the sweet donuts to the office or decide to have a company lunch day. The devil always seems to be one step ahead but in reality, he isn’t. You have the power to choose and the will to resist him.
Back to the story of Joseph. Joseph resisted Potiphar’s wife as much as he could, but she was determined to get what she wanted. She set the stage and waited for her prey, watching and waiting for the right time to pounce on him.
“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.” “And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out.”Genesis 39:11-12 KJV
The opportunity to sin might be present, available, and waiting for you to give in, but you should ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace to resist and flee from all sin. In difficult situations, we shouldn’t blame God but instead, choose wisely in accordance with God’s word.
No man is an island, therefore no man should stand alone. We all need encouragement and there is definitely safety in numbers. Satan wants us to isolate ourselves from others and walk alone so he can have his way with us. If you walk alone and fall down, who will lift you up? We all need a helping hand, and words of wisdom and encouragement to build us up when we are weak and unsteady in our faith.
Temptation seems to be around more when we are on our own, or at the lowest point in our lives. If you are facing temptation that you are having a hard time fighting then reach out to someone. Don’t fight this temptation alone. Talk to a trusted friend, pastor, or counselor. Find others that will help share your load. Trust in the Lord your God and know that he is more than able to see you through.
Prayer to deal with temptation
Father, I come to you in Jesus’ name. Lord, I acknowledge that I am weak and frail and prone to temptation and sin. Please give me the grace to be strong and grant me the will to overcome all the temptations that I face. Lord your grace is enough for me. Please guide my steps daily and lead me not into temptation but help me to walk in holiness and righteousness before you all my days. Thank you father for your strength that gives me victory over every temptation. In Jesus’ name. I pray. Amen.