And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” But he refused and said to
his master’s wife […] “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:7-9)
Genesis 39 tells us that Joseph was not only successful in his work, but also “handsome in form and appearance”. For his master’s wife, this was reason enough to ask him day after day to lie with her. That must have been a serious temptation for a young, lonely man! But Joseph did not give in.
Joseph was fully aware that sleeping with this woman would not only be wicked towards his master who fully trusted him, but would also be a sin against God. And that was very important to Joseph, since he loved and feared the Lord above anything else.
If we want to stand firm against temptation, we need to keep our long term “goals” in mind. We need to remind ourselves of things greater than momentary pleasure or benefit. If we really love God, we will long to honor Him with our lives, to be holy, and to obey his commandments. That is what prevented Joseph from sinning.
This greater perspective is essential for us as well, if we are to persevere in the midst of temptation and suffering. “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
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