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Fighting Temptation

Joseph is one of my favorite biblical personalities. His life took an unexpected turn when, as a teenager, he was sold as a slave by his own brothers (Genesis 37:25-28). While I cannot relate to that specific experience, I do know what it feels like to be hurt by those close to you. What about you? How did you handle it?

At a time when Joseph had every reason to give up on God, let go of faith, and dismiss all hope, he chose a path of greater worth. Joseph found fortune in misfortune. I agree with what you may be thinking: there's nothing fortunate about being a slave. Yet Joseph, confused as he must have been by his unsolicited servile status, discerned a silver lining in the cloud of despair.

Although he was subject to resting in slave quarters, wearing slave attire, working through slave conditions, and reporting to a slave master, Joseph knew that the Lord was with him (Genesis 39:2). The presence of the Lord was Joseph's fortune in an unfortunate reality. He chose to be a steward of this incomparable treasure by practicing faithfulness even in obscurity. The work he was tasked to fulfill would not be met with applause, praise, or notoriety. Yet, Joseph was conscious of an Unseen Audience, and he sought to prove faithful for His glory.

Potiphar, Joseph's owner, noticed the distinctive quality of his work as well as his trustworthy character. He saw in Joseph a fruitful investment and made him chief operating officer of his entire estate. Just as he had done as an over-looked slave, so Joseph did as a gifted administrator. He proved faithful.

Faithfulness is magnetic. It has a certain drawing power that, when surrendered to God's Spirit, can attract many to the God we serve. However, not everyone gravitates toward the faithful with positive intentions. Joseph learned this when his master's wife approached him with seductive entreaties. In no uncertain expressions, Mrs. Potiphar sought to exercise her own magnetic power. It was during the time when Joseph was in a position of trust that temptation came knocking.

Temptation is often indiscriminate in form and unbiased in its appeal. It shows up in the form of alcohol bottles, cigarette boxes, and flatscreen televisions. It has a multi-octave range. Sometimes its voice is deep, while at other times its voice is sweet, soft, and sensual. This was the voice Joseph heard, but it did not overpower another Voice.

Joseph lived his life in tune to the frequency of heaven. This crystal clear connection enabled him to overcome temptation by filtering the fluff. Joseph was enabled to filter Mrs. Potiphar's polluted advances and find the toxic hook disguised by her words. He saw this invitation to temporary gratification as a direct threat to his connection with God.

Is anyone interrupting your relationship with God? I encourage you to follow Joseph's example by filtering their actions, words, and invitations. Purpose each day to pursue heaven's smile through faithfulness. Make God's approval your primary goal. You, like Joseph, can learn the value of living faithfully when no one is looking, and the same God who empowered Joseph to withstand temptation will also strengthen you.

Devotional Reading: Genesis 39:1-12

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