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Archive for Temptation

Barna Group has released its newest research on Temptation and America’s Favorite Sins. The article is self explanatory and well worth the read.

Categories : Barna Group, Temptation
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How to Handle Temptation (part 3)

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Even though Joseph did the right thing he ended up in prison. According to Psalm 105:18, he suffered greatly during his incarceration. Alone in jail, Joseph continued to cling to the promises of God with a pure conscience and his integrity intact. Let me offer a few final thoughts about how we can handle temptation.

1. Establish clear boundaries for your life.
One of the reasons we find ourselves in compromising situations is that we don’t have clearly defined limits and safe guards in place. You can’t protect yourself from temptation 100% of the time, but you can drastically reduce the severity of temptation by setting boundaries and sticking to them.

2. Don’t be easy on your passions.
Be a student of yourself and above all be honest with yourself about the cracks and fault lines in your life. If you are a student of yourself and can appropriately identify the weak spots, you can work on those areas and shore them up. Unfortunately we live in a culture that values image projection over character development. Working on your character is a daily discipline you can ill afford to neglect. I Corinthians 10:12 says, “Therefore, whoever thinks he stands needs to be careful not to fall!”
3. Fill your life with the righteousness of God.
In the parable of the mustard seed, Jesus taught that the mustard seed grows into a tree where the birds come and make nests in the branches. The point of the parable is not that little things get big. The point is that the Kingdom of God overtakes and crowds all other competing affections. When you fill your life with God, God will begin to crowd all of the competing desires and affections out so that their allure is drastically diminished.

If you will establish clear boundaries for your life, become real about your passions, and fill your life with the righteousness of God, you’ll find that you’ve taken some giant steps in your battle against temptation.

Categories : Genesis, Joseph, Temptation
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How to Handle Temptation (part 2)

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Temptation came to Joseph at a time in his life when he was vulnerable. The temptation appealed to his natural desires. He was far away from home where his accountability would have been higher. His family background failed to provide a positive model. It came after a big promotion when he would have been relaxed. It was constant. As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we can take several steps toward overcoming temptation by simply recognizing the circumstances that make us vulnerable.

Though Joseph was vulnerable he stood firm. The story from Genesis 39 tells us how Joseph resisted this temptation. These points are invaluable, especially if you’re facing chronic or habitual sin patterns in your life.

First, Joseph got his mind right (Genesis 39:8-90). He confronted Potipher’s wife with the following rationale for his refusal:
• Your husband trusts me, and my integrity and character is of utmost importance.
• You are married and you belong to your husband. You are off limits! (It’s fascinating that Joseph had a sense that adultery was wrong…especially given the fact that this event occurred 400 years prior to Moses and the Ten Commandments!)
• God sees me! God was so real to Joseph that he knew that God was fully aware of every step he took.

While those arguments were well thought out and delivered, Potipher’s wife just doesn’t get it. She continued to pursue him. So Joseph did some practical things to resist her overtures (Genesis 39:10-12). He ignored her, refusing to acknowledge her continual requests, and he avoided being in her presence as much as possible.

Finally, Joseph had an escape strategy (Genesis 39:13). He could avoid her most of the time, but what would he do when backed into a corner? That’s right, he ran into the streets, leaving his coat behind. When all else failed, Joseph physically removed himself from the temptation. By the way, that was Paul’s advice to young Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:22: run!

I Corinthians 10:13 says, “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so you can endure” (NLT).

Do you need a plan to counter attack temptation? Do you have a plan? Joseph’s plan is a good template. Feel free to borrow it and make it your own. That’s why it’s in the Bible.

Categories : Genesis, Joseph, Temptation
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How to Handle Temptation (part 1)

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Joseph was ambushed by his brothers and sold to slave traders, proving that sometimes mayhem is unavoidable. Though we can’t control adversity, we can do something about our response. Which brings me to the next section of Joseph’s life, found in Genesis 39:1-20. Joseph arrived in Egypt and was sold to the highest bidder, who happened to be a man named Potipher. Potipher was the chief of the executioners in Pharaoh’s cabinet. We might think of him as a modern equivalent to the Director of the FBI or the CIA. Joseph would live as a slave in his house for nearly 10 years.

Because Joseph was a man of destiny, God blessed him and all that he did. His success gained Potipher’s attention and he was promoted to serve as the chief administrator of Potipher’s household. Enter mayhem. Joseph was well built and handsome. There are only two others in the Bible who are designated “handsome.” Before you know it, Potipher’s wife began making sexual advances toward him. When I pause and think about it, its quite remarkable that Joseph didn’t give in. Think about it…
…The temptation would have been natural. Joseph was a single guy who has been approached by (what I assume) is a beautiful woman. After all, powerful men tend to have pretty wives.
…Joseph was away from home. You know the phrase “what happens in Egypt stays in Egypt!” There’s something about being away from home that makes temptation strong.
…Joseph’s family would not have provided a clear, positive example. He had grown up without a healthy model of relationships between men and women.
…The temptation came after a big promotion when it would have been easy for Joseph to relax and let down his guard.
…The temptation was continual. She pressed him frequently.

The apostle Paul reminded the Corinthian church to not be “taken advantage of by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his intentions” (2 Corinthians 2:11, HCSB). Joseph’s experience in Potipher’s house warns us that we will face temptation. It’s real. But it’s easier to deal with temptation when you are aware of how temptation comes and when you are most vulnerable. Tomorrow I’ll post more from this story and deal specifically with how Joseph resisted temptation.

Where are you vulnerable to temptation?

Categories : Genesis, Joseph, Temptation
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