Today we continue in our look at the story of Joseph and the Dirty Jobs he must confront to move forward with God’s plan. Even if you’ve lost battles before with lust, with desire, Joseph reveals the key comes down to…
Attention (Genesis 39:8-12) 8 But he refused. “With me in charge,” he told her, “my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. 9 No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?” 10 And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. 11 One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. 12 She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.Rarely, if ever, has a war been won or lost in only one battle, wars are a series of battles, and skirmishes. What we’ve seen in America’s war fronts is that the richest, best armed, and most abundant army doesn’t always win. The winner is the most focused.
Satan’s approach against us models that which is used against Joseph. Hoping to wear down his resolve, his dedication, misplace his focus to win a war of attrition. We could rip this out of the pages of history and it still plays today. People say, it’s no big deal, “it is just sex, just pornography, it is just a hookup, it is purely physical,” but Joseph realized that the physical world has direct implications on the spiritual world. His behavior towards Potiphar’s wife or with his wife has direct ramification to his relationship with God. Lust drives us to worry only about what someone can do for us, while love demands that we realize the true value someone should have to us. It is exactly what Jesus was getting at when he focused the entire Old Testament law: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength’ and in the same way ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’
Marilyn Monroe articulated the philosophy of the world: “A wise girl kisses but doesn’t love, listens but doesn’t believe and leaves before she is left.” For a lot of people it sounds good, an easy way to just feed the appetites of life—to do what feels good in the moment, but the only problem is it doesn’t meet our true needs in the long-run as Marilyn’s suicide can attest. Drew Anderson from Tucson, AZ shared a more related and comical outcome of his struggles. Maybe you can relate. In Reader’s Digest he explained his story. “While my wife and I were shopping at a mall kiosk, a shapely young woman in a short, form-fitting dress strolled by. My eyes followed her. Without looking up from the item she was examining, my wife asked, “Was it worth the trouble you’re in?”
Attention or attrition–Romans 8:6 lays out two paths: 6 The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. As Robert Frost famously wrote, Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Interestingly, that is what Jesus calls on us, in a world that seems to gravitate towards the flesh, where it is in your face, on the cover of magazines, but we get to decide whether to satisfied by God or sapped by godlessness.