WINNING YOUR BATTLE WITH TEMPTATION
Intro: One day a father said to his son, "Now, son, don't swim in that canal."
"OK, Dad," he answered. But he came home carrying a wet bathing suit that
evening. "Where have you been?" demanded the father. "Swimming in the
canal," answered the boy. "Didn't I tell you not to swim there?" asked the
father. "Yes, Sir," answered the boy. "Why did you?" he asked. "Well,
Dad," he explained, "I had my bathing suit with me and I couldn't resist the
temptation." "Why did you take your bathing suit with you?" he questioned.
"So I'd be prepared to swim, in case I was tempted," he replied.
Many people I’ve their lives just like that. They expect to sin and so they
live their lives in such a manner that they actually excite sin and make it
easier for them to fall. Whenever we play with temptation, it is easy to drift
into great danger. A woman was bathing in the Gulf of Mexico. She was
enjoying the comfort of relaxing on an inflated cushion that kept her afloat.
When she realized that she had been swept about a half mile out from the
beach, she began to scream, but no one heard her. A coast guard craft
found her five miles from the place where she first entered the water. She
did not see her danger until she was beyond her own strength and ability.
The remedy for this is found in Romans 13:14, "But put ye on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts
thereof." Our text today speaks about a young man who faced a fearful
time of temptation. Instead of falling, like so many do, Joseph weathered
the storm of temptation and won a great victory in his spiritual life. He
stayed clean in a situation where many others would have fallen.
Now, the fact is, every person in this room faces temptation in one form
or another. And, the fact is, most of us want to live clean lives. We want to
please the Lord. We want to win over sin! To do this, we need to know how
to win the war over temptation. This passage gives us some insights into
just how to do this. Today, I would like for us to look into the experiences of
young Joseph. I want to preach on this thought: Winning Your Battle With
I. V. 1-6 THE TESTIMONY JOSEPH EXHIBITED
A. V. 2a He Had A Personal Testimony - The Bible is very clear that
Joseph had a personal relationship with God. He knew the Lord and
was walking with God by faith. (Note: This is the starting point for
true spirituality and personal holiness. When an individual has a
personal, faith relationship with God, they have the potential to live
for Him and to live like Him. That is why it is so important for each
of us to search our hearts to be sure we are in a personal, faith
relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, 2 Pet. 1:10; 2 Cor.
B. V. 3 He Had A Powerful Testimony - Joseph’s faith was not just
lived out in his heart, but it was lived out before everyone around
him. Everyone could see that something was different about the life
1. Men Saw God In His Walk - The way Joseph lived among the
Egyptians marked him as different. Those around him saw the
difference. Can men see the difference in us? They should be
able to, Matt. 5:13!
2. Men Saw God In His Work - Joseph had the Midas touch! The
Lord blessed Joseph and all he did. When our walk with the
Lord is as it should be, men will see the hand of the Lord and His
activity on our lives, Pro. 16:7.
C. V. 4-6 He Had A Prosperous Testimony - As Joseph walked with
his Lord and worked for Potiphar, the Lord continued to bless him
and use him for His glory. The Lord made it clear to all who were
looking that He was blessing and using Joseph in a great way.
(Note: Here was a young man who had his priorities in the right order.
He loved his God and he walked with Him faithfully. While this is the
right way for everyone to live, we also need to understand that this
makes you a prime target for attack. The devil likes nothing better than
to defeat, destroy and devastate real men and women of God, 1 Pet.
5:8! He isn’t too concerned about those who are merely nominal
Christians, and who don’t live the life. He isn’t concerned about those
who talk about Jesus but who don’t live like Him! He is after those who
run hard after God. He wants those who want to live holy lives. He
wants those who are in the fight! He wants you! A life lived for Jesus
is a life that will be attacked, 2 Tim. 3:12.)
II. V. 7-19 THE TEMPTATION JOSEPH ENDURED
A. The Character Of The Temptation - Despite Joseph’s walk with the
Lord and holy lifestyle, temptation still stalked him. These verses
have much to teach us about how temptation can come to us as
1. V. 7 It Was Subtle - Potiphar’s wife began her temptation of
Joseph by first “casting her eyes” upon him. He was a
handsome young man, v. 6. This proved to be his Achilles Heal.
(Note: When temptation comes into your life or mine, it will
seldom appear as a full blown invitation to sin. Most of us would
quickly see through that and would avoid it altogether. The
Tempter is far more subtle than that! He will attack us is small
ways that, on the surface, might not appear evil. I mean a
teenage boy might have been flattered to know that he had
caught the eye of a sophisticated, beautiful Egyptian woman.
Temptation is almost always subtle in the beginning, but if it is
not stopped at that point, it will quickly escalate into outright sin!
(Ill. The temptation of Jesus, Matt. 4:4-11. At first, Satan
tempted Jesus to do things that, on the surface, didn’t appear to
be evil.) (Note: Beware of the subtlety of temptation and sin. If
evil is tolerated, to any degree, it won’t b e long before you are
in over your head! A woman was bathing in the Gulf of Mexico.
She was enjoying the comfort of relaxing on an inflated cushion
that kept her afloat. When she realized that she had been swept
about a half mile out from the beach, she began to scream, but
no one heard her. A coast guard craft found her five miles from
the place where she first entered the water. She did not see her
danger until she was beyond her own strength and ability. That
is what the flesh and the devil want to do to you!)
2. V. 7 It Was Shocking - Potiphar’s wife came right out and
propositioned Joseph! This was a blatant offer of sexual sin!
(Note: Joseph wasn’t the only one being tempted, but he was
the only one fighting temptation. It is interesting to see how
temptation worked in the heart of this woman. First, she looked
at Joseph in a way that was inappropriate for a married woman,
then she fed the fantasies in her mind until they became
realities! That is why sin must not be tolerated, even within the
thoughts of the mind! They may begin there, but they will grow
until they become reality! The very thoughts of the mind must be
brought under the control of the Lord, 2 Cor. 10:5. Satan knows
that outward sin begins within man’s heart, Matt. 15:19, James
1:14-15. He knows that if he can get our minds to dwell on evil,
it is but a short step to get us to live out that evil!) The whole
point here is that if the devil can get our minds to accept the
subtle temptation, we will cave in when he comes against us with
the full frontal assault!
3. V. 10 It Was Sustained - She offered herself to Joseph every
single day! She is a woman completely consumed by her lust for
this young man. His refusals did nothing more than make him
more desirable to her. (Note: Joseph was a typical teenage boy.
He had the same desires that inhabit all teenage boys. It must
have been a difficult time in his life as this beautiful, older woman
repeatedly offered herself to him! Yet, he remained firm in his
resolve to be faithful to his Lord.) (Note: What we need to learn
here is that temptation is not going to go away! Neither age nor
time will make temptations vanish. As long as we are in these
bodies, we are going to be tempted to sin against our Lord.
Satan knows our weaknesses and he exploits them. He will
repeatedly attack us in an area time after time. We can resist,
yet he still attacks us. When the temptation subsides, we tend
to let our guard down, and here it will come again! Temptation
is a relentless force that we will battle for the duration of our
lives! That is why we must never let our guard down and we can
never think we have our sins conquered! Sin and temptation are
always waiting to attack us and to overcome us, Gen. 4:7.)
4. V. 11-16 It Was Strategic - Whether this woman set this up or
not we do not know, but there came a day when no one was in
the house but Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. She saw the
opportunity to fulfill the fantasy in her mind and she made her
move. (Note: This is how temptation works! It will entrench
itself within our minds so deeply that it becomes the center of our
thoughts. It relentlessly pressures the mind to act on the desire.
Then, when it sees an opportunity, it pushes us to bring our
thoughts to life! You can see this progression in the temptation
and fall of King David - 2 Sam. 11:1-4. He saw her. She filled
his thoughts. He took her into his heart and then into his arms!)
(Note: The pages of the Bible are filled with many examples of
temptation: Eve, Adam, Cain, Abraham, Lot, Esau, Israel, Peter,
etc. we should never think that we are going to be immune to it!
Temptation hounds us all and it will master you if it isn’t handled
properly. In this area, Joseph sets a great example!)
B. The Character Of The Tempted - By watching Joseph and how he
conducted himself during this attack, we can learn how we too can
stand when temptation stalks us.
1. V. 8 He Met It With A Firm Refusal - When the temptation came
to him, Joseph was ready with a firm, “No!”. The Bible doesn’t
say, but I am almost sure that Joseph had already settled this
matter within his heart. He had already made the decision of
what to do when temptation came. He had already decided that
he would go with God and stay away from sin! When we allow
our minds to be unprincipled and uncontrolled, we run the risk of
being unprepared for the attacks of sin and Satan. When
temptation comes after you, it is hard to say “No!”, and mean it
in the heat of the moment. But, if the decision has already been
made, it is far easier to stand! That is why you have got to guard
the mind and protect it from all the things that would enter it,
pollute it and weaken your ability to mount a strong defense!
(Note: I want to teach you one word that will help you in this
matter of temptation. It is the word “No!”. Learn it and use it! It
will help you! Spurgeon said it like this: "Learn to say no. It will
be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin." This
was the strategy Daniel and the 3 Hebrews boys adopted in
Babylon and it worked like a charm. It still will!)
2. V. 8-9 He Met It With A Faith-based Refusal - First, Joseph
refused on the grounds that Potiphar had placed Joseph in a
position of power because he trusted him. He refused to violate
that trust. However, at the very foundation of Joseph’s refusal
was his walk with His God. He knew that committing adultery
with this woman might bring pleasure in the short term, but in the
long term, it would mean violating the trust Potiphar had placed
in him and it would cause a breach in his relationship with his
God. And, even if Potiphar never found out, Joseph knew that
God would know and he knew that Joseph would know. For
Joseph, that was a price far too high to pay! His integrity before
men, his walk with God and his ability to look into the mirror
without guilt were worth more to Joseph than a few moments of
physical pleasure! (Note: Before you give in to that temptation
and do that thing that looks so enticing, take a moment to think
about the consequences. What will happen to your testimony in
the eyes of others when they find out? What will happen to your
walk with the Lord? Will you be able to live with yourself?)
(Note: For Joseph, the fear of the Lord was a powerful motivator!
I realize that few people walk with that in their minds in our day.
However, fearing God will keep you out of a lot of trouble! When
you know that you will pay the price of chastisement, of being
shelved and of a loss of fellowship with Him, it is worth saying
“no” to a few temptations along life’s way!)
3. V. 10 He Met It With A Faithful Refusal - Every day this woman
tempted Joseph and every day he steadfastly refused her
advances. He didn’t resort to mind games like, “Well, if the Lord
didn’t want me to do this, He would just take it away from me.”
He just faithfully stood for the Lord and against the evil! (Note:
We need to get this truth: Temptation is going to come and God
is not likely to take it away! He will strengthen us and enable us
to stand against it, but we are going to have to fight it and learn
to take a stand! Not everything that you are offered in life is
good for you. You need the wisdom of God to be able to choose
that which is pleasing to him and to refrain from that which is
not!) (Note: There is something very important to notice in
verse 10. Joseph refused to listen to her words and he even
refused to be with her. He came to the place where he
physically avoided her! This is a great step in avoiding sinning
through temptation. Don’t flirt with it! Don’t try to prove you can
handle it! Never come to the place where you think you have it
whipped! If something is a temptation to you, then avoid it like
the plague! Don’t be foolish enough to think that you can handle
temptation and sin. They will show you short order that they can
handle you, 1 Cor. 10:12.) (Ill. On the TV show "Hee Haw," Doc
Campbell is confronted by a patient who says he broke his arm
in two places. The doc replies, "Well then, stay out of them
4. V. 12 He Met It With A Final Refusal - When the big day came
and this woman allowed her thoughts to find physical expression,
she grabbed Joseph and said “Lie with me!” It was time to
make a decision and he did! He spun out of that robe and ran
out of the house, leaving her holding the garment! Joseph
literally ran away from Potiphar’s wife to preserve his character.
(Note: You cannot have it both ways! You can either give into
sin and pay the price for your pleasure, Prov. 5:11-14. Or, you
can run from temptation and protect your testimony!) (Ill."What
are you doing, son?" the shopkeeper asked a little boy whose
eyes were on a large basket of apples outside the storefront.
"Trying to steal one of those apples?" "No sir," replied the boy.
"I'm trying not to.")
(Note: Before we leave this thought, I want to point out a few facts about
1. Temptation is never from God - James 1:13 - Potiphar’s wife tried
to blame Joseph and Potiphar for her lust, 13-18. Some people
even try to blame God for their sins, but God is not responsible for
the things that tempt you! God tests His children, but He always
sets the test up so that we can pass. Satan tempts us, but always
to make us fail! Temptation is never from God!
2. Temptation is always from within - James 1:14-15 - Temptation
always comes to us based on the things we already want. Just like
a fisherman baits his hook with the proper bait to attract to the kind
of fish he wishes to catch, Satan baits the hook of temptation with
the very worm he knows we will like!
3. Temptation Must Be Handled Properly - 1 Cor. 10:13 - God will make a way out of temptation, but we must be active in finding the
door out! Here are a few suggestions for dealing with temptation:
a. Deal with it Immediately - Don’t allow it to linger in your life and
grow out of control. As Barney Fife would have said it, “Nip it in
the bud!” Get before God and ask for His help!
b. Deal with it Realistically - Understand that sin is more powerful
than you are. It will destroy you if it has an opportunity. Do not
give it that chance! Jesus said this ti His disciples, “Watch and
pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is
willing, but the flesh is weak.”, Matt. 26:41.
c. Deal with it Ruthlessly - Whatever you have to do to avoid the
temptation is in order! Remember what Jesus said about this
matter - Mark 9:43-48. Regardless of what you have to do, get
away from it! (Ill. During the Falkland’s War England’s Prime
Minister, Margaret Thatcher, ordered the bombing of the British
airstrips in Port Stanley to prevent them from being used by the
enemy!) (Ill. Logger with his foot caught in a long wooden
d. Deal with it Consistently - Learn to be consistent in your
resistence. If you aren’t, you will be caught off guard and
overcome! (Ill. The same wind can send one ship east and
another west. Which way the ship goes is determined by the set
of the sails!)
e. Deal with it Confidently - We have the Lord’s great promise in
1 Cor. 10:13. God will make a way of escape, just be sure you
look for it! Most of give into temptation, not because we can’t get
out of it, but because we don’t want out of it!
III. V. 20-23 THE TRIUMPH JOSEPH EXPERIENCED
(Ill. I will be brief here, but I want you to know that Joseph benefitted
from his stand against temptation and sin. Let me point out three ways
in which this is true.)
A. V. 21, 23 He Triumphed In His Relationship With The Savior -
Notice how the Bible says that the Lord continues to be with Joseph
and to bless his life. Those who stay true to the Lord can be
assured of His smile upon them and upon all they do. Those who
stray from the path of righteousness will find themselves alienated
from God and from His blessings in their lives. This is worth far
more than any pleasure sin might offer! (Ill. This was Paul’s fear - 1
B. V. 20-23 He Triumphed In His Relationship With His Own Self -
Joseph’s integrity was intact. His reputation in Potiphar’s house had
been undermined, but his character remained intact! He had
successfully weathered the storm of temptation and he had retained
the ability to look into the mirror without guilt! Friends, that is worth
more than any thing sin can offer you!
C. V. 22-23 He Triumphed In His Relationship With Sovereignty -
It may look like all Joseph got for his refusal of this woman was
trouble. After all, he was thrown into prison. However, because he
stayed true to the Lord, he was still in the center of God’s will for his
life, even though it may not have appeared so on the surface.
Before many years could pass, Joseph would be raised up by the
power of God and would sit as second in command to Pharaoh. The
best you can do is stay close to God, live holy and trust Him to being
His best into your life in His time. Getting God’s best is always worth
more than what sin can give!
Conc: Men who trap animals in Africa for zoos in America say that one of
the hardest animals to catch is the ring-tailed monkey. For the Zulus of that
continent, however, it's simple. They've been catching this agile little animal
with ease for years. The method the Zulus use is based on knowledge of the
animal. Their trap is nothing more than a melon growing on a vine. The
seeds of this melon are a favorite of the monkey. Knowing this, the Zulus
simply cut a hole in the melon, just large enough for the monkey to insert his
hand to reach the seeds inside. The monkey will stick his hand in, grab as
many seeds as he can, then start to withdraw it. This he cannot do. His fist
is now larger than the hole. The monkey will pull and tug, screech and fight
the melon for hours. But he can't get free of the trap unless he gives up the
seeds, which he refuses to do. Meanwhile, the Zulus sneak up and nab him.
Friend, you are smarter than a monkey! Satan wants to trap you and he
wants to destroy your life! Don’t let that happen! If you are save today and
you battle with temptation, know that there is help for you in the Lord. Get
to Him and get away from the evil! If you are lost, don’t let Satan destroy
your life! He will tell you that you don’t need Jesus or the church to make
it to Heaven. Don’t listen to Him! If you need the Lord today, whether it be
for salvation, forgiveness, help to fight temptation or to thank Him for a
victory over sin in your life, get to God right now. Let go of the sin and the
thought of the thrills temptation is promising you and get to God today, while
there is time!