In times when our senses are bombarded with alluring opportunities, how does a man or woman hold the line? What's the secret to avoiding moral compromise?
Those are honest questions that deserve credible answers. Here's a life story recorded in Genesis chapter 39. The young leader Joseph was on a trajectory toward fame and fortune. That is until his boss's wife sabotaged his character.
In the process, we learn timeless lessons about the integrity of moral purity. God is the secret of Joseph's success. And punctuated through the chapter and later, you read again and again, God was with him. God's hand was on him. God was there.
He saw him. He protected him. At the same time, Joseph worked diligently. And the success he experienced, he earned the hard way.
He worked for it. We read, Joseph was a very handsome and well-built young man. For it is that which attracts the eye of Potiphar's lustful wife. And she began to make her moves toward him in no uncertain terms.
She sees him attractive, handsome, quite a catch. And she says to him, come lie with me. Joseph refused. Verse 8, look, he said, my master trusts me with everything in his entire household. No one here has more authority than I do. He has held back nothing from me except you because you're his wife.
How could I do such a wicked thing? It would be a great sin against God. Joseph stared her down with admirable discipline. And in no uncertain terms, he communicated his healthy and awesome fear of God.
In a word, no. Verse 10, she kept putting pressure on Joseph day after day. But he refused to sleep with her. Day and night, he stays at it. She stays at it. And Joseph continues to refuse. Finally, the setting is such that she sees it's the perfect moment.
It begins with a rather innocuous, one day, verse 11, one day, no one else was around when he went in to do his work. He has work on his mind. She doesn't. And she's there. She came and grabbed him.
Now there's a little change in the scene. She's now desperate for him. She's determined. And she demands, come on, sleep with me. Many a man would have been flattered. She's older, no doubt gorgeous.
She's available for sure. She saw it as their little secret. He saw it as this wicked act. But now he argues with her no more. We read that Joseph tore himself away from her and left his cloak in her hand as he ran from the house.
Now you're talking exactly what God says to do. The balance of the story is shocking. When she saw that she was holding his cloak in her hand, he had fled. He called out to her servants. Soon all the men came running and she said, my husband has brought this Hebrew slave here.
There's anti-Semitism in those words. This Hebrew slave. He's brought this Hebrew slave here to make fools of us. He came into my room and tried to rape me. I screamed. When he heard me scream, he ran. And he got away. But he left his cloak behind with me. She kept the cloak with her until her husband came home.
And when she told him her story, she says it again, that Hebrew slave you brought into our house tried to fool around with me, she said. Here I had the cloak and he was furious. Pause for a moment.
Don't react too quickly. God isn't like a man. He is our almighty, holy, magnificent Heavenly Father.
Who always has the long view in mind in our lives. He has great plans for Joseph, some of which will only be learned through unfair treatment. Oh, he has other hurdles to clear.
In the days ahead. He'll learn them only in this prison. Forgotten by fellow prison mates who get out, even though they promised to remember him, they leave him. God does not forget him. His ways are not our ways, neither are his plans like our plans. As the heavens are high above the earth, so are God's ways higher than our ways and his thoughts greater than our thoughts. For the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God, how unsearchable are his judgments, how unfathomable his ways. Oh, I would have rewarded Joseph instantly. I would have built him his own house. Not God.
This has application I'll get to in a moment. I find four must nots when I apply this story to our lives today. All four tie in with our world in this 21st century. First, we must not be weakened by our situation. We must not be weakened by our situation.
As you remember, Joseph had it made. You may also. You might be making more money than you've ever made in your life. Which means you probably have more privacy than you've ever had before. Which means you have more privileges than you've ever known before. In that upper level position, you've been promoted, you've been trusted. Don't be weakened by your situation.
Handle yourself as though you have not been promoted. As though you are being watched, for you are. The one who made you never takes his eyes off you. In fact, he doesn't even have eyes.
He, being God, sees everything. Here's the second we must not be deceived by others' persuasion. Oh, you will hear it.
I made a quick list. You'll hear this. Said to you in the privacy of the car, who will ever find out our secret? It's between us. But trust me on this, any sin you commit with another will be found out.
Or how about this one? Look, we'll be married soon. Why wait?
I mean, a marriage is three months away. How about, I'm so lonely, surely God understands. After all, and listen to this one, he is a God of grace, isn't he?
Don't cheapen grace by making him responsible for a wicked act. How about this one? No one else can ever meet my deepest needs like you. Or men love this one.
By this you can prove how much you love me. We must not be deceived by others' persuasion. Here's a third. We must not be gentle with our emotions.
Your inner desire will plead for satisfaction. Oh, please. Come on. Joseph said, no.
Not interested. You're married to someone else. He trusts me. If necessary, be rude. Especially when your flesh is screaming for satisfaction. And when is it not? Joseph repeatedly said the right thing and she never backed off.
The great thing about Joseph is he was not gentle with himself. May I suggest a very simple discipline? Make a list of the consequences. Do it this afternoon. Under the light of your kitchen table. Sit there and write them out. Randy Alcorn did that several years ago. It came out in Leadership magazine.
I made a copy and I review it rather regularly. It's a good reminder, keeps me from being gentle with my emotions. Listen to the consequences that Alcorn listed. He says, whenever I feel particularly vulnerable to sexual temptation, I find it helpful to review what effects my actions would have.
Then he lists them. Grieving the Lord who redeemed me. Dragging his sacred name through the mud. Following in the footsteps of those people whose immorality forfeited their ministries and caused me to shudder at the time. Inflicting untold hurt on Nancy, my best friend and loyal wife.
Losing Nancy's respect and trust. Hurting my beloved daughters, Karina and Angie. I like it that he named them. Names are helpful in a list like this. Name your children. Name your grandchildren.
Name your life's partner. He goes on, destroying my example and credibility with my children and nullifying present and future efforts to teach them to obey God. Losing self-respect, creating guilt that's awfully hard to shake. Wasting years of ministry training for a long time, maybe forever. Undermining the faithful example and hard work of other Christians. Bringing great pleasure to Satan, the enemy of God.
Possibly bearing the physical consequences of such diseases as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, and AIDS. Perhaps infecting Nancy or, in the case of AIDS, even causing her death. Possibly causing a pregnancy with personal and financial implications, including a lifelong reminder of my sin. Bringing shame and hurt to fellow pastors, fellow elders, congregational members, and those I have led to Christ.
Invoking shame and lifelong embarrassment upon myself. Surely the act at that moment is not worth all that. Surely not.
And we all agree, sitting here together, the only place in our whole week where we're in the majority, under bright lights, where the Word of God is opened on your lap and on my desk, we're allowing it to speak, listen to it, heed it, remember it when you're alone. Or with that one other person who has never heard such things and wants your body. Get tough on your emotions.
Practice no. Here's the fourth and final. We must not be confused by immediate results. With Joseph, there wasn't reward. There was a false accusation, rape. There was a lie.
He did this when he didn't. There was an imprisonment which wasn't deserved. If the predator in your life is your boss and you turn him or her down, you can be fired. There's a price to pay for sustaining your virginity. You may be committed to a life of moral purity and you're a member of a military organization and you're living in the barracks where no one else is committed to such a life. You'll be ridiculed. You're on a team and you're the only team member that's not having sex on the side. You're the cheerleader.
You're the only cheerleader that's not playing around. There's a price you're going to pay. You're going to be made to look foolish.
Don't, don't, please, don't be confused by that. That's the way the world operates. Furthermore, your commitment only increases their guilt and they can't stand that in you. Because following their fall, there is regret and they hate it that you do not know such things.
Mistreatment, mockery, whatever. May I remind you is a great conclusion of this marvelous story of verse 21. Look at it with me. The warden that's in the prison. Oh, that's verse 23.
Excuse me. Verse 21. But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. The Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden.
Even there, he gave him success. God honors it when you stand for him. God is so pleased when your life measures up and you walk with him through it.
I close for I mentioned something I mentioned earlier. You may not have done this. As you hear this, it may be hard to listen to because it doesn't describe the way you've lived your life. The marvelous story of Christianity and the Lord Jesus Christ is his magnificent willingness to forgive us. He forgives us over and over and over again. In fact, if you've never come to the cross for salvation, you know what? When you come to him, all your sins are washed away. Washed away. Taken.
As far as East is from West, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. This is a great moment for you to determine your life from here on. I repeat the old statement I've said before, it's never too late to start doing what is right. Start today. Start today. There's no shame in that.
There's everything great about it. The shame is behind you. Now the joy and the hope is in front of you. You take this before the Lord, lay before him your life and lifestyle. Tell him you desire to live like Joseph.
If he could do it, 20 something, handsome, single man, you can do it. There's power in the word. No. I urge you to use it often. May we bow together, please? Rather than moving about, just sit there. Sit there and think.
The only one in this room or the only one listening to me right now who has no hope in this for victory is the one without Christ. Just believe me before you try real hard, you're not going to be able to resist on your own. You need divine power. You need strength from above. You need Christ's life at work within you. You need him to speak through your mouth and to dictate to your heart your response to temptation. Without Christ at work in your life, you're sunk.
It's only a matter of time before you'll fall again. But as you trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, there's a power that is immediately available that never leaves you. And as he goes to work in your life, it's remarkable the changes he can bring. So I urge you to turn to him now, if you've never before trusted in Christ. By taking a gift, with the gift come all the benefits.
Rejecting a gift leaves you exactly where you've been all your life, without hope. How wonderful to be able to say following this meeting, blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. What a foretaste of glory divine. Blessed assurance.
Thank you, Lord God, for hope that you give us. For the forgiveness of grace, for the joy of living above the drag of our old nature. For a clear conscience.
For knowing that today can be the beginning of the rest of our lives. And a whole new walk in moral purity. Make us people of integrity beginning today. And without Christ, bring them to yourself, dear Father, by the power of your Spirit. In Jesus' name we pray.
Everyone said, Amen. In today's program, it's become quite evident that forces of evil are presenting all kinds of insidious temptations. And those who truly want to become people of integrity need to take heed. Along those lines, let me recommend a book Chuck has written. It's called Joseph, a Man of Integrity and Forgiveness. Chuck believes that if we fail to execute a plan, the great saboteur, the devil, will undermine our integrity. Well, this book will equip you with tools to maintain a life of integrity. Again, the title is Joseph, a Man of Integrity and Forgiveness. And it's available for purchase by going to insight.org slash offer.
Or call us if you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. It's possible you've been following Chuck's teaching for several decades. In the early days, perhaps you had little financial margin because of the demands of rearing a young family. During that season, it was the generous giving of others that made it possible for you to hear Chuck's teaching.
Today, you're likely in a stronger position. Well, let me encourage you to step forward and become one of our monthly companions. Right now is the perfect time to start a new discipline of generosity. By giving a monthly donation in the amount of your choice, you can do for someone else what others did for you in the early days. Becoming a monthly companion means you'll have a ministry all your own, touching lives through your monthly giving.
Here's the number to call us if you're listening in the United States, dial 1-800-772-8888. You can also sign up online at insight.org slash monthly companion. Those who support Insight for Living with a monthly gift truly have a ministry all their own. God's amazing grace is our overarching theme every day on Insight for Living. In fact, it's quite possible that God has used our daily program to extend His grace to you. And I know as your Bible teacher, I have been a grace recipient as well. Our monthly companions are first recipients of God's grace. But when you begin to give monthly, God is deploying you as a courier of His grace. Today, we're inviting you to join the team. Please jot down our contact information and follow the Lord's prompting. When you do that, you'll become an elegant bouquet, a sweet fragrance of God's grace here at home and all around the world.
Do for some unsuspecting person what someone once did for you. Become a monthly companion. If you're listening in the United States, call 1-800-772-8888 or go online to insight.org slash monthly companion.
I'm Dave Spiker. Join us when Chuck Swindoll describes the integrity of a wise wife, Friday on Insight for Living. The preceding message, The Integrity of Moral Purity, was copyrighted in 2021 and 2022, and the sound recording was copyrighted in 2022 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights are reserved worldwide. Duplication of copyrighted material for commercial use is strictly prohibited.
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