We read about Joseph in the Bible – he was a very special young man. An answer to his mother’s prayers. His father’s favourite son. Dreamer of prophetic dreams. He lost it all when his brothers sold him as a slave into Egypt, but ended up as second in command to the ruler of Egypt. What was so special about this young man?
We can read the story in Genesis. The story of how Joseph, most beloved son of his father, Jacob, was sold as a slave by his jealous brothers. How he was bought in Egypt by Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh (the ruler of Egypt). Potiphar liked him and made him manager of his household and all that he had.
Then Potiphar’s wife tried to tempt him to sin sexually with her. What a situation for Joseph to find himself in! No good could come of this, no matter what he did. But he had a pure and good attitude of mind. For him there was no question of giving in to her. “How can I do such an evil thing? It is a sin against God,” he said in Genesis 39:9 (NCV). It didn’t matter to him what the result of his saying No to her might be. Nothing could make him sin against his God.
The great evil of sin
What is your attitude when you are tempted? Do you maybe think of giving in to sin? Do you think about the advantages and disadvantages of giving in and do you worry about the results? Or do you have the same Godly fear that Joseph had? Would you refuse to sin against your God, no matter what the outcome is?
We have to realise how serious it is to sin. If you really understood how God feels about sin – how much He hates it – then you wouldn’t even think of giving in to sin. God is holy through and through, and He wants everything in His creation to be holy too. Sin destroys everything. Before sin came into the world, there was peace between God and people. But sin separates people from God (Isaiah 59:2). God loves the people whom He created and wants to bless them, but He cannot do that when sin comes in between.
Yes, He is a loving God, and there is forgiveness for sin, but think how much more joy you can bring to Him when you have that same firm attitude of mind that Joseph had: “How can I do such an evil thing?”
To choose to sin when you know better is not a small thing! You must be obedient to that inner voice that tells you not to do something. That voice speaks to your heart and tells you when something is outside of God’s will. It can be something “big”, like adultery as Joseph was tempted to, or something that seems small and harmless – a small lie, for example. To God, sin is sin, and He hates it all, because it means that you have chosen to do your own will and live for yourself and not for Him.
The result of choosing not to sin
But those who fear God and choose not to sin will experience that it is totally worth it. It’s not easy to say No to sin. It costs something. But what is the result? “These little troubles are getting us ready for an eternal glory that will make all our troubles seem like nothing.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 (CEV).
Even though he was thrown into prison, Joseph got more and more power there as well. God gave him the gift of interpreting dreams, and because of that he became a great help to Pharaoh. He became second in command of all of Egypt! And on top of all that, he also got his father and family back. This didn’t happen by chance. God looks after people like Joseph - those who fear Him and don’t give in to sin. When you say No to what you know is wrong, and choose to be well-pleasing to God instead, then God will also bless you, just like He did with Joseph (Galatians 6:9).
Joseph feared God and chose not to sin
The decisions you make show what your attitude of mind is. Decide today that you will not do evil and sin against your God! You can pray to God that He can teach you to hate sin the way He does. Then do what you have decided. God helps those whose hearts are loyal to Him. We can read that in 2 Chronicles 16:9 (NLT): “The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” You will find that you get peace and joy when you choose to do the good (Romans 2:6-7).
Joseph feared God and chose to hate sin. This meant that his life was blessed by God. It can be the same for you! It’s something you have to decide yourself. Decide to rather die than sin, and it will go well for you. God will see to that!