Check out what happens in Genesis 39:11-12:
One day he went into the house to attend his duties, and none of the household servants was in side. 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.
The “he” in this story is Joseph, who at the time was a slave in the house of Potiphar. The “she “is Potiphar’s wife who is seeking to seduce Joseph. Scandalous, I know. While the plot line is interesting (sounds like a soap opera to me), it’s not the best part of this story. I am most intrigued by Joseph’s reaction when faced with the temptation to sin.
But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house (vs. 12).
Potiphar’s wife’s proposal was probably tempting. When Joseph heard it, he didn’t stick around to consider the matter. He didn’t flirt. He didn’t kiss. He didn’t dabble. He ran in the opposite direction.
I wonder how often you approach sin in this way. When temptation arises do you make a habit of running in the opposite direction or do you see how close you can get to the flames without getting burned?
1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”
1 Corinthians 10:14 says, “Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”
In 1 Timothy 6:10-11 we read, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
Notice the trend?
When we are faced with the temptation to sin, the Bible gives us clear instructions—flee! Run. Bolt. Retreat. Skip. Scram. Skedaddle. Get the heck out of Dodge!
It seems to me that we rarely approach sin in this way. As Christians, many of us (myself included) see how close we can get to the sin without actually crossing the line. I see this way of thinking often on the blog. Girls ask me questions like “What is flirting, exactly?” or “When it comes to clothes, how hot is too hot?” or “In my relationship with my boyfriend, how far is too far?”
I think we’d all be a lot better off if we ran in the opposite direction instead of trying to determine exactly where we cross the line.
I don’t want to be legalistic here. I’m just saying, when it comes to sin, it is better to flee than to push the envelope.
Joseph’s choice to flee landed him in jail (vs.20). Avoiding sin may cost you. It is rarely easy to swim up stream in this way, but the rewards of avoiding sin’s snares are worth it. Next time sin tries to grab you by the cloak, follow Joseph’s lead and run.
Are there areas of your life where you are dabbling with sin? What are some areas where you need to run in the opposite direction?