The First Desperate Housewife
"And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, 'Lie with me.'" Genesis 39:7 (KJV)
I admit it. I used to be a soap opera fan when I was a teenager. Lured by the romance and drama, I assumed real life as an adult would play out in the same fashion. Boy was I wrong! While there's plenty of drama in my life, romance is something that has to be scheduled most of the time.
Real life isn't like what we see on TV or read about in romance novels. In fact, these images can be dangerous to both single and married people alike. When our ideas about life leave us dissatisfied, we can easily be tempted to look at other options. Soap operas, pornography and romance novels encourage risky behavior that can lead to sin.
Often married people convince themselves that just looking or dreaming about being with someone other than their spouse is okay as long as they don't actually do anything about it. Likewise, some single people feel that they can lust after another as long as they remain "physically pure." Jesus said, "'But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.'" (Matthew 5:28, NIV) That goes for us gals, too.
I imagine Potiphar's wife, referenced in today's key verse, could be described as the "first desperate housewife." She didn't have TV to watch or a romance novel to read. She had something in real life to fill her eyes and mind: Joseph. He was the head workman in charge who conveniently lived in her home and was pleasing to her sight. Unknown to Joseph, he was about to become the prey of a desperate housewife.
This Egyptian woman didn't happen to just notice Joseph one day and then on the spur of the moment, ask Joseph to lie down with her. No. Our key verse tells us she "cast her eyes upon Joseph." In other words, she watched him with her eyes which led to sinful thoughts which gave way to action. With the lust in her heart, she was daring and shameless in her sin.
How do we keep from falling into such sin? Perhaps we should follow Job's example. "'I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a girl [or boy]'" (Job 31:1, NIV 1984). We too have a great need and responsibility to make a covenant with our eyes to not look at others with lust. Remember that children's song often sang in Sunday school, "Be careful little eyes what you see? Oh, be careful little eyes what you see. For the Father up above is looking down in love. Oh, be careful little eyes what you see."
We can protect our eyes by choosing not to watch movies, pornography or TV shows that glamorize sexuality and lead us into temptation. If we're married, we can ask our husband to make a covenant with us and pray for each other asking God to protect us from looking at others. And it'd be good to remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side. I guarantee that guy doesn't clip his toe nails regularly either.
I realize we are human and make mistakes. No one is perfect this side of heaven. That's why it's so important to be watchful. Another way to safe guard ourselves is to commit to taking hold of any lustful thoughts and quickly cast them out of our minds. Temptation is not a sin. It's when we dwell on the temptation that we are led to sinful actions. Let's not be like Potiphar's wife. Instead, let's ask God to give us pure "eyes" set on Him and if we're married, set on the spouse we have.
Dear Lord, forgive me for where I have fallen short. I commit to You today to take every lustful thought captive so that it doesn't lead me into sin. May all my thoughts be pleasing to You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you are having trouble in this area, find a trustworthy accountability partner who you can share honestly with about your struggles. Agree to hold each other accountable to God's truths and to pray for one another. When these thoughts enter your mind, turn to God's Word, prayer and your accountability partner.
In what ways can I protect my eyes from lustful images?
Practice thinking on what is true, right and pure.
Am I addicted to soap operas or romance novels? If so, what steps will I take today to move away from this stronghold in my life?
2 Corinthians 10:5, "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." (NIV)
Philippians 4:8, "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirableâ€“if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." (NIV 1984)