Saturday, January 31, 2009

Yield Not to Temptation

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. I Thess 5:21-22

I like this hymn's directive: look to Jesus when we are faced with temptation. Paul reminds us that we are to keep our eyes on Jesus; it is surely the best way to fight off the lure of earthly things we should not be involved in.

Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. Colossians 3:1-2

When we are faced with temptation, we must ask the Savior to help us. He wants us to call on Him, and He has promised to uphold us, strengthen us, protect us and provide a way out from our temptation and trials.

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. II Thess. 3:3

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. I Corinthians 10:13

In addition to looking to Jesus, we must stay alert and guard our flesh from the devil and his wiles.

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
I Peter 5:8

Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matt 26:41

When we are victorious in not yielding to temptation, each experience will strengthen us for the next trial or temptation. We know that we will face temptations every day, even every hour! As sinful people living in a fallen world, we can be guaranteed that temptations will cross our path constantly - especially when they are the temptations in our own hearts and minds to sin! But when we subdue our passions and look to Jesus and do as He has commanded, He will carry us through and renew our strength.

A great example of this is Joseph, the coat-of-many-colors Joseph. When his brothers sold him to the Ishmaelites, they in turn sold him to Potiphar, the captain of the bodyguard, an officer in Pharoah's Egyptian regime. The Lord made Joseph very successful in his work for Potiphar. Potiphar recognized that the Lord was with Joseph and he promoted him to the head of his household, making him the overseer, and putting him in charge of everything he owned. The Lord blessed Potiphar's house on account of Joseph: his house, his field and everything he owned. So Potiphar didn't give a second guess to anything. In fact, the Bible tells us that he only thought about the food he was going to eat!

The Bible also tells us that Joseph was a very handsome man. One day, Potiphar's wife decided she wanted to become more acquainted with Joseph - she looked with desire at him, and invited him to lie with her. Joseph rightly refused.

But he refused and said to his master's wife, "Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?" Genesis 38:8-9

But Mrs. Potiphar was persistent - day after day she spoke to Joseph and requested that he lie with her. And day after day he refused. Then one day he was working and there were no other men in the house. She got a hold of his outer garment, and pleaded "come lie with me!" But Joseph did not yield to temptation - he ran out of the house, leaving Mrs. Potiphar still clutching his coat.

You probably know this story, and you know that Mrs. Potiphar didn't like getting her own way. She convinced the other men of the household that Joseph tried to seduce HER, and that when she screamed, he ran, and left his coat as "proof." When she recounted her "story" to her husband, he was obviously incensed, and sent Joseph to jail.

Joseph had done the right thing - he had looked to God, and he knew that God was faithful. He didn't give in to his fleshly desires, but he did what was right. So now he's in jail, but even there, the Scriptures tell us that God was with him, and made him prosper. And of all things, the chief jailer put Joseph IN CHARGE! A prisoner himself, he was made to supervise all his fellow prisoners! Soon he interpreted some dreams for his fellow prisoners, which led to him (several years later) interpreting dreams for Pharaoh himself! As a result of this, he was made a leader in Egypt, and given rule and authority over Pharaoh's house!

I could write and talk about this story all day, but the point I want to make is this: Joseph obeyed God. When he was tempted by Mrs. Potiphar, he didn't give in. His victory in that situation enabled him to be victorious in others. Of course, the experience in Potiphar's house wasn't the last of his temptations or trials, but he remained faithful to the Lord, and the Lord remained faithful to Joseph, even reuniting him with his family that had sold him into slavery in the first place.

Through his faith he conquered, and the Savior renewed his strength. Joseph looked to God, and He carried him through. May we remember, when we are tempted and tried, to look ever to Jesus and ask him to help us.

Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Yield Not to Temptation
Words by Horatio Palmer

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
Each victory will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

Ask the Savior to help you,
Comfort, strengthen and keep you;
He is willing to aid you,
He will carry you through.

Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,
God’s Name hold in reverence, nor take it in vain;
Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true,
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

To him that o’ercometh, God giveth a crown;
Through faith we shall conquer, though often cast down;
He Who is our Savior our strength will renew;
Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through.

1 comment:

Joy @ SAH Missionary said...

I have always thought how strong in the Lord Joseph was to stand strong in such a difficult situation. I appreciate this hymn very much! Think of how much better the world would be if Christians simply lived this!
Thanks for your post!