In Genesis 38 we read about how Judah had sexual relations with Tamar. Basically, what he perceived to be an “opportunity,” presented itself and he took advantage of it – later to discover his own hypocrisy and sin.
In Genesis 39, we read the story of Joseph in which another “opportunity” presented itself for him to engage in sexual sin and yet he refused to do it. In fact, Joseph probably had several built in excuses to engage in the sin, if he wanted. After all, he would simply have been doing what his master’s wife wanted. It was her house, he was a slave in her house, he was just doing what he was being commanded to do. Also, it wasn’t a one-time request and it happened day after day.
Yet Joseph is resolute in refusing to engage in sexual activity with Potiphar’s wife. What is the difference between the two brothers?
Joseph had concern that he not do anything against his master, and he knew that her request was against what the master would have wanted. Note more importantly, that Joseph understood his engaging in this “opportunity” would have been sinning against God. Even more than the concern about those around him, Joseph was concerned about not sinning against God. He wanted to do nothing which would detract from following and glorifying his God.
When we understand the damage sin does to our relationship with God, we are much more likely to be deterred from sin. (Grace is a means to be changed, not an excuse to live in the pig-pen!)
May our relationship with the Almighty God be so important to us that we want nothing which will hinder that relationship.