We are looking today at the subject of forgiveness. To forgive a person who has hurt you deeply may be the greatest challenge you ever face and the greatest gift you ever give. Imagine standing right next to a hurdle on a racetrack. You are right up against it. You...
When you fight temptation, you might ask yourself: Does it really matter? Two things here–one you can guess, the other you cannot imagine.
The Part You Can Guess
The part you can guess is that faithfulness will not be easy. Joseph must have known that his faithfulness would be costly. It was not beyond him to foresee what Potiphar’s wife would do with the robe.
And sure enough, the immediate outcome of Joseph’s faithfulness to God in pursuing the path of purity was that it landed him in prison.
To those who are single:
If you choose the path of purity before marriage, you will not find it easy. Some people will wonder what’s wrong with you. You may lose the affection of someone who wanted what you were not ready to give.
And you find yourself experiencing what Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
To those who are married:
If, for the sake of Christ, you choose the path of faithfulness in a marriage to an ungrateful or an unresponsive spouse, it will not be easy. There may be times when you find yourself thinking your life could be very different. That part you can guess.
The Part You Cannot Imagine
But there’s something else here–another part that you cannot imagine, and that is the good that God will bring from your faithfulness. Think about this and follow the chain of connection:
It was through the faithfulness of Joseph that he ended up in prison. Yes, but it was through being in prison that he met Pharaoh’s cupbearer. It was through the cupbearer that Joseph was introduced to Pharaoh. And it was through Pharaoh that he became the wise prime minister who provided food for his people.
It was through the food he supplied that the life of Judah and the other brothers were saved in a time of famine. And it was through the line of Judah that Jesus Christ was born into the world.
It is through Jesus Christ that a great company of people will be gathered forever with great joy in the presence of Almighty God.
Joseph could not possibly have imagined the chain of connections and the good that God would bring. It was beyond anything that he could have imagined there in Potiphar’s house.
Your Fight Matters
So here you are trying to find the strength, the motivation, and the energy to stand strong against temptation when it is at its most intense. What will be the effect of your standing strong and being faithful on your son, your daughter, your friend, or your colleague? What will be the good of it for your future husband or wife? How will God weave this strand of your faithfulness into the tapestry of His gracious work in the lives of others?
You throw a stone into a lake when the water is completely still, and it looks like a piece of glass. One stone produces a ripple, a series of rings, and you can hardly believe how far they go. That’s how it will be with your faithfulness.
One of The Joys of Heaven
One of the joys of heaven will be to see the fruit that comes from the especially intense battles that you have fought with temptation in your life. To have Christ say to you:
“Remember the time you fought a battle with temptation in that hotel? You said, ‘I am the Lord’s servant. How can I do this wicked thing and sin against God?’ By God’s grace you prevailed. What you didn’t know was that if you’d given in, a whole different series of events would have transpired. But you stood strong, and now I want you to see what came of it.”
You say, “I find all of this very difficult to imagine.” Don’t you think Joseph would have said the same thing?
Why Jesus Came
Jesus came to bring forgiveness for our past sins and power to face our future temptations. We need both. I hope that many of us will be moved make new commitments to purity today. We need the strength of Jesus to be faithful. Some of us may feel swamped by a sense of our own past failure.
We need the grace of Jesus to bring us forgiveness and cleansing. The Bible says Jesus was tempted “in every respect… as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).
Then our Jesus goes to the cross, and why is He on the cross? He bears the guilt and the shame of our sins, of every kind, including sexual sins of the mind and of the body. Jesus bore our sins in his body on the tree. He carried them into His death, and He buried them there, as far as His people are concerned.
Then Jesus rose from the dead in the power of a new and endless life. Our living Savior, holds out His arms and invites us to come to Him, whatever we have done, whatever our sense of guilt and shame, in faith and in repentance. He is ready to forgive you. He is able to help you!
Jesus came to bring forgiveness for your past sins, and he came to bring power to face your future temptations. That is who He is. That is why He is the Savior. And that is why there is hope for every person in Him.