Summary: Learn to say NO to temptation


James 1:13-16

The reality to foresee (13a)

The reasoning to forsake (13b)

The responsibility to face (14,15)

The recklessness to forbid (16)

Few men give such a great example of victorious Christian living as Joseph does. Genesis 39 gives us one of the most instructive lessons on temptation found in the Bible. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph into having illicit sexual relations with her, but Joseph would not yield to her solicitations. From the conduct of Potiphar’s wife we can note some of the ways of temptations; and from the conduct of Joseph we can learn some of the ways to successfully war against temptation.

Let us learn how to say "NO" to temptation.

I. The appeal of temptation

This passage of Scripture is like the game film of your opponent. It shows our opponent’s favorite and most successful plays. Let us study it well.

A. VISUAL appeal

One of the most effective approaches of temptation is through the eye gate. The first step in temptation is visual.

"cast her eyes upon Joseph" -- her smile towards him was more than just being friendly. She was watching him with some interest and he was aware of it. See Proverbs 6:25. She was putting a world of meaning in her looks toward him. She was beckoning to him with her eyes. She knew how to use her eyes.

Lot "beheld," Achan "saw," and David "saw."

b. VERBAL appeal

To stimulate Joseph imagination, she goes beyond appealing to eyes; she begins appealing to his ears as well.

c. VERSATILE appeal

Devil had previously tempted Joseph to despair when he was sold into slavery by his brothers. Now the devil tries delight. If pain does not get you, then he may try pleasure.

The devil will modify his temptations. See verse10. From "lie with" to "lie by" to "be with" were simply disguises to camouflage the fact that the first request was still her main objective.

d. VIGOROUS appeal

spoke unto Joseph "day by day" (persistent). One drop of water will not wear away a rock, but repeated drops can. The devil does not give up quickly. The devil is aggressive in his temptations

e. VICIOUS appeal

"caught him by his garment". She was out to get him and it did not matter how she did. There can be so much pressure in the temptation that one may think that they have to yield.

II. The answer for temptation

You don’t have to yield to temptation. You can be a victor and not a victim. Temptation can be defeated.

A. He refused the temptation (8)

He was decisive. Must be firm and forceful in your refusal. This was a dogmatic "NO." Don’t apologize for saying "No."

B. He reinforced his turndown (8,9)

If you don’t reinforce your refusal, then you will reconsider it.

1. Recalled the authority: focused on the responsibility

Someone was trusting him.

2. Reminded himself of the actual: focused on the reality

He did not dwell on fantasy. He did not turn his imagination loose. He kept a firm grip on reality.

3. Recollected his accountability: focused on the reckoning

Sin was against. He focused on the fact that he would face God one day.

4. Rearranged to avoid: focused on routine

Attempted to work his schedule so that he would not be in her presence. If you are going to overcome some temptations you will have to separate from some people, places, and practices. Joseph rearranged his routine to avoid Mrs. Potiphar. See Proverbs 4:14

C. He responded with tenacity (12)

There was no hesitation on his part. Without promptness you will yield to temptation Abruptness may seem discourteous and unkind, but when dealing with temptation it is the only safe way.

Sin has three stages:




The time we spend between the knowing of what we ought to do and the actual doing of it is time spent in justifying the doing of wrong.


May God help us to earnestly emulate Joseph’s example in overcoming temptation.

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