"Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, 'Come to bed with me!' But he refused. 'With me in charge,' he told her, 'my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?' And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her. But one day when Joseph went into the house to do his work, none of the house servants was there. She caught him by his robe and said, 'Come to bed with me.' But he escaped and ran outside, leaving his robe in her hand."
Read the books, read the articles, watch the news and most often than not, you will hear some story of someone being caught in the act of adultery. We are living in a day and age where sexual perversion is rampant and we are in an all-out-war for the sanctity and purity of marriage.
Perhaps you are thinking, "This can't be a problem in the church. No way! Certainly the moral standards of Christians are much higher!" Most Christians foolishly believe that they are exempt from this type of temptation or that this could never happen to a man or woman "of the cloth". But "pride comes before the fall" (Proverbs 16:18).
Christianity Today recently did a study and found that 45 percent of its subscribers indicated having done something inappropriate with someone of the opposite sex. These are shocking statistics, especially while considering that Christianity Today readers tend to be college-educated church leaders, elders, deacons, Sunday school superintendents, and teachers! If this is for the Church's leadership, how much more for the average member of the congregation? Only God knows! However, there is growing evidence that adultery is a tremendous problem in Christian circles.
I have been utterly amazed to see how many Christians think nothing of having a private lunch, face-booking, emailing, texting, or messaging someone of the opposite sex. When men and women do this, we are opening ourselves up for temptation and we will surely fall!
Women tend to bear the brunt of this negative approach, often being called a "Jezebel" or mistakingly taking friendliness for flirtation. But men do not fare well either. Either way, men and women must be honest about their fallen desires and act appropriately to avoid them. They must refrain from any hint of evil, refusing to engage in any one on one relationships with someone of the opposite sex.
Notice, Joseph ran from the tempting woman. He didn't dabble on face-book, he didn't send her a sweet text, he didn't send her an email with a bunch of smiley faces on it, and her certainly didn't have a private lunch or dinner with her! Men and women of God often do this and think adding, "amen", "praying for you", or saying "brother" or "sister" justifies their actions or obliterates them from temptation but indeed it does not! All in all, crossing gender boundaries is foolishness!
So what do we do in a world where interfacing with the opposite sex is inevitable? Should we all wear parkas and walk around with our heads hung low, avoiding all possible eye-contact? Of course not...but we are to be mindful of such things and go the extra mile to uphold certain boundaries and standards. We have the responsibility of not giving the enemy a foothold.
Joseph made a decision out of his personal integrity. His reaction to Potiphar's wife's advances was one of the utmost integrity, holding up God's standards in the face of temptation.
Today I urge you to carry out healthy boundaries with those of the opposite sex, no matter what their title or position....and if temptation comes knocking at your door, I pray that you will uphold God's standards as Joseph did.
Christina is the founder of Relentless Love Ministries and lives in Linton. She is an active speaker, guest lecturer, and published author. For more information, questions, or comments, email firstname.lastname@example.org.