1. TAKE HEED LEST YOU FALL
a. When things are running smoothly, of what should we always be aware? 1 Corinthians 10:12; Matthew 26:41.
“We should now seek a deep and living experience in the things of God. We have not a moment to lose. Events of vital importance are taking place around us; we are on Satan’s enchanted ground. Sleep not, sentinels of God; the foe is lurking near, ready at any moment, should you become lax and drowsy, to spring upon you and make you his prey.”—The Great Controversy, p. 601.
b. While God was blessing Joseph abundantly, what was the devil trying to do? Genesis 39:5–7; 1 Peter 5:8.
“Our great adversary has agents that are constantly hunting for an opportunity to destroy souls, as a lion hunts his prey.”—Colporteur Ministry, p. 52.
“Man is naturally inclined to follow Satan’s suggestions, and he cannot successfully resist . . . unless Christ, the mighty Conqueror, dwells in him, guiding his desires, and giving him strength. God alone can limit the power of Satan. He is going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it. He is not off his watch for a single moment, through fear of losing an opportunity to destroy souls.”—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 341.
2. THE DEVIL’S TRAPS
a. What was the purpose of the devil in laying the trap of adultery before Joseph’s eyes? Genesis 39:7; Proverbs 5:1–5; 7:22, 23, 27.
“Few temptations are more dangerous or more fatal to young men than the temptation to sensuality and none if yielded to will prove so decidedly ruinous to soul and body for time and eternity. The welfare of his entire future is suspended upon the decision of a moment.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 1, p. 1097.
“A little time spent in sowing your wild oats, dear young friends, will produce a crop that will embitter your whole life; an hour of thoughtlessness, once yielding to temptation, may turn the whole current of your life in the wrong direction. You can have but one youth; make that useful. When once you have passed over the ground, you can never return to rectify your mistakes.”—The Adventist Home, p. 59.
b. Under which circumstances is a person most prone to fall into the sins of immorality? Genesis 39:11, 12 (first part); Proverbs 7:13–21.
“All who willfully depart from God’s commandments are placing themselves under the control of Satan. Many a man tampers with evil, thinking that he can break away at pleasure; but he is lured on and on, until he finds himself controlled by a will stronger than his own. He cannot escape its mysterious power. Secret sin or master passion may hold him a captive as helpless as was the demoniac of Capernaum.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 312.
“One may conceal his sin from father, mother, wife, and friends, and yet all lies open before God and is placed in His book of record.”—Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, p. 89.
c. Why are we to avoid being alone in compromising situations with the opposite sex? 1 Thessalonians 5:22.
“All who love Jesus and keep the commandments will seek to avoid the very appearance of evil; not because they are constrained thus to do, but because they are copying a pure model and feel averse to everything contrary to the law written in their hearts.”—Ibid., p. 81.
3. THE CENTER OF OUR THOUGHTS
a. When Joseph was confronted with the seducing temptation of Potiphar’s wife, where were his thoughts centered? Genesis 39:7–9; Colossians 3:1–3.
“Joseph’s answer reveals the power of religious principle. He would not betray the confidence of his master on earth, and, whatever the consequences, he would be true to his Master in heaven. Under the inspecting eye of God and holy angels many take liberties of which they would not be guilty in the presence of their fellow men, but Joseph’s first thought was of God. ‘How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ (Genesis 39:9) he said.”—Conflict and Courage, p. 75.
“When assailed by temptation, look not to circumstances or to the weakness of self, but to the power of the word. All its strength is yours. ‘Thy word,’ says the psalmist, ‘have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee’ (Psalm 119:11).”—The Desire of Ages, p. 123.
b. What was it that made Joseph recoil from her advances? Genesis 39:9; Hebrews 8:10; Psalm 119:10, 11. What happens when we hide God’s promises in our heart? 2 Peter 1:4.
“The fear of God, united with the love of that which is noble, pure, and elevating, will guard you from a dishonest action. . . . What a lesson for all youth we have in the history of Joseph. Here moral integrity was preserved under the strongest temptations. How fierce and seductive was the assault upon his virtue! Coming from such a source and in such a form, it was the most likely to corrupt a youthful mind. Joseph was saved by his religious principles, which led him promptly and firmly to resist the device of Satan.”—Christ Triumphant, p. 97.
“We shall be tempted in a variety of ways, but when we are tempted we need to remember that a provision has been made whereby we may overcome. . . . Those who truly believe in Christ are made partakers of the divine nature and have power that they can appropriate under every temptation. They will not fall under temptation and be left to defeat. In time of trial they will claim the promises and by these escape the corruptions that are in the world through lust.”—Ibid., p. 197.
“Let the youth be taught to give close study to the word of God. Received into the soul, it will prove a mighty barricade against temptation.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 121.
4. FLEEING FROM TEMPTATION
a. What is the only way to meet any sexual temptations? Genesis 39:12; 1 Corinthians 6:18.
“Joseph calmly casts his eyes to heaven for help, slips off his loose outer garment, leaving it in the hand of his tempter and while his eye is lighted with determined resolve in the place of unholy passion, he exclaims, ‘How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?’ The victory is gained; he flees from the enchanter; he is saved.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 1, p. 1097.
“Do not stop for one moment to reason. Satan would rejoice to see you overthrown by temptation. Do not stop to argue the case with your weak conscience. Turn away from the first step of transgression.”—Counsels on Health, p. 587.
b. In times when the devil is trying to destroy the purity and innocence of children and youth by promoting licentiousness, what can we learn from Joseph? 2 Timothy 2:22; 1 Timothy 4:12.
“To shield their children from contaminating influences, parents should instruct them in the principles of purity. Those children who in the home form habits of obedience and self-control will have little difficulty in their school life and will escape many of the temptations that beset the youth. Parents should train their children to be true to God under all circumstances and in all places. They should surround them with influences that tend to strengthen character.”—Child Guidance, p. 113.
c. What practical measures can we take to avoid falling into the way of temptation? Romans 13:14; Psalm 101:3.
“Those who would not fall a prey to Satan’s devices, must guard well the avenues of the soul; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing that which will suggest impure thoughts. The mind must not be left to dwell at random upon every subject that the enemy of souls may suggest. The heart must be faithfully sentineled, or evils without will awaken evils within, and the soul will wander in darkness.”—The Adventist Home, p. 403.
5. HEAVEN IS WATCHING
a. Who was watching Joseph when he was faced with the greatest temptation of his life? Genesis 39:2; Proverbs 5:20, 21; 1 Corinthians 4:9.
“Fiery trials were to test still more severely the faith and integrity of Joseph. The morals of the Egyptians were very low. His master’s wife was a licentious woman, and now a temptation to deviate from the path of right, to transgress the law of God, is presented before the youthful exile. His future welfare depends upon the decision of the moment. Will Satan triumph? Will principle now garrison Joseph’s heart? Will he now have the fear of God before him? Will he be loyal and true to the divine law? Angels were regarding this servant of God with intense interest.”—The Signs of the Times, January 8, 1880.
b. Although human eyes may not see what we do and we may hide our private sins from human eyes, what reality should we ever keep before our mind? Hebrews 4:13; Ecclesiastes 12:14.
“If we were to cherish an habitual impression that God sees and hears all that we do and say and keeps a faithful record of our words and actions, and that we must meet it all, we would fear to sin. Let the young ever remember that wherever they are, and whatever they do, they are in the presence of God. No part of our conduct escapes observation. We cannot hide our ways from the Most High. Human laws, though sometimes severe, are often transgressed without detection, and hence with impunity. But not so with the law of God. The deepest midnight is no cover for the guilty one. He may think himself alone, but to every deed there is an unseen witness. The very motives of his heart are open to divine inspection.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 217, 218.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why should the Christian always be vigilant?
2. How can one sin change the direction of our life?
3. How can we best prepare to meet temptation?
4. What steps can we take to avoid falling into licentious sins?
5. When we are alone, away from human beings, and are tempted to sin, what should we ever remember?