Read Genesis 39:1-23
I was getting ready to answer these questions this morning and received a phone call that sidetracked me. I am thankful for that distraction, because for some reason after I hung-up the phone I went to my email instead of to this post and read a devotional from the NIV Bible for Women that spoke to me about this week’s study of Potiphar’s wife.
“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh.”
My favorite movie? Pretty Woman, without a doubt! I watched it twice in one night when my friends and I sneaked back into the theater when we were in college. This is the ultimate chick flick. Julia Roberts had it made—a sexy, rich man wanted to take care of her and lavish attention on her with no strings attached. Of course, in 1990, the only way Hollywood could get away with portraying that ideal was to make the main character a prostitute—a likable one you’d want to be friends with—but a prostitute nonetheless. As if the picture of a woman who was in control of her sexuality and using it for her benefit was somehow unbecoming for the average woman.
Now we’ve grown into a more sophisticated sexual freedom. My girlfriends and I meet eligible single men at trendy clubs downtown. Most of the men there are stockbrokers or successful lawyers and doctors. We’re adults with disposable incomes and time on our hands.
I was nervous the first time I had a guy I met at a club over to my flat. I poured some drinks, we talked about our families and work and then we messed around until he had to go home for work the next day. I recall looking in the mirror the next morning and strangely not recognizing my own face right away, but I also remember the rush of feeling empowered. Every time I hook up with a guy, I feel as if I break through some other barrier. It’s as if I’m in control of my life in a way I couldn’t have imagined before.
I’m not actually sleeping with these guys. Some of my girlfriends do, but I’m just out to have fun. It wasn’t that long ago when only men were allowed to have fun like this, but this is an equal opportunity planet. More power to us!
The sexual revolution drastically changed how women viewed their sexuality. In the past, women hid their sexuality under restrictive clothing and severe social codes. Now we flaunt it. Women used to be envious of men’s supposed sexual freedom and the apparent power it gave them. Now we have that same “freedom,” but where has it gotten us?
- Legalized abortion—A world in which even if a woman wants to keep her baby, her partner has no responsibility to stand beside her and support her. Too many women feel alone and pressured to abort their children. Is that freedom?
- Disappointment—Relationships in which men won’t commit because they don’t have to. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?
- Emotional baggage—Past physical attachments, emotional scars and the weight of guilt so that women can’t enter fully into their marriages or the relationships God intended for them.
- Disrespect—In a world of sexual freedom, women are often treated like (surprise, surprise) sex objects. When was the last time a man held the door for you?
- Expectations—Just because a man buys you dinner doesn’t mean you owe him sex—not after one date, four dates, six months or two years.
We’re no better off sexually than our mothers and grandmothers. We may feel a sense of control, but it comes at a very high price—the price of our clean consciences, of our whole relationships, of our sexual purity.
God wants women to experience the powerful, intoxicating pleasures of their sexuality. Yet he has specific parameters in which that experience should take place—in a monogamous, marital relationship, one man and one woman, for life. Satan exploits a woman’s sexuality by enticing her to express herself sexually outside of God’s ideal—through promiscuity, premarital sex or adultery.
Sexual freedom God’s way
We think we feel empowered. God says we are enslaved—either to sin or to righteousness (see Romans 6:16).
We tell ourselves we’re in control when we use sex in relationships (since we have what men want).God calls that kind of control self-deception (see 1 Corinthians 3:18–19).
The world assures us sexual freedom is life’s highest reward. God warns us that we will reap what we sow. (see Galatians 6:7).
“CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new [sexually transmitted disease] infections occur each year.”
—CDC STD Surveillance 2006
1. Imagine the life that you think Potiphar’s wife might have led. What might drive a woman to be so consumed with lust that she’d attempt such an open seduction?
As I read the above devotion it became clear to me that Potiphar’s wife felt entitled by the life she had been leading up to this point. She was probably very spoiled and indulged, through all the blessings that God had granted her home and life because God was looking on Joseph with favor. The Bible tells us that Potiphar recognized that the blessings he was receiving were directly related to Joseph and his wife could have understood this too and decided that her blessings would increase if she was more intimately linked to Joseph. The gratifications of the flesh can be a very strong pull in our lives and they can make people do foolish and wicked things.
2. What might Joseph’s life been like if he’d given in to Potiphar’s wife?
The Lord’s favor would have been removed from his life and while he might not have been in a physical jail…he would have been living in a prison of his own making, with no peace or joy in his life.
3. What legacy has sin or rejection of sin left in your life?
Sin’s legacy is revealed in my life through my children’s generation. They are further from God than I would like them to be and as a mother that is heartbreaking. My legacy from the rejection of sin in my life is revealed through my grandchildren’s generation, they have a strong faith and belief in the Lord and that makes my heart sing.
4. Why do you think Potiphar’s wife made up the story she told her husband? What does her lie tell you about her as a person?
Potiphar’s wife made up this story because of the hurt and the rejection she felt from Joseph’s refusal to succumb to her charms. She wanted revenge and for Joseph to be hurt. Her lies shows us that she was a self-centered woman who only was concerned with her life and her desires.
5. Temptation is a fact of life, even Jesus was tempted. What temptations do you face? How do you deal with them?
I try to deal with temptation through prayer. I ask God for the strength to move past the temptations and to live the life that He has planned for me. Most of the time this works…there have been those times when it does not and it is at those times that I let my flesh reign over God.