Can you name the original “cougar” in the Bible? This’ll stretch your memory of song lyrics from the late ‘60s but… can you hear Simon and Garfunkel singing, “Coo-coo-ca-choo, Mrs. Potiphar!” You recall the story found in Genesis 39.
Joseph responded to her sexual advances well, didn’t he? “Come to bed with me!” she said. 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. 9 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?” (Genesis 39:8-9) Joseph refused on the basis of his respect and honor of her husband and second, because of his great love and respect for God.
But, Mrs. Potiphar did not give up. As she continued to press, Joseph remained strong while also doing a very smart thing. Gn. 39:10 tells us, And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.She stayed after him, so Joseph stayed away. His plan was to completely avoid being around her. A wise move, wouldn’t you say? Sexual temptation often has a “range of force.” In other words, stay out of range of the object of temptation. Let me ask, do you have a plan? We’re not often blindsided by sexual temptation. And, you can probably list the ones in your life with the most powerful “range of force.” But, do you have a plan to stay out of range? Make a plan!
Unfortunately, we can’t always avoid it. Joseph worked his plan and did his best to avoid Mrs. Potiphar. But, she clearly had a plan of her own- a plan to catch Joseph all alone in the house. Gn. 39:11-12, One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house. I don’t know whether a sprint was part of his plan, but it should be part of ours. As an old friend once said, “There comes a time when all good men… should run!” And, when Mrs. Coo-coo-ca-choo has a vice-grip on your grungies, it’s TIME! Paul said it this way in 1 Cor. 6:18, “Run from sexual sin!” Have a plan!
There’s something else very helpful in the struggle. Sadly, Joseph was essentially on his own in his situation, no fellow God-followers in Egypt to lean on. But, not so with us- gratefully. Proverbs 27:17, “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” In your battle with sexual temptation, pastor, you also need a friend! Yet, having a friend in this particular struggle is a challenge for many pastors. But, what about looking to fellow pastors for a friend? That’s one of the great benefits of CPR- Celebrate Pastors in Recovery. It’s a group of fellow pastors safely sharing fellow struggles with one another and finding help, hope, and healing in the process.
If you’re interested in finding friends in a CPR group, let us know by completing the survey on this site: cprpastors.com. We’re also hoping to start online CPR groups via Google+ (or similar) in the very near future as well. Let us know of your interest in that by emailing me at hess. Have a plan, and, have a friend!