I love the inspiring story of Joseph’s life in the book of Genesis. There are a few things that stand out to me in the story, first, his ability to forgive people who hurt him. Secondly, his persevering attitude in the face of disappointing setbacks and thirdly, his ability to rule over his own desires. It is this last thing I want to focus on. Joseph had the ability to control himself and exercise self-control in very difficult situations. We see and hear today that, that kind of self-control should not be expected from young people today. There are too many extenuating circumstances that mitigate a young person’s ability to control themselves, such as poverty, coming from a dysfunctional home or growing up as part of a minority. The Safe-Sex campaign that has passed out condoms to our kids for the last 30 years believes we shouldn’t expect our kids to have any self-control when it comes to sex. They say it’s going to happen so let’s just help them be better prepared. Incidentally, the Safe-Sex campaign has turned out to not be so safe because STD’s are up and teenage pregnancies are up.
Joseph demonstrated that a young man or young woman can have self-control. He was set-up by his master’s wife. She cornered him when he was alone and there was no else around. She said to him, “Come to bed with me!” But Joseph refused (Gen 39:7-12). Joseph gave her his reasons. First, how could he do this to his master who trusted him? We call this loyalty and integrity. Secondly, how could he do this to God? We call this morality. When a young person is raised with a sense of integrity and morality, they can say no. Those two qualities produce inner strength that helps them rule over their spirit. They are not a slave to their passions and helpless to the demands of their sexual hormones like the Safe-Sex campaign purports. Joseph demonstrated that a young person can say no to seductive temptations that would ruin their lives and later say yes to the one right person. Joseph did that later when he married and had two sons and enjoyed his family.
God made sex for marriage, and within those confines it meets the emotional and physical needs of the couple. Sex outside that bond will never be completely satisfied. It will always demand more. I remember watching Dr. James Dobson’s interview with Ted Bundy, the infamous serial killer just before he was executed. Bundy’s own admission was that he got started on pornography very early and could never seem to be satisfied with any sexual encounter. His desires controlled him and always demanded more until eventually he became a killer. Not every person in pornography becomes a killer, but I can tell you that they will know that same unfulfilled desire. They will be more controlled by their desires and less connected to real meaningful relationships. Joseph is a picture of what God intended for all of us. Today the lies are everywhere that it doesn’t matter if you live with someone or become sexually active before marriage. I am here to tell you that it does matter.