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“As He who called you is HOLY, you also be holy in all your conduct” (1 Peter 1:15). On the minds of many Americans this week is the need to live a good moral life. New York Governor Eliot Spitzer learned the hard way that immorality destroys the greatest joys of one’s life. How can we rise to the challenge of morality today? Here are just a few tips from the Bible to help one live as he should.
You Can Master Sin. When God saw the anger of Cain because his offering was not acceptable He told him, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it" (Genesis 4:7). From God’s words to Cain we can learn an important principle for morality. Like a lion in the jungle, sin is crouching at the door for every one of us…but here is the good news—we can and MUST master sin. The fact that man is able to overcome sin in his life is a powerful principle for morality. We do not have to give in to the weakness of sin. Sin is not irresistible. With a fervent desire to serve the Lord and a knowledge of God’s will (Psalm 119:10-12), one can defeat sin.
RUN, RUN, RUN! Joseph was a great man of God who faced some very difficult situations. Yet, what made Joseph special was his desire to serve God in the most enticing circumstances. Potiphar’s wife was very attracted to Joseph sexually. She appealed to him over a period of time to have sexual relations with her. Joseph continually refused her advances. One day she got tired of the rejection and caught him alone and insisted he succumb to her advances. At this point most would be thinking, “What man could resist this?” Joseph did! The Scripture says that when Potiphar’s wife grabbed his garment and insisted he have sex with her, that he left his garment in her hands and ran out of the house (Genesis 39:7-12). From the example of Joseph, we learn that whatever it takes (even if it means running!) a person must remove himself from the allurement of sin.
Realize Sin Hurts. Sin hurts God more than it hurts anyone else. God told Israel that their sin had broken His heart (Ezekiel 6:9). Joseph realized that any immoral act with Potiphar’s wife would have first and foremost been a sin against God (Genesis 39:9). While God is wounded deeply by our sins, we must realize that sin hurts others as well. Eliot Spitzer’s wife and three daughters have been deeply hurt by his sin. It will be very difficult for him to put the pieces back together. Imagine how his influence among others has been affected. What will his legacy as a New York Governor be remembered as? He will always be remembered as the man who got caught in a prostitution scandal. Yet, there is one more person sin hurts. Sin hurts the individual as much as it hurts anyone. Sin hurts the individual because of the eternal consequences. The Bible says, “The soul who sins shall surely die” (Ezekiel 18:4). “The wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23). Thus, to overcome sin one must realize that sin hurts everyone involved.
While there may be many principles for overcoming sin, I hope these three will encourage us to resist the temptation of the Devil at all cost. May we have the courage to say with Joseph, “How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God!” (Genesis 39:9).
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