Lust: The Case of Joseph – Gospel in Life

Lust: The Case of Joseph

Tim Keller |  March 12, 1995

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  • Sexuality
Genesis 39:4-21
RS 57-7

Understanding Joseph’s Story in Genesis 39:4-21

The story of Joseph in Genesis teaches us a lot about the strength of sexual desires, even when we’re not looking for it. We can learn from Potiphar’s wife about what lust is, from Joseph about how to deal with it, and from God about how to find healing. The story reminds us how important it is to handle sexual desires wisely.

1. What is lust?

In the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife, we see that lust is a powerful desire that isn’t bad in itself, but can take over if we don’t keep it in check. The Bible encourages us to enjoy sexual desires in the safety of a committed marriage, showing us that it’s important to connect sex with love, trust, respect, and commitment. When sex is used in the wrong way, it can hurt people, which is why it’s wrong to use sex to hurt or control others.

2. How to deal with lust

Lust is about chasing pleasure without thinking about the other person’s feelings, while love is about putting the other person first. Lust can cause problems when we want something or someone we can’t have, or even when we get what we want. Joseph’s story teaches us that we need to control our desires and remember that sex is a way of showing deep love and commitment, but it can’t give us everything we need – only God can do that.

3. Finding healing from lust

Being true to God can sometimes lead to feeling rejected, alone, or laughed at, as Joseph found out. But God is always with us, offering forgiveness and the chance to change, even when we’ve done wrong, like Potiphar’s wife. When we look at the people in Matthew’s family tree, we see that even people who messed up are loved by Jesus. This reminds us that we can admit our mistakes and ask God to forgive us and help us to change.



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