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November 08, 2019

7 Seasons When You are Vulnerable to Temptation


Free Daily Devotionals from Open the Bible

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Matthew 26:41) 

We understand why Jesus told us to “pray,” but why did he tell us to “watch”? Because there are particular times and seasons when we’re especially vulnerable to temptationYou need to find out what they are. 

When are you temptedIs there a pattern to the times when you fallYou are in a battleAnd this is really important intelligence you need to have in order to effectively fight this type of warfare. From the story of Joseph in Genesis, here are seven seasons when we are especially vulnerable to temptation: 

1. When you are young and single

At this point of the story, Joseph would have been 27 or 28 years oldHe is young, fit, and strongHe would have experienced all the tensions in his body and all the longings in his soul that come with the desire for intimacy that God has placed within us all. 

These tensions and longings are surely not exclusive to the young, but they are at their most intense when we are youngAnd Joseph was right at the point of life where temptation would have had its greatest powerSo this is a story that speaks very powerfully to all of the students and young adults here today. 

We live in a culture that assumes that being sexually active is an essential part of a normal lifeAnd if you believe that God has placed this gift within the bounds of a life-long commitment of marriage between a man and a woman, you are going to find yourself under all kinds of pressure. 

My prayer is that this story will bring strength and hope for all, (whether single or married) who find themselves tempted because of pressures and frustrations in this area of life.

2. When you are good looking

Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance(Genesis 39:6) 

 Joseph was a really good looking fellowI enjoyed the comment made to me by a member of our congregation, who I highly esteem, some years agoHe was cautious and genuinely concerned about the use of video in our services, and so he said to me, “Colin, I want you to know that you sound better than you look!” I did not dispute with him. 

I guess most of us would like to look better than we doSome have been given greater gifts in this area than others, and if God has given you the gift of being handsome or beautiful in form and appearance, you need to know that there are pressures and temptations that will come with it. 

George Lawson, a nineteenth-century writer, says in the language of the day, “Hast thou beautyTrust not in it, but be modest and cautiousDost thou want beautyBe content, and thankful that you are free from those snares which often attend it.” [1]

3. When you have worked hard and been successful

Joseph worked hardHe gained multiple promotions, and God gave him success in all that he didTemptation, in its many forms, is especially powerful when you have been working hardYour energies are drainedYou are tired, depleted, and your heart says, “You have been working hard and you deserve a reward.”

4. When you have opportunity

Joseph didn’t go looking for temptation; temptation came looking for him. Sometimes a person may have desire but not opportunityOther times you can have opportunity but not desireBut when desire and opportunity come together, temptation is at the height of its powerIt’s a lethal mix.

5. When you are away from home

Many of you know the pressure of this in your working lifeYour work means that you must travel, so you spend a lot of nights in a hotel. 

You know the routine: You check into a hotel, and there you are in a strange, anonymous placeAnd you are lonelyThere’s something disorienting about travelYou can get the feeling, when you are in a different place, that the normal rules do not applyYou’re on your own, away from your wife, with time on your hands, and you’re vulnerable to temptation.

6. When you have no one to hold you accountable

Many have found great help in the battle with temptation through the support of an accountability partnerBut Joseph had nobody to share his struggle withPut yourself in his shoes: He had no external support whatsoeverHe was alone and anonymous in Egypt, and that could only have heightened the power of temptation in his soul.

7. When temptation continues over a long period of time

[Potiphar’s wife] spoke to Joseph day after day(Genesis 39:10) 

This was not a passing temptationThis was a relentless campaignIt is not too hard to resist a fleeting temptationBut when it grinds on day after day, always at you, always in your face, it wears you downYou just get tired of the battle. 

That may be where you are right now, “How did God know that I’m tired of the battle?” 

He is speaking to you right now from this storyYou face a particular temptation, and you have been battling it for a long timeYou have fought, and now you are tired of fighting. 

Put all of this together and you will see the cumulative pressure that Joseph was facing: He was young, and single, and good lookingHe had worked hard and been successfulHe had opportunity, and he was away from home with no one to hold him accountableAnd he had been fighting the temptation for a long period of time. 

That looks like a recipe for disasterHe’s got to fallAnd yet, to our astonishment, Joseph stood strong when he was vulnerable to temptation. He did so by having clear commitments, clear communication, and clear boundaries. This is possible for you too in Jesus Christ! 

This article was adapted from Pastor Colin’s sermon, “Tempted and Faithful,” from his series Snapshots of a Godly Life, Part 1.

Colin Smith

Founder & Teaching Pastor

Colin Smith is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the Founder and Teaching Pastor for Open the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.
Colin Smith is the Senior Pastor of The Orchard Evangelical Free Church in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He has authored a number of books, including Heaven, How I Got Here and Heaven, So Near - So Far. Colin is the Founder and Teaching Pastor for Open the Bible. Follow him on Twitter.