Women In The Word - OT: Day 12

Potiphar’s Wife


Today's Text: Genesis 39:1-23, Ephesians 5:1-14, Proverbs 6:16-19

I remember this annoying friend I had in high school. She had a habit that irritated me to no end. Anytime I tried to engage her in gossip, she wouldn’t participate. It drove me nuts.

“I can’t believe so-and-so did that!” I would say at the lunch table, trying to lure her in.



Then, subject change or—gasp!—she would say something positive about the person I was trying to gossip about in a malicious manner. The nerve.

In the high school cafeteria I would just roll my eyes and turn to someone I could trust to indulge my gossiping habit. Deep down, however, I knew I greatly respected and admired this “annoying” friend for avoiding temptation and speaking kindness rather than slander. That’s why she and I are still close friends today—because I’ve always seen a lot of God in her, and I’ve always been drawn to that.

When we read the story of Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39, our knee-jerk reaction is to mark her as a villain. And rightly so. She was a seductress. A temptress. She tried “day after day” to lure in Joseph, a godly man (v.10). We girls at the lunch table would have used inappropriate and colorful language to describe her.

Yet, we girls at the lunch table are completely capable of being just like her on our worst days. We can be the temptress, the seductress, the solicitor of sin—even to our own Christian brothers and sisters.

We are also capable, on our best days, of being Joseph.

Joseph worked hard to avoid the insistent invitations from Potiphar’s wife. It would have been easy to succumb to such a proposition. After all, he had been through a lot by this point in the story: thrown into a pit by his brothers and left for dead, sold into slavery to a group called the Ishmaelites, and then sold again to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh. But what does he do instead? “Leaving his garment in her hand, he escaped and ran outside” (v. 12). Escaped and ran. Those are strong verbs! Sometimes we have to physically remove ourselves from the places where we are tempted. Some days, we can’t even walk near the ice cream shop. Some days, we can’t even text that guy back. And some days, we can’t even sit at the lunch table with our gossipy friends.

Why did Joseph respond so boldly? He says his motivation in the form of a question in verse nine: “How could I do such a great evil and sin against God?”

While Potiphar’s wife seems to revel in her sinful ways, Joseph recognizes sin as rejection of the one true God. The God who was with him in the pit. The God who was with him when his brothers sold him into slavery, and the God who will be with him when he is thrown into prison as a result of the lie Potiphar’s wife tells her husband. Because Joseph loved God and knew God’s love, he was able to escape and run from evil.

We, too, can flee even the greatest temptations when we know and are transformed by the love of God. Rather than asking others to conform to our sinful desires, we can ask the Holy Spirit to conform us to the likeness of Christ.

I never did sense any self-righteousness in the way my high school friend refused to gossip. I never felt like she thought she was a better person than me because she abstained. Her motivation was her love for God and not her desire to appear holy. She behaved as the dearly loved child Paul talks about in Ephesians when he instructs us to “Be imitators of God… And walk in love, as the Messiah also loved us and gave Himself for us” (Eph. 5:1-2).

Because of Christ’s love, you and I can walk boldly as God’s dear children.

It’s inevitable that some days we will be Joseph, fleeing from sin. And some days we will be Potiphar’s wife, tempting others into sin. But every day, God is God. And His love toward us today remains the same—yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).

Let’s imitate Christ alone—His love, His holiness, His goodness. We will fall short, it’s true. But our God never will.

Andrea Lucado is a freelance writer and Texas native who now calls Nashville, Tennessee, home. When she is not conducting interviews or writing stories, you can find her laughing with friends at a coffee shop, running the hills of Nashville, or creating yet another nearly edible baking creation in her kitchen. One of these days she’ll get the recipe right.


  • Potipher’s wife like many of us sucumb to our sinful nature. We selfishly consider ourselves and ignore the harm it may have on those around us. My prayer today is that I can love righteousness and deny myself as I strive daily to fight temptation!

  • Allison Page

    I loved the part about having our motivation to abstain from sin be our love and respect for God not just our desire to appear Holy. I struggle with participating in gossip and tempting behaviors and know I will fall short but thinking of it in this light, doing it to honor God, not just do it for my own benefit will really help me think differently before doing them and participating!

  • I pray daily that I avoid gossip and be a godly woman. Some days are easier than others. It’s true when people say “old habits die hard”, however, I do believe a change can happen in my heart. It may take some time, but I promise I Will strive daily to be better.

  • Mary Beth

    Let us pray that all men would rise up and imitate the virtues of Joseph! And let us pray to be women worthy of them and leading them to holiness. ♡

  • Andrea Z.

    I love the part that says that Joseph realized that sinning was a form of rejection to the one true God that he could say stood by him through everything. Therefore I really respect Joseph for his righteousness. His understanding of sin makes me realize that I can disregard sin as something that’s not really important, especially if we’re talking about easy sins like gossip, or complaining, or negativity. But to actually picture those sins, whether big or small, becoming a physical divide between you and God, that’s not something I want to allow in my life. Joseph wasn’t rude about it or egotistical about it, he just kept himself from temptation. And God had his back wherever he ended up.

  • This lesson really hit home for me. I like to think of myself as a good person. After all, I’m not rude to waiters or cashiers. I don’t hit people or steal. I hold doors open and always pick up litter. But I do gossip. I run to my friends with the latest “news”. And I do feel a pang of shame and guilt every time I do so.

    I will be memorizing these verses so I can write them on my heart and think of them when I feel the urge to gossip.

  • Christina D.

    “Rather than asking others to conform to our sinful desires, we can ask the Holy Spirit to conform us to the likeness of Christ.” Totally convicting today. Prayerfully asking God to bring into the light ways I am seeking others to jump on my son bandwagon.

  • Elizabeth

    I really needed this right now. At work I am surrounded by people who would rather talk about others behind their back than fix the issues. This reminds me to stand firm in Gods word and stop all such negative manners as well as stop myself from contributing. Thanks SRT!

  • As a side note, this reminded me of safeguards we should have in place such as not being alone with a member of the opposite sex who is not closely related to us. In this case, Joseph went into the house when no other workers were there. Had there been witnesses the story may have been a different one. Of course God had a plan for Joseph, but we need to be wise about this in our daily lives.

  • The study today reminds me to be vigilant against gossip and to pray for the compassion to recognize the brokenness in all of us., especially those who have unjustly hurt me. Praying for those who have wronged us is hard but it is what God calls us to do. To talk about someone else’s failings shows pride instead of humility. For there but for the grace of God go I. You can see I have been hurt by someone’s words, like Joseph, unjustly. My instinct is to fight back. My faith tells me to pray for this woman.

  • Kelsey Pearl

    I loved the verses that followed from Ephesians. They reminded me that when we are tempted or we do sin, coming to the light and confessing is not going to condemn us but free us. As children of the light, we should expose the truth even if it makes us uncomfortable. Really wonder how many times I’ve been like Potiphar’s wife and lied to make myself look holier than I am and then other people experienced the consequences. Really good post.

  • Tara Jones

    Loved Andrea’s perspective. Thanks for having her contribute!

  • Sometimes it is so frustrating that sin comes so easy while following Christ and his will is so much more difficult. But then again the Bible does warm us of that. His path is narrow and hard, the worlds path is wide and easy. I pray that each day I would be less like Potifers wife seeking to please myself and more like Christ loving one another!

  • Mary Beth

    I honestly relate a lot with Potipher’s wife. I know that in my loneliness, my desire to be wanted or loved, insecurity that I flee from God to sin. All of us are her sometimes, but I needed the reminder that I can also be Joseph and am Joseph on some days, too! Because of Christ in me, I also have the capacity to love God and obey as a dearly loved child! I often focus on my sin rather than the Savior from sin. Praising God for this truth today: “After He was perfected, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”
    (Hebrews 5:9) ❤️❤️❤️

  • I have a couple relatives who always start gossiping or “bad mouthing” other family members. I try not to join in or i move to a different area. It seems us women are more prone to gossiping than men! I look to those verses in Proverbs 6 to keep me on track.

  • Jessie Carter

    I know I am way late to reading this, but thank you so much! it was very encouraging and perfectly for a time I needed to hear this. Each time I read a devotion The Lord always finds a way to let this really take root and challenge me. Thank you for each and every one of your hearts pursuing after God and helping this generation of women be changed and transformed.

  • Just what I needed today. I’m struggling with a big deal work situation where I believe two people in management are being dishonest. I’m struggling to know where does gossip come into this? My colleagues are aware of it too, and are pushing for something to be done. I remember the bible verse about ‘going to your brother to make things right’, rather than taking it further. But I’m needing guidance from people older and wiser than me on what’s the right thing to do, but when does that become gossip?. Part of me believes I should leave it alone, but I feel like someone needs to be made aware. Even though I have no proof and I’m not comfortable searching for it! I thank God that he already sees the outcome and puts me in my place at the right time.

  • Amoreena

    Thank you, Andrea. I really appreciated your perspective. I have always read the story as Joseph (the hero) who was unjustly imprisoned but redeemed because of God’s sovereign plan. I didn’t even see the parallel that can easily be made to me and Potiphar’s wife– a sinner who wants to lure others in. What I say, do, or even wear can lure others into sinning. In my efforts to live above reproach, I don’t need to focus on fleeing from sin, but focus on the one who is without sin– Jesus. With that shift, my actions, thoughts, words will be akin to His.

  • This is exactly what I needed to hear as I am coming out of a season of sin and really latching onto God. I need to understand that removing myself from situations is sometimes what it has to take and that is OK. The glory of God is way better than any sinful act. Such a good devo. Thank you!!!

  • So. Good.

  • He’s our ever present help in trouble. We don’t have to fear even when the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

  • Sarah Trammell

    Doesn’t Jesus say to love everyone? I think that means homosexuals too.

    • Dadrian

      We are to love the person not their sin.

      • Kymmi

        And yet, how many Christians hate the sinner, claiming they only hate their “sin”?

      • Wildalis

        Ain’t that the truth! It’s hard to make a clear hard line between the two but God has called us to love everyone regardless of the sin. We are not to judge, it’s not our place, our place is to shine the light of God and learn to share it with others. It’s a difficult task, but with His help nothing is impossible.

    • Christa

      Loving people doesn’t mean you celebrate and encourage their sin. That would be the opposite of love because we are called to point people towards jesus. Encouraging sin that Jesus died on the cross for is equivalent to slapping Him in the face, as is the sin itself. This does not go just for the homosexual lifestyle but for any sin. We don’t celebrate the alcoholic so we should not celebrate the homosexual. We love them and show them jesus in how we treat them, but we do not encourage their lifestyle, and we do not hide the truth from them to spare feelings. Any sin is going to be a touchy subject for different people bc we all struggle with our own sins. We all need accountability and grace. There is a healthy and just way to judge what is right and wrong without condemnation. James 5:19-20

    • Phylicia

      Just as our verse in this reading states, “Live a life of love”! Ephesians 5:2

  • I love when she said “But every day, God is God. And His love toward us today remains the same—yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).” Our world today is changing and trying to force views on us that are not right in God’s eyes. This verse reminds me that God is the same and he has not changed. I am so thankful for his love and grace towards us! Even when I stumble he is still there. This devotional series has been such a blessing to me and exactly what I need right now!

    • MrsWalton88

      We need to pray for our country! Great post Joanna. I completely agree that people are trying to force their views.

  • This has been so eye opening and just what I needed today. I need to constantly remember to flee from sin. I loved what was said about gossiping too. It’s so easy to engage in those types of conversation. I am going to start doing what your dear friend did. It may be awkward but I need to embrace that. I need to chose God over comfort.

    • Lauren

      Well said, Jessica. I am so afraid of awkwardness, but obeying God is so much more important than being comfortable. Good reminder.

  • I want to share this with all my young friends. Because it’s true. No matter how strong we think we are, sometimes we just have to physically remove ourselves from sinful situations.

  • It’s inevitable that some days we will be Joseph, fleeing from sin. And some days we will be Potiphar’s wife, tempting others into sin. But every day, God is God. And His love toward us today remains the same—yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).

    Wow! Love this!!! Nothing at all can separate us from the love of God!! How blessed we are!


    When I read this I thought of the scripture I’ve been teaching my children; I Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has seized toy except what is common to man, BUT GOD is faithful; He will not put more on you than you can bear, but provide a way of escape so you can stand firm!!” I want to teach them this one as well ☺️ They should be imitators of Christ!!

  • Lady Mendoza

    How often we forget about our own sin and we point the finger. The author of this passage reminds us that we can be Potiphar’s wife but we need to be more like Joseph, running away from sin instead of being temptation, keeping in mind we would not do wrong only here on earth but against God.

  • Kasey Summers

    Going to walk boldly today in Christ’s love!! Praying we would flee from sin like Joseph did with Potiphar’s wife! Run from sin and run to Christ!! He alone will satisfy us!!

  • These women in the Old Testament read like a soap opera! Never before did I think I could relate to these ladies who lived so long ago. Yet they all struggled with the same issues and sin we struggle with today. Sin is sin no matter the place in history or the character! Loving this study ladies at SRT! Thank you!!!!

  • JulieC21

    Potiphar's wife is a prime example of a sinner who has grown comfortable with sin. No one desires to be called out for their bad tendencies or not-so-Christian wants. In her extreme case, potiphar's wife reached a point where lusting after a man who was not her husband was OK territory. We should never get to a point where we judge those who have fallen into sin, yet we should surround ourselves with family and friends who will alert us before we fall into that pattern ourselves.

  • Bernice Benabe

    What a connection Joseph had with God!! Love Joseph’s story and get something new every time. What lessons can we learn from Potiphar’s wife? Would love to know how it actually went down in that household after Joseph left.

  • Gandygirl

    I needed this. Sometimes I forget to put on the armor that the Father has given us. So thankful that we have the perfect example to follow!

  • This Biblical story and the devotional both spoke to me!! The temptation that Joseph went through with Potiphar's wife had to be tempered with his love for his God! He used the love that he built up with the relationship that he had with God to get him through this situation!! Without that relationship, he might have succumbed to her affections for him.
    The girls at the lunch table is SOOOO familiar to me. I almost know what that girl was thinking as the her friend gossiped. I use to be so good at not listening or spreading gossip that when I heard it, I would have to start thinking other thoughts—thoughts that were pleasing to God. It would upset me that he/she was trying to put so and so down…even if it were true. I did not want to hear it. However, I have noticed me slipping in that area—-no not slipping, falling head first!!! Sorry to admit it, but I am so glad I read that devotional!! I need to focus on HIM and stop listening or spreading "stuff"—even if it is true, I need to keep my mouth shut!!! Thank you, SRT, for pointing out the inevitable!!

  • I like the passage in Ephesians and am reflecting on times when I have been convicted of gossip. How easy it is to be talking to a girlfriend and cross the line to begin sharing foolish stories about other people whom we critique for whatever reason. We can excuse these moments so easily by saying that we are just venting, getting something off of our chest, but has it really been necessary and edifying to share? Almost always, no. "Instead, let there be thankfulness to God" Lord, I pray that when I am talking to others, especially my friends, that you would keep me from gossip and enable me to steer our conversation towards your greatness and how I am thankful for your many blessings.

  • mimikarenb

    Am I the only one who has used the bad things that have happened to me as an excuse to go after what I want when I want it? "Well if XYZ hadn't happened to me . . . " and I tell the story over and over to myself of how I have been wronged, and it just gets sadder and sadder . . . And if my life was as easy as the girl sitting across the table from me, I could be strong too! But like Joseph, my story is not the wrongs that have been done to me, my story is that He has always been right there with me, and I can always choose my response. If I KNEW Jesus was standing here watching me as I talk, as I act, it would be so different. Joseph was aware of God's presence, and that makes all the difference!

  • leslieaolson

    First day with SheReadsTruth – wow! Great stuff here today
    1. A little nugget (Potiphars house was blessed because of Joseph…we see evil people or non Jesus followers overflowing with blessing and we wonder WHY? maybe they have an employee or family member who God is blessing THROUGH them)
    2. The girl with integrity at the lunch table wasn't try to appear more holy or self-righteous – BOOM! too many times my motives for doing the right thing are not this pure, not even half this pure – great great application.
    Thanks ladies of SheReadsTruth – I'm excited to join this party!

    • mimikarenb

      Welcome Leslie! this is my first SRT study too and I am amazed at how I have been ministered to . .. . both by the devotions and by the awesome sharing on the board. I am caring for my Dad who is 89 and has dementia . . can't be left alone, so I can't actually get out to go to a Bible study, but this is as refreshing to my soul, and I am so thankful!

    • SheReadsTruth

      Welcome, Leslie! So glad you joined the party today:)


  • "How could I do such a great evil and sin against God?" Joseph asked Potipher's wife.

    Isn't it something that Joseph didn't just respond: "Sorry, Ms. Potipher, can't do that"…but that he instead brings his God into it? Even in such a difficult situation, Joseph uses it to point to his God, as a means for a testimony. Certainly 'Ms. Potipher' would have already noticed that Joseph was not only handsome and well-built…but that he seemed to have the favor of God – or likely in her Egyptian estimation, the 'Gods'. Joseph, however, makes it clear here: he serves the One God, the Hebrew God.

  • Wow. Just wow. When Andrea wrote that we are all capable of being just like Potiphar’s Wife on our worst days, the thought hit me hard. As I read the passages I felt such strong dislike for Potiphar’s Wife because there is nothing I detest more than infidelity. However, when Andrea used the example of gossiping to mirror Potiphar’s Wife’s sin, attempting to lure Joseph into sin, I saw that I was more like her than I would ever want to admit. The thought of this was so painful I could almost feel it. My heart sunk into my stomach and a strong feeling of shame overwhelmed me. But then to read that on our best days we are all capable of being Joseph, I felt such amazing relief! The thought lifted me up! It gave me hope. I have something to strive for! This was such a wonderful topic!

  • I have been SO blessed by the “Women in the Word” study so far. I wake up wanting to do my study and learn. I have struggled in the past to be excited about spending quiet time. Today’s lesson on Potiphar’s wife really resounds with me. I am so thankful for His love and grace and the fact that He is patience and good!! His word is life changing and sharper than any two edged sword. Thank y’all for a great study!

  • Kay Tallman

    Blessing on you all this week end. Thank you SRT,

  • I’m loving this sooooo much!!!

  • JferLynne

    What a wonderful reminder of how and who we should imitate. And what a great reminder that when we fall short, God never does! Another great morning with She Reads Truth!!

  • Courtney

    In the list in Proverbs of what God hates, it never once says a type of specific sinner, despite what Westboro Baptist Church would like to tell the world. Not to justify sin- sin is sin and sin is wrong. But the things God hates are specific characteristics that we can choose and use to purposely disobey God. I just found that to be an interesting reminder.

  • “Her motivation was her love for God and not her desire to appear holy.” I would add to that a desire to change others even if is to something good.

    When I am convicted by something or have some kind of revelation, I so want everyone around me to see, understand, & want to change just like I do. My desire to “help” them usually ends up pushing them away. I think if I can just focus on loving them for who they are now instead of what I want them to be or what I feel like they should be, then God will take care of the rest.

    It’s through God’s love & Grace that I desire to be more like him. Not his list of rules and condemnation.

    My prayer is that I can remember to look at others through the lense of His love & not my own. As much as I hate to admit it, my love can be very self serving at times.

    • arp

      It's so comforting in a way to know that there are others who are struggling in the same way that you are. There have been so many comments that I've read, yours included, and I just think… Wow, that's me too.

    • Rachel

      Me too Jenni! Thanks for sharing. When God reveals something to me too, I want everyone to experience the same revelation. Then I get disappointed if it didn’t mean as much to them. What you said reminded me to give the same grace to others that God is giving me every moment. I’ll pray for my loved ones instead and just love and accept them for who they are! Aaah, good to let go and let God be God!

  • This devotion is exactly what I needed this morning. It rocked me to my very core today and I was emotional just reading it. I remember countless situations where I've been Potiphar's wife, but I am so thankful for the grace and mercy of God that redeems us so that we no longer walk in darkness, but in light. As a young adult in this world, I see various temptations that I, as well as others, can easily fall into. We must ground ourselves in the Word to resist these things. I just loved how Joseph responded to being tempted. I think as temptations arise, I will ask myself the same question, "How could I do such a great evil and sin against God?" I just see the love in this scripture – knowing how much Joseph loves God and has brought him through so much. In the same way, I can relate. I've been sitting at my table, dwelling on this devotion and talking to God for 2 hours. Thank you so much for this devotion, honestly.

  • What must have been going on between Potiphar and his wife. She sees that the success of her husband’s household has nothing to do with Potiphar (the Lord is blessing Joseph and Potiphar is along for the ride). She sees that he husband’s only remaining concern is what he ate. So, he is not “manning up” in her eyes – her husband must have looked weak and ineffective next to Joseph. We do not know the intimacy issues between Potiphar and his wife, but if a husband and wife are truly satisfied with each physically and emotionally, there is no room for others in that union. So, the possibly neglected wife of a weak man looks around her and is tempted. She does not know the Lord. She is lost. She is drawn like a moth to the flame of Joseph. She is foolish, and she is wrong. She is willing to sin to suit her needs (and we have no idea if she even understood the depth of the sin she was contemplating, or whether this is a sin she is well acquainted with. She is wounded by Joseph’s rejection (maybe she placed a lot of her stock in her physical self, maybe others in the past had not rejected her; we do not know). When Joseph leaves his garment behind in his haste to be away from this temptress, she uses it to stir jealousy in her husband (lost woman who needed to soothe her ego — telling the tale that Joseph wanted her and she spurned him — to not have to admit to herself that Joseph rejected her yet again). She gets a rise out of her husband, and it gets Joseph conveniently out of the way so that he could not tell the TRUE side of the story. I know that the story of Potiphar’s wife illustrates the morality of Joseph, and God’s favor in Joseph, but I wish there was a footnote to this story. That somehow this lost woman found peace, and her self-worth outside of sex, that she had a marriage that fulfilled her Earthly needs, and that she came to know the Lord to fulfill her Eternal needs. I wish we could know that she was able to put her burden down — she would not have to lie and scheme and delude herself to truly know that she is worthy. Potiphar’s wife just makes me sad.

  • I am so grateful for this today. I have been guilty of thinking my sins aren't as bad as Potiphar's wife. I walk in good behavior most of the time. But has my heart been sinful? My thoughts? Oh yes. And that's where I've failed to be an imitator of our Lord. I've failed to talk in the light. I've been one of those gossiping girls at the lunch table. I'm focused today on letting the Holy Spirit help me to flee from sin, to walk in the light of Christ, to choose what is lovely, just, honorable, worthy of praise. And I'm asking forgiveness for all my failings, knowing He offers grace.

  • I always had the idea in my head that Joseph was running away because he didn't want to get caught or get in trouble. What an "a-ha" moment to look at it as him removing himself from that tempting situation, and choosing to be a light. I pray that I can do that as well–know when to choose God instead of the temptation of sin.

    • Me too! I love the concept that running away (from sin) is sometimes the most courageous thing one can do. Praying, right along with you, to run toward righteousness and away from sin.

  • cjackson924

    I loved this post. I had never really dug into the story of Joseph and Potiphar before, but when I sat down this morning, I saw a whole new perspective on the story. When I first read through Genesis 39, I saw parallels in my own life. Joseph was obedient to his master and ran away from temptations to sin because he knew that would go against his master. He questioned, "How could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (V.9). Then when he was punished, God was with him and found favor in him. This story showed me that remaining in God and being obedient, even when it is hard, is the best thing to do. I will face trials like Joseph did, but God will always be by my side. Then, I read the devotional and got another perspective at the story that was just as rich and meaningful to me. I see myself as Potiphar's wife so often. Seeing something I want, and then going for it because I want to. Sinning for my pleasure and tempting others to join me (the gossip example was very convicting this morning!) I loved how Ephesians was tied in this morning. I pray that God teaches me and gives me the courage to "Live as children of the light and find out what pleases the Lord. and Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness but rather expose them." (Ephesians 5:8-11).

  • So good today. Thank you!

  • Everyday is fresh start to stop talking bad about others, or doing bad things, and start being like Jesus!

  • Rachael Colvin

    Love this! May my priority always be to honor God and not appear holy to men!!! This world wouldn’t have the excuses of poor Christian behavior as a reason they don’t want anything to do with God if we had this mindset of Christian living. Thank you for the reminder!

  • Day by day we might and will fail, but I love these reminders that our unfailing God never ever will!

  • Thank you for this post Andrea! Something God has been showing me this past year (which you touched on when you said your friends obedience was motivated by her love for God and not a “holier than thou” atitude), is that, even in my obedience, I am tempted to sin. How often I obey with prideful motivation, for others approval or to please God. I find myself repenting of this and taking my eyes of myself and running back to the cross where I am reminded of Gods amazing mercy and grace! The truth is that I am forgiven, (so no shame, as a result of my sin), AND Christ has given me HIS righteousness (so God sees me as perfect, no need to win his approval as I already have it, In Christ!!). So the reality of the truth of the gospel humbles me and stirs more love in my heart for my savior! This is how our obedience can be motivated by love, because of the power of the cross! Thank you Jesus!

    • Sarah_Joy

      Good reminder! So easy to get stuck in the trap of doing in order for it to be seen. I desire that obedience to flow out of love and my knowledge of who I am.

    • arp

      When I read your comment, I immediately thought of myself. I have been struggling with almost word for word what you're describing. I know for a fact that I've gotten into this tail-spin/cycle of trying to obey but having prideful motivations or trying to keep/earn God's favor or love. Then, later, shame sets in, and it's just been very defeating and tiring. It's sometimes as if after I've seen how I've acted, I can't shake the fact of what I'm doing away. I can't forget, and the shame lingers. Thank you for your post, and thank you for being open enough to share. I can definitely relate to your experiences, too.

  • Thank you for using Ephesians 5:1-14. As others have said, there is such depth in these verses. And it's interesting how each of us pulls different insights from them. For me, I was drawn to those three words, GOOD, RIGHT, TRUE in verse 9. They reminded me of Philippians 4:9. "…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things." These adjectives have served as markers for me time and time again when I know I need to change my thoughts…even RUN from them. Obviously and sadly, not always. But like all of God's word, they are powerful and transformational.

  • Thank you for pointing out the choice to love and obey God when being tempted like Joseph or acting like Potipher's wife.

  • I can’t help thinking what kind of turmoil Potiphar’s wide must have been in to continually be willing to lead another to sin. I know when I have walked in a sin of my blatant choosing, I am dull to God, dull to His Word and dull to The prompting of the Holy Spirit to flee. Do we get that way? Do we get so set in our determination of sin that nothing can convict us?
    My heart hurts for so many things lately. I find myself reading about something and I am confronted with my own depravity. I want things my way. I need to express my opinion about everything regardless of the consequences to others. I am selfish. The list goes on. I’m not in a bad place with God-quite the contrary. All this has pointed out that ALL OF US NEED JESUS. We cannot be without sin without God’s love, the redemption from Jesus and the guiding of the Holy Spirit. On my own, I will fail.
    Potiphar’s wife was wrong, very wrong in going after Joseph. But so am I. Yes, I need to follow the example set by Joseph when I am faced with sin and flee. But I also need to look at my own actions and make sure I am not the one causing others to sin. I need to flee then too-right into the arms of Jesus.

  • Amen! Amen! Amen!

  • patricia

    very good!! I never thought about her until now!! We all have sinned I have for sure. Maybe she came to know his God just by what he did????

  • Rachael Adriel

    So good.

  • lauraloewen1221

    My 4-year-old daughter was just doing the Bible App for Kids yesterday on the Joseph lesson. My Dad, visiting from out-of-state, and I briefly mentioned something about Potiphar's wife. I made some snarky remark, and my Dad quickly responded: "Well, David wasn't exactly perfect either…"

    Of course, I had my "Biblical reasons" why those two were entirely different. But, really, it often feels good (yet so horrible to admit out loud or in type) to put others down.

    Somehow, we're better than them.

    Somehow, we'd NEVER do what they did. (Which, is entirely untrue in my case.)

    And while Potiphar's wife's song MAY have been "Golddigger" by Kayne….(Go 'head, girl. Go 'head and get down…sorry.) ;) I shutter to think what my soundtrack is at times.

    If we want to live holy lives, we really must focus on living for and like Christ. Living above reproach, and setting our minds on things above. I so long for others to see that in me. Not that I'm anything special, but that the One who lives in me IS.

    • CBear

      Absolutely loved your post, and I completely agree! I have been working on trying to be more Christ-like. Trying to be kinder to all individuals, trying not to put others down, and I have to admit it is not an easy feat. Especially when you are around individuals who gossip or like to talk negatively of people. One thing that I have been doing if I am around people who say something to belittle another person is that I try to say something to let them shine bright. If we all worked on supporting one another and showing more compassion or empathy, I think we all would be happier!!

      As a mom to two little kiddos I especially dislike when other moms put each other down over the silliest of things. We should be a support system for each other. I always keep this in the front of my mind – Every situation and child is different. I have to admit I have found it difficult to make friends who are moms because they all seem to talk about each other and compare children. While it might be an assumption… I oftentimes think – If they’re speaking this way about others in front of me, then they’re most likely speaking this way about me in front of others. While it might be silly, as a stay at home mom, I pray that I find friends for my young children who are being raised with a strong Christian background, and that I make some similar friends along the way too!! Have a good day!!

      • ann

        I can so relate to this. I find myself not wanting to be around my friends who continually gossip and tear others down…I'm not perfect and I've even participated in these things, but the older I get and closer I become to Jesus, I don't want to have this kind of speech. It is very hard to fill the silence, after an unkind word is spoken. I find myself asking God to help me reply with something good and edifying instead. He has made me sensitive to these things, but its so hard sometimes because I don't want to come across as snobby. Any suggestions on this ladies?

        ssuggestions on these situations, ladies

        • SusieT

          I, too, can relate, CBear and Ann. Certainly every situation with friends is different, but next time a friend says something critical about someone else, you might prayerfully consider letting there be a brief silence, and then – in a natural way – changing the subject. This isn't to say that there won't be occasions when God prompts you to instead respond kindly, pointing out something nice about the person just maligned in conversation. But I have found that there are times when a brief silence and a changing of discussion subjects can speak volumes…. And pray, PRAY for the Lord to Himself convict your friends – as he has me, certainly – and still does! – the detriment of gossip, and His displeasure in it.

    • appledees

      Best reminder today: "What would my soundtrack be/my theme music???" Thank you.

  • Joseph's demonstration of love and obedience to God (I think) is a foreshadow of Christ ultimate love. Christ gave up everything / sacrificed all for US. He was and is the sinless, perfect and the true example to IMITATE. Did you catch it? We are BELOVED (Eph. 5:1), but this great love comes to us with an intimately greater cost than we will ever experience. I'm thinking John 15:13, "greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."

    So as we can see ourselves at times as Potiphars wife, may this one word in Ephesians 5:1 call us away from her and to Him…and the word is BE.

    I don't see this as an option if we are His children.

  • Great word today! Each day we are presented with choice after choice…in our relationships, our conversations, our parenting, and so on. Oh how I want to choose well each time. Sometimes its easy and sometimes harder. Thankful that we can ask the Holy Spirit to help & guide us. Even in our not so good decisions…God is faithful to us. We never have to walk alone…and that brings me peace.

  • Christina

    God’s love changes us. He changes our heart. His love changes our desires and informs our self-control. Yet, we can be cruising right along, withstanding temptation by His power and because of His love, and SMACK! We come face to face with a circumstance so out of the norm that temptation creeps in a different door and finds our unprotected place. And we become Potiphar’s wife… to our husbands, to our friends, to our children, to ourselves. But God…. if we never find the cracks through which temptation is allowed to seep, we don’t learn new areas in which we have to trust Him. Our God is a good and holy God. He does not leave sin unaddressed, nor does He waste sin as completely inconsequential (in the grand scheme of His grace and eternity. This statement probably deserves further explanation. Hopefully my heart comes across here.) Rather, our good God reveals our against-God-ness to us by the often unnoticed presence of temptation and sin. And then He redeems our responses, preferably before, but often after we respond.

    I’m not really sure why I share this here this morning, but God is certainly dealing with my heart. Happy Friday, ladies!

    • Kelly S

      To steal a line from Joseph, what you intended for evil, God intended for good. He can use even our mistakes to bring good to us and glory to Himself.

    • Jennifer

      So thankful God put it on your heart to share. Amen!

    • Angela

      God is certainly dealing with my heart, too. Your entire comment speaks to my soul, but especially this: "But God…. if we never find the cracks through which temptation is allowed to seep, we don't learn new areas in which we have to trust Him. Our God is a good and holy God. He does not leave sin unaddressed, nor does He waste sin as completely inconsequential (in the grand scheme of His grace and eternity." I am learning to trust Him in ways I once thought I could not, had it not been for those cracks being exposed. Although painful to see them there at times, I have learned to be grateful for them anyhow because it has drawn me closer to my Father. Thank you so much for sharing, Christina!

    • Michelle

      “…Temptation creeps in a different door and finds our unprotected place”- so insightful and so true. Love thinking about this- how we should be on guard at all times, lest give the devil an unexpected and undetected foothold.

  • Michelle humbert

    this was so good!i have always skimmed right past Potiphers wife until today.How often I give into temptation.i want what I want when I want and just give in.Not taking others into accountOr I am drawn to the light in someone i.e.someone God has given freedom in their health and I get jealous or give into temptation instead of praying for and walking in the light God has given me.
    I wonder if Potiphers wife thought she deserved the rights to Joseph.She deserved the chance for him and it didn't matter what it took.How many times do I think I deserve what I want.Forgive me Jesus.Help me overcome temptation!

  • Lord, help me to be Joseph when struck with temptation – and forgive me when I act like Potiphar’s wife – which I do far more often than I should!

  • Caroline @ In due time

    Thanks for the reminder to be obedient out of love, not because of pride or trying to be holy.

  • Pam.Seipp

    Reflecting on the devotion today I see myself in both Potifer's wife and in Joseph. Struggling to be like Joseph I am guilty of being one who has sown discord among others (though not like Potifer in the story). Knowing and Believing that like with Joseph, the Lord is with me and I can walk in both light and love as a child of God.

  • I loved the perspective of both… I had never really considered Potiphar very much- just the one to be avoided in the story. How often do I do that with others… Avoiding those who need him most? Pride sneaks into my heart sometimes this way. Great devo1

  • Kelly_Smith

    Joseph and Potiphar's wife stand in stark contrast to one another. Light and darkness. Good versus evil. Accounts like this cause us to choose a side, pick a character with which to identify. Rising above the minutiae of the story, you see God as the main character. It is His light that exposes the darkness. "But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible" (Eph 5:13). Whether we identify with Joseph or Potiphar's wife, we all have traces of darkness that are exposed in The Light. Believers (me included) easily fall into the trap of lateral comparison–my sin is not as bad as *their* sin. When we see our life through the Light of God's word, however, our righteousness is as filthy rags. This truth shuts down my judgements and criticisms. If not for the righteousness of Christ, I become the woman curled up on her couch with a coat of deceit.

  • Convicting, yes. But God’s mercy… when we come running to Him and he offers it to us freely… such magnitude!! Potiphar’s wife got sucked in, like we all do so easily, but we know with confidence that His mercies are redeeming, new, and enough for all of my sin, all of my selfishness, all of everything! And I can run to him, run and escape into the cleft of His shelter.

  • I have to say that I can relate to both Potiphar’s wife (when I was young and foolish) AND to Joseph (falsely accused and punished for something he didn’t do).

    It’s not an easy thing to wrap our heads around that God will allow bad things to happen to people who are faithful to Him. Yet He ALWAYS uses our circumstances to bring glory and honor to His Name.

    • cjackson924

      I love that Genesis 39:23 says "The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph's care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did." I love that even when Joseph is facing earthly punishment for something he didn't do (or being punished for doing the right thing!), God is still with him and "showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden." (V. 21). This section of the story gives me so much hope and courage knowing that God will be there no matter what. If I decide to obey him and remain faithful like Joseph, God will be there every step of the way.

  • Great reminder that no matter our situation we must react as Christ would. I’ve heard a pastor say that if we squeeze an orange we expect orange juice to come out, if apple juice came out that would be weird. Same thing for us as Christians if we are squeezed and anything but Christ comes out, that’s weird. :)

  • carlybenson

    As I read the passage I was thinking that I've related in some way to all the other women we've looked at but this is one woman in the word that I don't have any sympathy for. Then I read the devotional and was challenged that I am just like one of those girls gossiping around the lunch table and while I may not have done what she did I probably do relate to Potiphar's wife more than I'd like to think.
    I love the verse in Ephesians- "this light within you produces only what is good and right and true". We are called to imitate God but, just as we looked at in the fruit of the Spirit study, it is his work within us that produces the goodness. It does not all rely on our efforts.

    • Jackie

      I agree! This was great because it gave me a new angle from which to view Potiphar’s wife and her actions. This is why I love God’s word. Each story is a bottomless well of his Glory, Love, Grace. No matter which way you look at it, its always there!

    • Lee Ann

      I felt the same way when her "name" popped up in the the window for today. What can I learn from her? Oh, how self-righteous of me! But God tapped on the shoulder of my heart and whispered, "Shhh…listen to me, my child," for it is God himself from whom I am to learn. He arranges circumstances and situations to show me what I otherwise could or would not comprehend or embrace.

  • Candacejo

    So many times we need to be Joseph and just remove ourselves from inappropriate situations. Even if it is not the popular thing to do. By staying in a compromising situation, or a POSSIBLE compromising situation, we not only put our own souls and reputations at risk but we also may cause another brother or sister to stumble by OUR actions.

    When everyone else is doing it, and they might even go to church with you, but the Holy Spirit is nudging otherwise? Run like Joseph! "Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of the evil. Avoid it; do not go on it; TURN AWAY from it and pass on." Proverbs 4:14-15 ESV.

    We need the influence of the WORD so when we do face tempting situations we will have our minds rooted and grounded in spiritual things, not worldly things. (Preaching to ME!!) "Set your minds on things above, not on the things that are on the earth." Colossians 3:2.

    It's Friday! Praying you all have a blessed weekend and great church! ♥

  • It's easy to vilify Potiphar's wife, but I can relate to her desperation. She was determined to satisfy her own emptiness no matter how who else got hurt. And really, I've committed that sin many times. I may not have approached another man like this, but I've chosen to soothe my own hurt at other people's expense in other ways. Even if it was less dramatic, or I convinced myself no one noticed, my selfishness has hurt people I could have chosen to bless.
    I also appreciated your observation about Joseph running away. Usually we think of running away from trouble as a cowardly response, but sometimes, it's the most courageous thing you can do.

    • melindawatters

      Thanks for this insight Hannah. I too have committed that sin.

    • aolani

      Me too. Praising God for His mercy, forgiveness, redemption, victory, empowerment, grace in our lives. So easy for me to lay guilt upon guilt upon self, but guilt is not of God. Thank You Lord for being Good, and for being FOR us…always. For Your glory Lord.

  • Ashley Aylsworth

    This passage brought me back to one of my favorites, the Sermon on the Mount SRT study:

    Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (‭Matthew‬ ‭5‬:‭8-10‬ NIV)

    Yes, let’s be peacemakers! Yes, let’s be humble and pure in heart! Yes, let’s be merciful! But let’s not believe that our goodness saves us, for we know our ultimate “blessedness” comes only through Jesus Christ. He is not just at the top of our list; He IS the list!

  • Angela D

    This was a great devotional. Being a fairly new Christian, who fails more than I care to admit, it helps to be reminded that we all have times where we fall short. But even with all of our failures, God knows our hearts and he will be there EVERY time to pick us right back up again!!

    • Anna

      So true! I am a baby Christian as well as it is a nice reminder that even when I am not good. God is Good. ALWAYS

    • Nalini Rhea

      Angela, we ALL fail on a regular basis, even those who have walked with Christ for years. The key is truly repenting – TRULY – and asking the Lord for forgiveness. Christ is with us always, and will never forsake us. Keep on truckin', you are loved in the Kingdom of God, praise the Lord!

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