Be Like Joseph. Run.
“Be like Joseph.” My small group leader looked at us, her eyes giving away the pain and experience that led her to speak so earnestly. We all jotted it down in our notes, discussed what that could look like in our lives, and left for service.
That was in high school, and I honestly don’t remember when it was spoken, but I do know today it came to my mind in a powerful way. But first, allow me to explain what my small group leader was talking about.
The book of Genesis tells Joseph’s life story. That man is the poster child for steadfast faith. Seriously. He’s one stand-up dude. He goes through so many heartbreaking situations, but remains faithful to God throughout each situation. He uses every life stage to serve others and use the gifts God gave him, no matter if he is in prison or leadership. Read his story sometime.
But in Genesis 39, our friend Joseph is faced with a dilemma. His boss’s wife is really into him. She persistently asks Joseph to sleep with her, threatening his position in the household and attempting any manipulation possible. And if that’s not enough, she decides to take it a step further:
“One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, “Come to bed with me!” But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” Genesis 39:11-12
Be like Joseph. Run.
Sounds cheesy? Bear with me.
The reason why this phrase came to mind today is because I faced a similar dilemma. It’s been a difficult week. And I was on my third emotional breakdown of the day. And an old voice started to whisper in my head: “You should go grab that vodka and down the whole bottle. You deserve an escape at this point.”
Friends, I wish I could say I laughed at the thought. But I was worn down. I knew that it would provide a temporary escape. I considered it. But then those words from that small group rushed into my mind.
Be like Joseph.
So I turned my car around, drove away, and went to a friend’s apartment instead. I ran. Well, drove. But for the sake of this blog, I ran.
I like that there’s no explanation of Joseph’s logic, or any mention of a conversation he has with her about the pros and cons of the situation. Because that’s usually how we approach temptation. “Well, it would be bad because ____”, “It may not be the best idea, but honestly it wouldn’t be that bad because ____”. We rationalize. We try to put it through a system of logic.
But Genesis doesn’t give us any indication of Joseph doing that. It just says, “But he left his cloak in her hand, and ran out of the house.” Not to another room, not 2 feet away. Out of the house. He completely removed himself from the situation.
Maybe you’re in the same boat as me. There’s something readily available to you that you don’t need to do, but you’re considering it anyways. Be like Joseph. Run. Get in your car, go somewhere else.
Maybe you’re debating on whether or not to respond to their late-night text and make the drive to their apartment. Be like Joseph. Run. Tell them no. Mute their contact (or block it!).
Maybe you’re with your friends and they’re starting to talk about that girl who you have some personal information on, and you know if you share it, you’ll get attention. Be like Joseph. Don’t participate in slander. Change the subject. Leave if you have to.
Maybe you’re wanting to stay in bed instead of taking care of the things you need to do. Be like Joseph. Run. Get out of bed. Go make yourself some food. Get your laundry done.
Maybe you’re focusing on your academics and work life to the point you are ignoring the people in your life. Be like Joseph. Run. Make time for the people you love. Let go of any unnecessary activity. Embrace community.
Maybe you’re in a terrible relationship (dating or friendship), but don’t know how to get out. Be like Joseph. Run. Tell them goodbye. Delete their number. Remove them from social media.
Maybe you’re about to relapse with self-harm tonight. Be like Joseph. Run. Throw away your tools. Go to a friend’s house or a public place. Get out of your room. Go on a run. Watch a movie. Listen to some music. Go to sleep.
Maybe you’re about to watch porn for the third time this week, because you don’t know how to stop it even though you hate it. Be like Joseph. Run. Delete your history. Exit your browser. Go talk to someone. Get out of your room.
You won’t always be in the same situation as Joseph. And sometimes, the temptation you’ll face may not be for a blatant sin. What we need to come to understand is that temptation is used to guide us towards things that will ultimately harm us. That is why we need to run. When we run towards the truth, towards the light, towards an all-powerful Savior, we run towards what will ultimately heal us. So start today. Start exercising those muscles. Start running. When we make that our practice, it becomes our response.
Be like Joseph, sweet friends. Run. Because Jesus has called you worthy, and you do not have to struggle in the shadows.
Anna Leigh Mayfield // @adelightedmind
Hey, y’all! I’m Anna Leigh. I’m originally from north Georgia, but I’m now living in Cleveland, Tennessee. Besides Jesus, my loves include cats, Taylor Swift, and a good cup of tea. I spend much of my time outdoors or in coffee shops. Writing is a way I express best what is going on in my soul, and how I communicate what the Lord is doing in my life. One of my most favorite things is to walk alongside of other women and experience God’s grace together. The way I usually live out my faith is through relationships with other people – I’ve seen Jesus work so powerfully in community!