Stress and Temptation Will Come
And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” Genesis 39:7
I had one of those weeks last week. It wasn’t any one thing. It was just a bunch of little stressors that added up to make me really irritable. I don’t think I lashed out at anyone, but I was constantly agitated inside. My wife of course, could tell, and it worried her. Back when I was using, she couldn’t tell when I was using, except that I got really moody. So, when I’m in such a state now, it’s impossible for her not to worry a little. I can truly say though, that I had no thoughts of returning to drug use. It’s just not an option. I’m thankful for that, but it didn’t happen by accident.
I don’t live in fear of my addiction, but I have a healthy respect for the flaws that still lurk in my mind. I won’t be perfect in this life, and I’ll always have the potential for relapse. If it’s not opioids, I could easily turn to something else to find instant relief from the stressors of life. And stressors will come. With stress – death of a loved one, loss of a job, financial difficulties – comes temptation to turn to that which I know provides immediate relief. How have I prepared myself for the day of stress and temptation, and how do I continue to prepare myself for those inevitabilities?
Today’s passage provides some insight into the answer. In the story, Joseph had been sold into Egyptian slavery, where he prospered as an overseer of the house of Potiphar. Soon Potiphar’s wife took notice of Joseph, sexually propositioning him – Lie with me. Joseph declined – How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God (Genesis 39:9)? Joseph had been sold by his brothers into slavery and may have felt he had cause to abandon God, but still, he daily followed God. When the temptation came, he simply relied on that which he’d been doing all along – seeking God’s will – because it was a way of life for him.
That’s my protection. I found my new life of recovery by pointing my life at God and that’s how I stay here. Am I frustrated that I must continually work on my recovery? I once was. Now though, I’ve accepted Jesus’ command in Luke 9:23 – Deny yourself and take up your cross daily and follow me. Stressors and temptations will come. If I’m not ready for that day, I will struggle and fall. If, however, I’ve daily pointed my life at God, then I will continue to follow him. I like my new life and so daily, I will continue to abide in it.