Dancing in the Light

I John 1:7 "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin."

Location: North Platte, Nebraska, United States

I am a christian wife, mother and grandmother. I am a licensed Social worker and a licensed Christian counselor. I am most proud of the relationships I have with God, my family and friends all over the world. I have been blessed beyond my dreams.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Radical Response

I have been reading about the life of Joseph in Genesis 37. You know the story, one of only two children of the beloved Rachel, loved by his father Jacob, recipient of the multi-colored coat, a symbol of his place in his father's heart. His brothers are jealous of him, his father favors him, and God sends him dreams showing his future preeminence and authority over all of them. This boy, at seventeen, this dreamer of dreams, is sent to check up on his brothers. The text says the brothers see him coming and start making plans to kill him. It is in the next few verses that we see two different responses to temptation.
First we see the brothers, from Simeon, second to the oldest on down. They start plotting to kill him. When older brother, Reuben suggests they throw their little brother into a cistern instead, they agree. But when some travellers, Ishmaelite traders headed for Egypt pass by, they decide instead to make money off the boy and quickly sell him to these Midianites. These boys, all nine of them, were active participants in this sin. They were not tricked. They were not deceived, they were neither unknowing nor unwilling. They plotted and acted----they sold their brother into slavery willingly, and then devised a lie to tell their father. (Lies usually follow up our sins).
But then we have Reuben, the oldest, the one who should have known better. He seems to be a passive participant in this scenario. Yes, he keeps them from murdering their brother. But it doesn't appear he tries to change their minds about their brother, or tried to soften their hate for him. The text says Reuben planned to return him to his father. It was a good thing for Reuben to prevent murder. But, why not just take the boy back right then and there? Did he think his brothers would not notice he'd rescued his father's favorite child? Was he afraid of them? Perhaps he thought a bit of time in the cistern would teach the youngster a lesson. I don't know. But, it seems that Rueben's actions contributed to Joseph's new calling as slave boy. He is co-conspirator in the lie concocted to appease his father. (Even if he didn't tell his father the lie, it took all ten of them keeping silent to make it work)
Fast forward to chapter 29. Here we have Joseph. He is working in Potiphar's house taking care of Potiphar's business. He is handsom and good looking and has earned a reputation for being honest and bright and has now become powerful. Just the kind of person Potiphar's wife is attracted to. She tries to catch Joseph and seduce him to sin with her. The text says she tried day after day to tempt him. But he refused. Finally, she grabs ahold of his coat and he runs away, leaving it with her. He chooses a radical response to the sinful situation--he runs!! He chooses to be a non-participant. This costs him, he will go to prison for some time but he has faith in God and God does indeed restore him to a position of power.
It seems to me that we are faced with sinful situations everyday. We have choices when tempted. We decide how we are going to react or respond. We make the choice. Sometimes we are active participants. That really doesn't need much discussion. We know when we plot and scheme to sin and then go right ahead and act on it. Sometimes we are passive participants. Sin is all around us and we simply pretend it is not there. Or we may make some suggestions to keep it from being a "BIG" sin. Sometimes we may even make plans to go around the back door and clean up the mess. Nevertheless, just as in the story of Reuben and the brothers, the end result was the same for all of them. Being "caught up" in a sin has the same end result as deliberately plotting and scheming for it. And although Reuben was a passive participant in the first part of the sin, he was an active participant in the lie (also a sin). He had to lie in order to protect all of them including himself. He must have realized how lame it would sound to tell his father, "I kept them from killing him and had them throw him into a well instead, then I turned my back for just a little while and they sold him. No, I didn't go after him, I was really upset . . "
And so he participated in the cover up.
We need to be more like Joseph. We need to say "no" to sin. And when it threatens to get hold of us, we need to run. Sometimes it costs to have such a radical response to temptation. But our faith structure says that there is more to life than what happens here on earth. We need to be non-participants in sin--that is radical, isn't it. We have the promise of a home in heaven.
Active and passive participants also have a promise, though not of heaven. We need to accept that sin is everywhere around us, temptation ever present. We cannot choose them. We can only choose our response to them. Are we going to indulge ourselves, take part in the sin willingly and without thought of consequences? Or are we going to stand by and watch as our brothers participate, hoping to clean some of it up later, before anyone notices? Or are we going to respond radically and run away from sin? What kind of participant are you?

I Thessalonians 5:22
"Flee the very appearance of evil"


Blogger TREY MORGAN said...

Neva ... I like that Joseph just ran out of the house when he was presented with sin/evil. He didn't stand around and try and debate the subject, he didn't make a list of pros and cons of why or why not he should participate in sleeping with Potifer's wife. He simply ran.

I need to run more often.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

"We make the choice."

That's the key. The choice is ours, not matter the type of sin, the choice is ours. If we find it difficult to run/flee from sin, we have the strongest and fastest two feet in the spiritual world to carry us through the temptation. God is waiting for us to choose and He will go along side us, or even carry us through. Our choice.

Great post yet again, Neva. You are truly amazing! PTL for you and your gift!

11:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too often we think running makes us chickens, it really makes us smart.

Good thoughts

12:18 PM  
Blogger Brian Nicklaus said...

I don't know Neva, you sound like one of them church fanatic, holy rollers, legalist..
but I am with you, sister.

very good point

12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Run, run, run---keep running because sin will keep trying to catch you--do you think that is what Paul meant when he said, "I have run the race, finished the fight?" Just kidding. Good post

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Well, apparantly I am the only one who didn't run. But, having been through the consequences that came my way, and may still come my way, as the result of not running, I can honestly encourage anyone finding themselves in a situation like that of Joseph to run toward God -- because you can never go wrong when running toward him.

Thanks for the post and the challenge of making the right choices in times of temptation.

1:04 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Household: said...

I have been reading 'Facing Your Giants' as a devotional thought book. In one chapter, Lucado spaeks of turning to God alone. He is not critical of turning for wise counsel but is challenging us to turn to God. Jospeh may have had a shot coming in his braging about his dreams but he always turned to God. His brothers didn't. They gave each other poor counsel. God worked it out for His purposes and can use our mistakes. But, I felt convicted by both today's chapter and ths post. I have heard these thoughts many times. It is just harder to actully run than to say I need to run.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post and great comments. We all need to remember that God provides escape routes for us to run away. We just have to put forth as much energy to resist sin as it takes to commit it.


5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There were so many times I wish I had run, so many times I knew better. Thank you for reminding me to do better in the future.


6:03 PM  
Blogger Neva said...

Oh no Chris,
You are not the only one who didn't run. There are so many times I actively participated in sin even when I knew better. I only wished I had run before the consequences hurt those I love. I am so grateful for a Father who is so loving and forgiving.
I am so glad you stopped by. Your insights and comments add a lot to this e-discussion.

6:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it a sin when one cannot discuss his/her faith with others? In some areas of my life, with certain people, I am not able to share of my faith. Is that a sin? I am afraid that my running causes the sin.

I definitely understand what you mean about being a passive participant in sin. I think of all the times that I listened to the gossip, justified it by not spreading the gossip, but yet did not speak out against it.

5:31 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

Neva, your thoughts did not cause me any stress. They did, however, cause me to reflect on poor choices that I have made in my life and resolve to be more like Joseph the next time I am tempted. Wasn't that the purpose of your post?

5:53 AM  
Blogger Neva said...

Dear anon,
Sometimes it is difficult to know when it is appropriate to be quiet and when it is appropriate to say something. Looking at Jesus' life as an example--we see very few times when He did not make it known that what was happening was wrong. There were times, however when He was silent--but it seems during those times, He knew speaking up would, a)either do no good, like at the trial before the crucifixion, or b) He knew His stand on the situation was already known, like in the garden when He had asked the apostles to pray with Him three times, and right after Peter's denial. To say something at those times would have been a sort of nagging.
In our lives I think we have to make our values known, I think we have to say, I am leaving because I just don't want to be a part of gossip. I think when we say it one time, that we don't necessarily have to say it again, when we walk away the next time, they already know why. (It is really truly only uncomfortable the first time and then it is very empowering) We must be very careful that our actions do not deny Christ in our lives---if they do, the text says He will deny us before His Father.
These are just my thoughts, but there are many in blog world who are wiser than I and might have some input--so how about it guys--can you help anon out with this question?


8:21 AM  
Blogger Neva said...

I am so glad and yes that was the point of the post--a reminder for all of us. Thank you for coming back,
Peace and prayers

8:22 AM  
Blogger TREY MORGAN said...

Chris ... there have been times in all our lives when we didn't run and should have. I understand, bro.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Paula Harrington said...

When it's ok to run...

Great post!

9:11 AM  
Blogger Logan, Katie and Hank said...

Thanks for the thoughts Neva. "Jam 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
We do people a horrible injustice when we fail or refuse to share our faith with them. We have been given so much, how can we keep all of that to ourselves? Boldness in Christ doesn't mean preaching all the time. It's being who God created you to be and allowing His words to come through your mouth. Words of conviction, love and mercy. If we can't share the gift of Christ, then what is the power of the cross?

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My inability to share my faith is very difficult to overcome. The idea of God is not new to me, but my relationship with God is... and I'm trying to process it all.

Thanks for your thoughts Neva.

10:29 PM  

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