Posted by Mark Lindley on 29 November 2017 | Comments

God created man with the freedom to make choices. In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve, and placed them in the Garden of Eden. God allowed them to eat of all the trees of the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The first couple had a choice to make, and they made the wrong choice, eating the fruit of the forbidden tree. As a result of their disobedience, they were driven out of the garden of Eden and away from the tree of life (Genesis 3:22-24).

            All across the ages, people have had the God-given freedom to make choices. Making the wrong choices brings heartache and sorrow. Making right choices leads to peace and happiness.

            On the occasion of Genesis chapter 39, Joseph had a choice to make. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph. She enticed him, saying, “Lie with me” (Genesis 39:7). Joseph was a young man who had normal desires and passions; yet, Joseph resisted the temptation, saying to Potiphar’s wife: “Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:8-9).

            What great moral strength and determination to make the right choice! Joseph had been sold by his brothers as a slave. He was far away from his home and family. Potiphar’s wife surely would not tell her “secret.” Joseph could have felt sorry for himself because of his unfortunate circumstances. He could have reasoned, “My own brothers betrayed me. My life has been hard. I deserve some pleasure.” However, Joseph was a true man of God and would not compromise his moral convictions. He remained pure because he made a “choice” to refuse temptation. No one would “make” Joseph commit sin. He had a “choice.”

            There is no doubt that one’s childhood and upbringing have an impact on the choices one makes later in life. Nevertheless, a poor childhood does not give one a free pass to live the balance of his days in rebellion to God. Many people overcome the challenges of an awful childhood and go on to serve the Lord.

            No one is ever “defined” by things that happened to one in childhood. Josiah was a godly king, even though his father and grandfather were exceedingly wicked (II Kings 21-22). Josiah served God despite the poor example his father and grandfather set. As difficult as it may be, people can still do the same today. No one will force you to sin against God.

            One can choose moral purity, even if one’s parents were immoral. One can choose to be clean and sober, even if parents were addicted. One can choose to be faithful to one’s spouse, even if one’s parents were unfaithful. It’s all about choices! “Chose you this day whom ye will serve…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).