“Potiphar’s wife soon began to look at him lustfully. ‘Come and sleep with me,’ she demanded.” — Genesis 39:7
She stood there smiling. Waiting. Tempting.
A lunchtime radio interview about my latest book meant leaving work early. Since I planned to leave around the same time my grandson got dismissed, my wife asked if I would bring him home so she wouldn’t have to get out in the cold weather. This meant an early morning stroll to the elementary wing to let his teacher know I would get him a few minutes early.
I entered the elementary hallway and saw my grandson’s teacher standing in the hallway, talking, and imbibing on a donut. I followed her into her room and told her I would pick my grandson up 15 minutes earlier than normal. As I was leaving the room, another assistant teacher stood just outside the doorway smiling — and holding a box of donuts.
“Dr. Wiles, would you like a donut?” she asked.
“Do I look like a donut kind of a guy?” I said. Before she could answer, I continued, “Of course, I do.”
She offered the box, and I pulled a large dripping-with-sugar donut from the box. For the next five minutes, I relished the sugar, the dough, the calories. And I didn’t feel guilty. After all, I don’t do this very often, but I admit I’m a sucker for a donut, especially if it’s Krispy Kreme, which this wasn’t. A local pastry shop had bought a truck and was parking it in a vacant lot on one day each week and selling donuts. The kind teacher had stopped by and bought a couple of dozen to share with teachers and staff. I wasn’t about to be rude and refuse, although some who were still on their New Year’s diet did.
When it comes to eating, I follow what some doctors are brave enough to say: “Everything in moderation.” Just as I wasn’t worried about my grandmother eating a few Little Debbie’s each day when she was in her eighties, so I’m not too worried about imbibing in less-than-healthy food occasionally. I didn’t feel guilty, nor did I see my sugar indulging as sinful.
Joseph, on the other hand, had a larger problem. God considered sleeping with a married woman a sin. Wisely, Joseph didn’t try to reason his way out of the temptation — which wasn’t the sin — but ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction. Even when he did the right thing, he still had to face the consequences of a scorned woman.
Temptations come to us all. The temptations aren’t the problem; it’s what we do with them. Giving in puts us in the sinful category, but we don’t have to. God’s Spirit indwells us, giving us the power to say, “No,” as Joseph did — and as I would have had the kind teacher offered me a second donut.
Watching our p’s and q’s — and preparing ahead of time by keeping ourselves away from things we know will tempt us — shows wisdom. And it also helps on those days that are just donut kind of days. Days when everything wrong seems to jump in our path and beckon us to partake.
Think of a few things you can do to prepare for the inevitable donut days.