Just Ask Joseph: Running from Sin

Joseph is such a vibrant character in the Bible. Reading the end of Genesis, his life is exciting, terrifying, depressing, and inspiring in turn.

In Genesis 39, we see him as a slave in Potiphar’s house, put in charge of essentially everything Potiphar owns. And then he comes face to face with temptation: Mrs. Potiphar.

The Story of Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife

As you read the story, you get the idea that Mrs. Potiphar is not just some old lady. She probably isn’t covered in warts or plump, jolly, and wrinkled.

Now Joseph was handsome in form and appearance. And after a time his master’s wife cast her eyes on Joseph and said, “Lie with me.” (v6-7)

And as she spoke to Joseph day after day… (v10)

…she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” (v12)

She’s at least young enough to catch young, strong, in the prime of his youth Joseph by his garment. And she apparently is attractive enough that he can’t just “laugh” this off.

Neither does he stay to try to “reason” this out with her. What does he do?


But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. (v12)

Joseph has cut his losses and is booking it out of there! He has no pretense. He knows that this would be a sin against God. And he is willing to do whatever is needed to get him out of that situation.

He runs out of the room.

Learning to Run from Sin

I think we have a lot to learn from Joseph. So often we try to justify our sin. We make it out to be something “little.” Something “not as bad” as other sins–instead of seeing it for what it truly is:

How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God? (v9)

If we approached our own lives with such dedication to living for God, we might have to get rid of some ugly parts. We might have to feel uncomfortable. We might even have to run the other direction.

But in the end, isn’t that better? After all, if you’re running away from sin, doesn’t that also mean you’re running toward God? There’s no better place to be.

Just ask Joseph.


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  • Terri Grothe

    we can try to run but do we not realize he is everywhere and he knows all

  • Nicole

    I absolutely love this! My pastor dad use to always tell us to run like Joseph. So this definitely brought back some good memories.

  • erin

    This is a great article! I feel like parents and the church don’t teach this very simple lesson to even children… Or early enough. I have taught my children from a young age that when they confront something they know they’re not supposed to do, flee!

  • Susan Evans

    Joseph had so much integrity. I also strive to run from sin and keep as far away from it as possible!

  • Courtney

    I definitely think it’s important to embrace our identity and standing that Jesus has already given us: holiness and right standing with God! Praise Jesus God sees Jesus when He looks at me! Great post!

  • Andrea

    May we not be like Jonah who was running away from God at first

  • MaryGrace

    Such a great post! Absolutely love Joseph’s character and how he clung to the promises of God over his life despite what he saw.

  • Carrie

    I love this story. It is so true. When we find ourselves in the presence of sin or facing temptation God’s word says RUN. Don’t sit and consider the risk, the options etc. Just run!

  • Sheila

    If we aren’t running to God we are running right into the trap of sin. We all know when we are sinning or going to sin and I love that God allows us to choose, but thankful He gave us legs to run away from evil instead of towards it.

  • Tammy

    What a good example of applying a story from the scripture, to our own life! Thank you, and blessings to you and your family <3

  • Chelsea Bolks

    What a wonderful post! Yes, when it comes to sins of the flesh, God wants us to RUN for the hills! The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Let us not think we are so spiritually giant as to stand up to a sin that could very well be our downfall. Better to remove ourselves from untoward situations so as to remove any doubt whatsoever!

  • Aileen

    Praise God for Joseph’s example and his commitment to follow his God even under the most trying circumstances!

  • Peggy Overstreet

    Looking beyond the running from sin, it appeared to him that doing the right thing caused more trouble. He didn’t whine about his unjust imprisonment. How would I today react? Probably whine, without thinking of God’s greater purpose. That’s what I try to focus on, following Him through wherever.

  • Tiffany

    Wow this is great. I often resort to the scripture resist the devil and he will flee…but running is an aggressive way to resist, abstain and escape the snares of the enemy. Thank you for your words!