The Lewis and Clark expedition had a great impact on this nation as well as on many individual lives. One such man was John Colter. He traveled west as part of Lewis and Clark’s party, but didn’t return with them because he wanted to stay and explore more of the fabulous land he had been exposed to. He was the first white man to witness the geysers of Yellowstone and many other wonders of the west. For many years he survived despite constant danger. Then one day he was surrounded and captured by some Blackfeet Indians. Instead of killing him on the spot they decided to make a game of it. They stripped him naked, gave him a 300 yard head start, and then started chasing him. The ground was rough rock and prickly cactus, and soon his feet were cut and bleeding. He ran for his life, though. Blood streamed from his nose and mouth from the exertion but he couldn’t slow down. He’d be dead if he did. One Indian almost caught up with him, but he was able to turn, surprise the Indian, and kill him first. After running six miles he found a river. He hid for hours in icy cold water under a raft while the Indians searched for him. Under cover of dark he went upstream, exhausted, half-frozen and nearly delirious from exposure and loss of blood. He knew of a trading post 150 miles away and headed in that direction. Seven days later he walked, naked, bleeding and hungry into the Bighorn compound. In that moment he became a living legend. Stripped of everything and against the worst odds imaginable, John Colter outran pursuing Blackfeet for 156 miles.
RUN! What an example he is to us of running for our lives, our spiritual lives. Oh that we would put that much effort into running from temptation and sin! If we see the deadly danger behind temptation and sin we would turn and run for our lives. That is the only appropriate response to that which would pollute our soul and kill our holiness.
JOSEPH THE RUNNER Joseph in the Old Testament is a perfect example of this. I won’t go into the whole story of his life because you can read it for yourself in the Bible starting in Genesis 37. Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers and became a slave in a very well-to-do household. God blessed all he did and before long he was put in charge of the entire household. Since his master was often gone, he was in the top position. His master was a fine man, but the master’s wife was an immoral woman. She tried to do everything she could to seduce Joseph (Genesis 39:7-20). When nothing worked and he fled from her physical attack, she accused him of rape and his master threw him into prison! What a reward for virtue.
Instead of quickly passing over the temptation Joseph faced, lets see what we can learn from it. Joseph was young, probably good looking and well built, and good at whatever he did. Thus Potiphar’s wife was challenged by him. It must have been her own ego that made her want him. She was trying to use him for her emotional pride and physical pleasure. It isn’t hard to see Satan behind this. He doesn’t know all God knows, but it wouldn’t have been too hard to piece together some of the clues (brothers and father to one day bow down to Joseph, etc.) and see that God has something special for Joseph in the future. It was obvious Joseph was a man God was using and would use even more in the future. Therefore Satan hit as soon as he could. He didn’t play around, he went for the kill right from the start. He used one of his first stringers (Potiphar’s immoral and self-centered wife) who no doubt was very beautiful and appealing (why would Satan use ugly bait?). She was always there, always inviting, always displaying her wares, always available. Joseph was like any normal young man with normal desires and hormones. It must have been a real temptation!
(The story of Joseph and his victory over sexual sin will continue in the next blog.)
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available for free.)