There was a ministry joke that ran between my father and me for many years. It went both ways, no matter who was doing the upcoming sermon. The one not preaching would ask, “What are you gonna preach about on Sunday?”
The answer: “Sin.”
The follow-up question: “What are you gonna say about it?”
“I’m against it.”
That ended it. Once in a while the original inquirer might add in the final note, “Good position.”
And we are. We’re wholeheartedly against it, or so we say. That is until it comes to that one field of sin the Bible calls conformity. “Outright sin,” we say, “we’ve no stomach for.” But conformity, on some level, with so much being thrown at us all the time, is treated as unavoidable. So, hate it as we might, sometimes, if only by a few degrees, conform to the world we do. This low level conformity is seldom cognitive. We don’t necessarily voice it, but the will sure processes it right on through, on greased skids. This, like few other areas of human experience, is simply killing Christ’s church today.
The first time I ever swam in the ocean, after high school, in Florida, I received some sound advice. It came from one who would know – a scuba diver on the beach.
“When you walk out there, sort of drag your feet. There are stingrays along the bottom. If you step on one, walking normal, it will pop you good. If you drag your feet along the sand, you’ll stir them up and they’ll swim off.”
I did as he said. Everything went well.
There is a way to walk, even in the ocean. How much more the Christian life? Far worse than stingrays lay in wait, I assure you. Safe passage is yours if . . .
The byline for all “Pursuit” articles is “a paper dedicated to the growth of 8-9-10 faith.” “8-9-10” is a faith-based philosophical statement that we have going on in our church. It uses the idea of the 0-10 scale. It would answer the question, “Where is your love and dedication for the Lord on a 0-10 scale? Zero is “cold as ice.” Ten is “sold-out, red hot.” If honest, most Christians score middle to left on that scale. The push in our church is for everyone to be at a 10. The 8 and 9 come in because of what it says in 1 John 1. In verse 8 and 10 it says, if we go about believing that we have no sin, we both “deceive ourselves” and “make Him (God) a liar.”
Keeping the goal of 10 as our every effort, whenever we momentarily miss the mark, let us never fall below an 8. It is our attempt at answering the question both honestly and biblically. But then a follow-up question needs to be asked. Why? Why conform at all, ever, even by a single degree? We’ll look at that in this paper, but more than the “whys,” we will be focused on the “whats.”
To my mind, here exactly are the “whats” that should be before us: 1.) What is carnality? 2.) What does it mean to be “spiritual?” 3.) What does the Bible mean by “conforming?” 4.) What are the mind-sets of carnality? The “whys” come in here. And lastly, 5.) What is the cure to all of this, if there even is a definitive cure?
What is my goal? To see to my own deliverance. Of course, if it lends itself to the deliverance of others (yourself), all the better, but I need to be personally frank here. So prevalent is the experience today, so strong the song of the Sirens of Earth, let me be consumed with my own safe passage. Not greedily, by any means. I say this simply because I cannot imagine a subject where it is clearer that one should not be preaching to others with so many dogs of his own straining toward the vomit. I have found that the deliverance of any soul leads to the deliverance of more souls. Victory takes people with it. It shows the way, to any who would care to find it.
What is carnality? The main misnomer here is equating carnality with sinfulness. They do not precisely correlate. 1 Corinthians 3:3 uses the word.
“For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”
The Greek for “carnal” is sarkikos, from the word for “flesh,” sarx. It means that which “pertains to the flesh.”
Sin rises out of carnality, assuredly, just as a dip in a pool will get one wet. Indeed, envy, strife and divisions among the brethren, all sins, were the fruit of the fleshliness in our passage. You cannot be sinful without first being carnal. True. But it is possible to be carnal without, yet, sin being committed or evident. Carnality (fleshly living or thinking) prefaces sin. Sins are coming. Trespasses are on the way. If sin is the unintended destination, carnality is the train which commutes us there.
The problem is stated again at the end of the Corinthian verse. They had their behavior and thinking after the fashion of “mere men.” That’s carnality in a nutshell. It is having one’s mental approach ruled by the human-us. Adam Clarke says that it is “living for the things of this life.”
Romans 7:14 says that “I am carnal, sold under sin.” That is a declarative, definitive statement concerning the law of sin within. It is – always has been and always will be – mindful of one thing and one thing only. Our appetites.
In one sense, there is nothing you can do about it. I did not say that there is not a bold road to victory. It’s just that as you find and take that road, the fleshy appetites and human approaches to living are not vanquished. That sort of thinking would be committing a grave error. That mindset will have you playing the patsy once again to sin at some later stage. You probably won’t even make it out of the month. When the carnal mind does meet its defeat, at the foot of transformative Bible thinking, it is just brought momentarily subservient to a greater master: the spiritual Christ-mind. I say Christ-mind, which is more accurate than Christian-mind.
The carnal mind does not start out its day sinfully. It starts out its day with coffee, toast, and eggs, just like when one is spiritually minded. There are no great wicked plans of deception being hatched sub-cranially. There is no need. All that is needed is a casual neglect of the spiritual things. More important, it is a casual neglect of the Spirit Himself. To become carnally minded, all one needs to do is precisely nothing. Just live your life. Brew the coffee. Fry the eggs. Put out the forks. Ignore the Spirit, even slightly. Merely begin the day humanly. If something is not done, if it also progresses humanly, then even among the occasional blessed thoughts for doing Christian good this day, carnal living will ensue.
You must know that for King David to stoop as low as he did required no great falling away first. It could have been nothing more than an average day void of the Spirit’s infusion.
What is spirituality? That Greek word, pneumatikos, means to be pneuma oriented. That is air or breath or spirit. This man’s preoccupation is the things of the Spirit of Heaven. Therein lays the problem with the dichotomy within the believer’s heart. It is all the earth with its many heaving, breathing appetites, the highly visible, against what? Air. Spirit. The invisible. We can say at all times that “I am carnal.” That is automatic, a given. On the other hand, only the focused few can say “I am spiritual.” That is moment-by-moment. That depends. Carnal is the automatic state. For the computer minded, it is our “default parameters.” Spiritual is the altered state which we arrive to, not wholly dissimilar to summiting Everest.
I equate being spiritual to “walking in the Spirit.” To me, they are one in the same. Walking in the spirit is having your being, focus, and preoccupation set upon the things of God. It is you living out God in your life, or better, God living though you. You are ever cognizant of His reality and presence, manifested by a willing submission to that presence. Walking in the Spirit can go beyond reaching Everest’s heights. It can become the building of a home there. We will come back to this.
What is conformity or compromise? The word “compromise” is not found in most English Bibles. Conformity is. The great warning against it is found in Romans 12:1-2.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
The word for “conformed,” suschematizo, is made up primarily of two words. Sun which means “union” and schema which is any “external condition” or “fashion.” It is used in 1 Corinthians 7:31 in the statement that “the form (or fashion) of this world is passing away.” Our English word “scheme” comes from it.
So the biblical instruction is to not have union with the human, earthly forms of doing things. Do not parent in a human way. Do not perform your marriage in the modern manner. As to the country of my birth, do not think, reason, and act like the typical American. Take a pass on all earthly philosophies. Do not find yourself in similitude to the values of your environment. If ever they do align, it is a passing fanciful coincidence.
I stand on a New York street corner nearby a calloused, covetous finely suited businessman. We are both looking for taxis. So, there is something I hold in common with this man, a worldly sort. A need for a cab. For brief moments in time, we are thinking the same thoughts. While waiting, we both witness the hotdog stand across the street being robbed. Using our cell phones, in tandem, we dial 911. Again, something else on which we agree.
But beyond a general union in sensible things, I should go no deeper, into “all the other.” He also has a certain taste in women, bourbon, a particular vocabulary, a way of dealing with the competition. I might, in a few minutes, find myself sharing a cab with this gentleman. He tells a “good one” that he heard from his sales rep. “You’re going to laugh.” He unravels such a story at which no one in his right Christ-mind should ever laugh. At that time, I should not continue in sync. We are prone to, even for politeness sake. But what is this, politeness at the feet of such a gag that would have sailors blush. At that time, we are to come out from among them and “be separate.” Politeness is the natural, human state. Avoid the natural, human state. Ply your every effort upstream.
I am to put on God and turn this into something else. I might try witnessing, even clumsily. It will solve my problem. I guarantee you that the subject will change. I don’t know to what, maybe not directly to the Almighty. I might find out even more about his vocabulary then I knew before, but, praise be to God, the subject is changed. It’s left the farmer’s daughter far behind and is headed towards the worthwhile. Maybe it will even be him now who blushes.
The Old Testament has a familiar phrase about not turning “to the right hand or the left.” It is used especially in Deuteronomy. I really appreciate its use by General Joshua at the outset of his conquests. With all that he could have said about battlefield maneuvering and the proper use of the lance, for success he focused on precision Bible. Joshua 1:7:
“Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.”
This is such an important principle of living that he gave it important reference also at the end of his life, in his farewell address in Joshua 23:16. He repeats the very same things nearly verbatim. It seems to be all he knew about life. Political life. Warfare life. Home life. Private life.
Being an old soldier, he knew what havoc the slightest deviation from orders any compromise could cause. Not going to the right hand or to the left, means not to vary in the slightest degree.
My father once told me of the tolerance of a ball bearing that was slightly larger than a softball, a 16″ Chicago softball. Not the puny things most every place else uses. It went to one of his large presses at Clearing Machine in Chicago where he worked. I can’t remember that tolerance, but it was ridiculously small. For such a large bearing, it was the statistical equivalent to zero. No tolerance at all. It had to be perfectly correct to the blueprints. No margin for error. So it is with Bible application. Do not veer in the slightest. Go crazy with perfection, even risking what some would call fanaticism. Everyone, except for that fellow down at the crematory, is fanatical about something.
Don’t entertain the foolish thought that something so heavenly could not possibly fit into interaction with the earthly – those crude boys down at the shop. God’s principles do work. In fact, they were specifically designed for such use. It will fit right in with what is needed both at work or play. Don’t worry about that. Indeed, it is these that are needed to lead us to success, even in the world’s eyes most times, but certainly always in God’s.
Over the years I have come consistently across several mind-sets that lead to carnality. We can get more specific than “the human heart is prone to it.” If any of it rings familiar, you may want to look at too loose of tolerances. You’re ball bearing might be waggling at high RPMs.
The Novice – I’ve a bit of information for you if you are new to Christ. It will explain a few things that maybe you’ve been wondering about. Basically, I need to tell you that there is nothing wrong with you. I say this in the context of you, possibly, having a few problems in certain areas of the Christian life. Maybe you have a hard time with some nagging old habit(s), or especially, if you are having difficulty starting up the new ones. You love the Lord. It is after the inner man. You desire to please Him, greatly, but your performance lags. Rest assured, this is true of ALL new Christians, especially if they were saved in adulthood, with their life already set in a certain pattern.
That was me, saved at 26 years of age. Not an old dog yet, but some of the “new tricks” still came to me pretty hard. I remember what it was like to direct, by myself at home, an effective Quiet Time. I was pitiful. My private prayer life was thin and weak. I was easily distracted from it. At times I felt simply powerless.
The experience of struggling with some of the things of God varies in its intensity person-to-person. Again, there is nothing wrong with you . . . . except everything. What do I mean?
Sin was with you, and sin is with you, the one wanting not to sin. Before you were saved, if sin had fallen into any sort of a pattern, the new patterns might feel much like fitting round pegs into square holes. You even lack the Bible knowledge needed to deliver you of the same.
When growing up in school (elementary and high school), I despised math. My grades were alright, more than passable. I pretty much understood what was being taught, that was not the problem. The problem was, I took no pleasure in it. Each class, daily in elementary school, was like going to the dentist’s office. The only math I felt I needed was the wordy arithmetic problems that were presented to me at first: “You come into a room with three apples. A rotten older sister takes one apple away from you. Your mother, seeing this, takes compassion and gives you two apples to make up for the one apple that was lost. How many apples do you have?”
I always wrote the correct answer: four apples. Yet, I wanted to put down, “Three and a half apples. In all the time it took for this story to develop, I started eating one of the apples.” Thus, showing my grasp of the subject, delving even into, ahead of my time, fractions.
But then, a simply awful thing happened. One day, soon after this fine start-up, things going swimmingly, they took the apples away. All of them. Then my page started filling up with numbers and addition symbols, and subtraction symbols, and division and multiplication symbols, and, “Lord, deliver us,” columns. Arggg. Even recalling it now sends shivers. Soon, arithmetic became Alcatraz, an island to escape from. I swore off the discipline. Once I finished the compulsory workload, I would be out of there, never to look back. This I did.
While loving God in the inward man, you will find many things of the God-life feeling unnatural to you. With your love for Him, may not always follow your love for it. In fact, all new Christians are carnal by definition. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:1: “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.” No “babe” has yet the expertise, nor the innate desire to accomplish every Christian discipline.
You might go over and read Romans 7. It will fill in most of the blanks on this subject. Hang in there, fellow traveler. It will come to you. It did to me. Suckle for milk. It will take you on to the solids.
The Cool Crowd – Their emphasis is both on “cool” and “crowd.” Liberty and ease of use is stressed with these. Obedience to all the counsel of God and “taking up ones cross” are virtually ignored. Those who do are called “legalist” and “rules makers.” Or they say that you are “an Old Testament Christian,” as much as an oxymoron as that is. They say, “The Bible would have us live in the New Testament.”
I’m all for creativity in the church program for right, biblical reasons, but not for the production of a Cool Crowd church. One pastor told me that his church did away with the Sunday evening service because people in his fellowship kept telling him what a burden it was for them. He looked me right in the eyes and said “Christ said that His ‘yoke is light.’ If it’s heavy, I don’t think that it’s from Him.” Whoa. No burdens? Nothing heavy? What sort of reasoning is that? Forget about night church for a moment, what about witnessing? What if I looked at it is as too heavy a burden for my little shoulders? Don’t bear under it? What about a bad marriage? What if I looked at it as too arduous to carry? If it becomes a major challenge, don’t face it? What about the dealing with a sinning brother? What if I looked on that too as needlessly burdensome? Am I off the hook? Can I ignore that also? All of our dealings and “reorganizations” should be based solely on the principles and plans of the Bible. “Ease of use” hardly enters into it.
The modern Christian parent is all over the Cool Crowd. They strip away nearly every ordinance of the Scriptures for the misplaced emphasis of being “the most awesome Dad or Mom in history.” The fall away rate for these, once they hit the teen or college years of life is nearing 100%. It’s at 90% right now. They’re conforming the Bible right out of existence, at least in their home.
The Philosopher – This Christian starts most compromising defenses with the words “I don’t think that . . . ” It’s all about what he thinks, not as much what the Bible says. He or she uses the Bible minimally and selectively. They don’t go deep. Or they keep things on the surface when it comes to the Bible (one or two misused verses) and deep when it comes to personal opinion. To this person I usually ask if they have studied “all that the Bible has said on the subject.” If they say “yes,” then I ask them to show me what they have learned. It’s usually a short conversation.
Mad Men – I don’t know the TV show of the same name, but I do know that the title stands for Madison Ave. Men, or advertising guys. Some churches today have taken up the banner and have gone off to win the lost and get back those who have strayed from the church as a task that must be accomplished at any cost, by any means possible. No holds barred wholesale changes. “Do anything to woo them.”
One church in our state is now serving beer at church, “one free mug if you come,” forbidding any type of praise singing (no music worship at all), and they’ve banned prayer. No prayers in church? “It’s a turn-off to many.” They might win some by such methods, maybe even a roomful, but my question is, to what have they won them? It’s certainly not back to Christianity.
Grace Busters – We live in an age of mercy and grace. The church as is called the Age of Grace. God is so merciful to sinners. Praise be to His name. Within His people, heavenly chastisement is seen. Yet, at the same time, so many more seem to, for long periods of time, not be fazed at all by disobedience. They did the deed and the skies did not fall the next day. These terribly confuse getting away with something with approval. They do not correlate. And by the way, the principles of Galatians 6:7 and 8 are as active today as they ever have been. Read what the Lord says there. Anyone’s abuse, in some cases, and neglect of the divine edicts will not be successful in the end. It is the glory of God that should motivate us, not what we can seemingly get away with, which is the thinking of third grade boys.
The Weary – Others know what is right, have stood up for that right for so long, but now they are just too tired to soldier on. Letting down one’s guard can be compared to a rancher taking down his fences. He’ll soon have cattle all over the county. These don’t care. Fighting the fight has worn on them. They sing many anthems: “One can only stand so much.” “God understands.” “I’ve tried.” “You can’t tell kids what to do nowadays.” But God does not understand. For this, try on Ezekiel 33. I believe that Eli, in I Samuel 1-4, had likely fallen into this category. And a terrible “fall” it was.
With all of the above, compromising results. Conformity rules. Satan, even in his post-Calvary defeated state, wins. The story written is a sad one.
Right about here, you might be saying, “This knowledge helps some. We can put precautions up, stepping along more alertly, but it does not quite save us from real pitfalls.”
Recently I was sitting on our couch in the morning, before the girls got up. It was a peaceful, placid living room. Sun rising. Yard quiet. Clock ticking. Very still. Then the stillness was shattered in a dramatic fashion. A police siren came faintly into earshot. It got louder, then louder still. Finally came the squad car. It passed right in front of our house, ripping along at like 65-70 MPH. One minute later the whole thing repeated itself with another siren and another cruiser. Then the room fell silent again. This silence remained.
Someone somewhere had compromised American law. Someone had transgressed. Would it not be helpful to us all if sirens went off in our heads every time we came remotely close to a compromise to a command of Christ? It could prove very helpful. I would only fear them going off all the time, stopping me from getting a good night’s sleep, such being the spirit of the age. No. Sirens won’t work. Is there any help?
These seven things will. I would so much wish to write long on each, but this is, after all, just an article. Lest I let the leaflet threaten booklet size, I’d best simply give them to you and let you to do the work from there. Wrap your mind around these:
1. That helmet of salvation – The first thing to do is to renew yourself to the facts of your own salvation: the person and work of Jesus Christ. The glory and power of it all. Stir up the first love. Is it possible, in the full shine of the redemption of Christ, knowing from what unbreakable shackles and holding cells the Master has freed you, the shine of such love, to compromise and sin? I say, as did both of those women at the Savior’s feet said in their day, that it is not. If we practice sin, our salvation is not being renewed in our thinking. We have gone afloat. The first thing to do is anchor deeper and surer. Take time with this. It will change you.
2. Vibrant, dedicated homes – Not only does “charity begin at home,” all the virtues do. Every last one. Home is the training ground for faith like no other place. Church only is its close second. Home takes the lion share of our time. It is there that we establish our routine. It is the original social order. It does not matter the number living there. If it’s just you (you’re bach-ing it), it is keeping the things of God foremost in all that occurs there. No man’s an island, no Christian man at least. You go to a church. You show hospitality. It is a community, and God runs that community. He is more than its mayor. Christ rules as King.
To families with fathers or husbands in them, the call is for the men to rise forth and lead. It’s not a “pushing others aside” leadership that you see “among the Gentiles,” as Jesus said. It is a good and godly guidance. Exactly what the planet is missing. Worldly Christian men are the number one cause for conformity’s outbreak. You fellas are the conductors of your family’s electricity, whether positively or negatively charged.
Remember, our attempt is to abide up Everest. Abiding is living. There’s no better place to nurture abiding than in your abode. Follow the sterling example of him who said (Joshua 24:15), “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
3. Principles are the highest good – Principled living has taken such a bad rap today. Many are absolutely repulsed by the idea. The spiritually minded embrace all godly values. The spiritual man articulates them, writes them down, reviews them, and, most of all, lives by them. Everything having to do with success is having the right set of principles in play. Wise principles appear as stony, party-pooping, caging things only to the coldest of heart. Wise principles find fertilization in three things: careful Bible study, a warm, receptive soul, and an inner resolve to ward off all evil. A firm adherence to principles, rightly performed, results in life, joy, faith, and godliness. On the opposing side, ignoring them will have you soon flung into avoidable shipwreck.
4. The Spiritual Disciplines – These are the practices of the Christian life. They are represented by, but not confined to, daily Bible study and prayer, witnessing to the lost, faithful church involvement, and the discipleship of other Christians. Many are shrinking violets when it comes to these. Apathy no longer creeps though our churches. It seems to be hired on to its pastoral staff.
Turning back to the spiritual disciplines is one of the first and surest signs that real repentance is taking place. Again, constant attacks and belittlement remains here, even amongst the supposed religious crowd. Those that take their cadence from Spiritual Discipline’s march are looked on as bookwormy and out of step with the times, which, of course, they are. That’s the whole point. Never forget that the book we are talking about is the Bible. Proud to be a worm there.
5. Controlling all media – This next one is a most specific standard. Media options today flow endless. Most television watching has a thousand stations at your disposal. Every game in every sport on every level, college to pro, can be gotten with the flick of a thumb. Netflix has every movie ever filmed at the ready. Alexander Graham Bell’s invention, the phone, can hardly be recognized as such anymore. It has gone so berserk with app options. Social media has outmuscled its spiritual counterpart – ceaseless praying to God. This media is everywhere. In our cars. In our restaurants. Bedrooms. Kitchens. At work.
Listen! You cannot be a spiritual Christian today, it is impossible, without the slavish controlling of all media. Heed me on this. I float in the same stewpots as you. God said to Cain, in Genesis 4:7, “sin lays at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” His was the want for one murder. Yours is a 100 murders every night on 300 stations, and adulteries wide, and pornography deep, and lies galore, and betrayals thick, and blasphemes high, and vulgarities low, endlessly so. The lid to Pandora’s box must be closed and you’re going to need more than personal resolve to do it. You will need divine assistance.
There are no roadmaps as to how much work lies ahead of you, your home compared to mine, or the next man’s, but one does know: the Spirit of God. It is the spiritual fruit of Him that carries, in its number, the one virtue that is needed most in this area – self control. You must present this problem to Him for His command and your submission. This is no simple matter, brethren. May God guide and empower you.
6. Wield an unabridged Bible – Know the Word and do it, all books, Genesis to Revelation. No editing. Avoid no active command. Do not shy away from certain doctrines. Set the Bible lose, off its chains. Properly understood, take it for what it says. Trust it, and not a little. The fight today is for the sufficiency of the Scriptures. It’s not just inerrant, it’s good for life. Christians today revere it as none other, save its source, God Himself, but they don’t act on that reverence. Hardly. Such is not reverence at all, but lip service. Keep trekking through the Bible. Know it more and more and put to work every morsel you find.
The three pounds of flesh of 100 billion neurons, that we call a “human brain,” processes, on average, 70,000 thoughts a day. It is our challenge to capture as many of those thoughts as is possible. We are to think purposefully, more than be victims to our thoughts. The Bible helps us. It transforms our thinking. It arrests our attention and yields the mind to Christ. It is then that the mind yields the life. “For as (a man) thinks in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7a)
7. Humble yourself in the sight of God – Sin itself is a thing of arrogance. It is the promotion of self. The Western world has grown in pride so that it has reached sacrilegious and preposterous proportions. There are no bounds to man’s sense of his supremacy these days.
Way back it took human knowledge some 1500 years to double. Now, depending on the discipline, it takes 12 months to 21 years. The sum total of human knowledge doubles every four years. That will also be reduced. What’s a result of this? We thought Ken Jennings would never get off Jeopardy. He was a 74 time Jeopardy champion. It took a computer to beat him. While facts are good, and the accumulation of them can prove profitable (Ken won $3,196,300), nevertheless, “knowledge puffs up.” While Ken seems to have his feet firmly down, we can’t say the same for the 21st century west. No one can tell us anything now, or our children. We know it all, wonderful us.
As to morality, it is now “no-holds-barred” footloose wandering in deserts. Mankind feels the right to everything both on and off the shelves. We are leaving sophomoric golden calves in our dust. Such is our acceleration towards independence from God.
Countering conformity is the denunciation of self. We must completely abandon all desires except one: that desire for God. As to the Bible and its principles, stand. As to humility, fall, brother. Empty yourself, sister. Do so and live. It is strange sometimes, how the way up is down.
Let us conclude the matter. In the story of Joseph and his integrity when it came to Potiphar’s wife, the Bible says, in Genesis 39, that it was she who “caught him by the garment.” Isn’t that the figure of us always? The world, with its paws on us by our left shoulder; God, unseen, tugging on the right. Who will win? The person to whom our spirit yields.
Flee young Joseph, now, to the right, quickly, before the bell tolls or cock crows.