What are your motivations for loving, honoring, and obeying God? Are they internal motivations or external? External motivations involve concern over consequences and results. I love, honor, and obey God because I am concerned what will happen, or that I may get caught and there will be bad consequences. External motivations are us-focused rather than God-focused. Internal motivations involve concern over God and his glory. Do you try to do the right thing so something good will happen to you? How do you respond to God when you do the right thing and the result is bad? These questions help us identify if we are motivated by God’s glory or our welfare.

  • When was a time that you did the right thing but got the opposite result of what you were expecting?


6bNow 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.” But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, because of me my master has no concern about anything in the house, and he has put everything that he has in my charge. He is not greater in this house than I am, nor has he kept back anything from me except you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?” 10 And as she spoke to Joseph day after day, he would not listen to her, to lie beside her or to be with her.

11 But one day, when he went into the house to do his work and none of the men of the house was there in the house, 12 she caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me.” But he left his garment in her hand and fled and got out of the house. 13 And as soon as she saw that he had left his garment in her hand and had fled out of the house, 14 she called to the men of her household and said to them, “See, he has brought among us a Hebrew to laugh at us. He came in to me to lie with me, and I cried out with a loud voice. 15 And as soon as he heard that I lifted up my voice and cried out, he left his garment beside me and fled and got out of the house.” 16 Then she laid up his garment by her until his master came home, 17 and she told him the same story, saying, “The Hebrew servant, whom you have brought among us, came in to me to laugh at me. 18 But as soon as I lifted up my voice and cried, he left his garment beside me and fled out of the house.”

19 As soon as his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, “This is the way your servant treated me,” his anger was kindled. 20 And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined, and he was there in prison. 21 But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. 22 And the keeper of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners who were in the prison. Whatever was done there, he was the one who did it. 23 The keeper of the prison paid no attention to anything that was in Joseph’s charge, because the Lord was with him. And whatever he did, the Lord made it succeed.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. What impresses you about Joseph’s response to the advances of his master’s wife (vss. 6b-12)?
  2. The temptations you face may not be as flagrant as this. But are there any nagging temptations in your life? How are you handling them?
  3. What emotions would you have felt if you were in Joseph’s shoes/sandals when he was thrown into prison? How might you have been tempted to feel toward God?
  4. Why is it significant for us to know that God was with Joseph in the prison (vss. 21-23)? Why is it important for you to know that God is with you now?


We cannot control the circumstances of life. We may think we are controlling things, making things happen, determining outcomes, but we are not. Only God is truly in control. Joseph had no way of knowing that doing the right thing would place him in prison. Do you realize and believe that God is with you in your circumstances right now? He is right there by your side, walking with you through whatever life brings your way. In the things we like and even those we don’t like, he is there. Joseph was motivated by God’s glory. He lived his life to please God, no matter the outcome. 

  • Take some time to reflect on your current circumstances and thank God that he is right there with you. 
  • Ask him to help you be motivated for his glory rather than your welfare.