I was thinking about this relevant analogy today. I think it's pertinent to all, regardless of one's belief (or not) in the bible. Initial Temptation- Joseph: Beckoned to by Potiphar's wife. Literally asked to sleep with her. David: Saw Bath-sheba bathing while on his roof. Commentary: It is quite apparent Joseph's temptation came not of his own choice (he was a slave to Potiphar, put into higher responsibility, still not in control of his situation). He didn't seek Potiphar's wife out, she clearly came to him. David, on the other hand, had not joined his troops in battle for some reason, and instead remained at Jerusalem. This is arguably the first problem leading toward his fall, but not a definitive step as of yet. He may have seen Bath-sheba innocently and unintentionally, too, although he looked long enough to recognize her beauty. Response to Temptation- Joseph: He refused Potiphar's wife. He had to make this refusal "day by day," and yet he did. (Remember, he wasn't in power to completely remove himself from the situation). When it finally got to the point where she physically grabbed him he fled. David: Whether he saw Bath-sheba innocently or not, the next step he took was a problem. He "sent and inquired after the woman." In our speak, he clicked on the thumbnail, he looked her up, he texted her or someone else to find out who she was. He still can turn back at this point, but things are getting tough… Outcome based on Response- Joseph: Thrown into prison. Ultimately makes it out alright. David: Once he finds out who the woman was… he ultimately sends for her and commits adultery, impregnates her in the process, has her husband killed in war, etc. You can read the rest of the story, as things just worsen… Commentary: I have thought about the comparison of these notoriously good men. Regardless of what got them to where they were faced with a temptation, they both had a choice to make, and their choices were totally different from each other. Joseph didn't even start the cycle of temptation. He avoided making concessions which could make further problems harder to avoid. David, on the other hand, made a concession that he still could have backed out from (saw Bath-sheba bathing… he obviously looked long enough to recognize her beauty per the account in 2 Samuel 11). However, he then made another concession (let's at least find out who she is). Still could have backed out, but he was already on a slippery slope at this point. He sealed his fate by bringing her to him (potentially could have backed out after meeting her), but sleeps with her, gets her pregnant, and ultimately has her husband killed in battle to try to cover his tracks. Not pretty. Are we Davids, or are we Josephs? I feel like the attitude/actions of Joseph are critical for a true recovery. (Again, throw out all the religion if you must, this is a parallel of human action I think is relevant) I am currently in one of the longest streaks in the last few years that I have been in. It's not anything overly impressive yet, but the way I am feeling is leaps and bounds beyond where I have been previously. I really am feeling nearly zero temptation with pornography/masturbation MOST all of the time. I attribute this nearly entirely to the fact that I have made my fight with the very preliminary temptations to avoid the temptation of P&M. For example, I don't click on a link that is not technically pornographic, but that I know will arouse me. I don't start to mindlessly browse tv or the internet, as this only increases the odds I will stumble into "a Bath-sheba," nudity, etc. I don't look, browse, or go places where I know I will likely see things or make me feel things that will lead me to want P&M. In other words: If I can avoid it, I try to. If I happen to see it, I look away. I don't watch it, stare, ruminate, etc. If I think it, I stop the thought before the lust consumes my mind. I have expressed many times in my journaling that instead of trying to stop the boulder from rolling down the mountain once already rolling, we need to take the steps to not even start it rolling in the first place. These more agressive preliminary defenses/decisions are what have helped me to significantly break and disrupt my P&M cycle. Believe me, it's hard at first, but it has paved the way for a total change of heart and mind for me! Keep up the good work, everyone! Wow, that was way too long. If you read this you deserve a prize. Give yourself a night free of P&M on me.