“….and leaving behind his clothing in her hands he fled and escaped outside” (Genesis 39:12).
Potiphar’s wife has taken hold of Joseph’s coat to restrain him so that she could lie with him. If we resist the devil he will flee from us, James said (James 4:7), but from the lusts of the flesh we must ourselves flee, else they will surely overcome us.
In contending with sin in our human nature there remains nothing else to do but flee. He who would be safe from acts of wickedness must make haste to avoid the occasions that give rise to it; a covenant must be made with our eyes to not even look upon the cause of temptation, for sin needs only a spark to begin and a blaze soon follows. So Joseph fled from the woman, leaving his garment in her hands. We had best leave everything behind than yield to the sinful nature; it is better to lose your cloak than to lose your salvation. If we are Christ’s, then every day we are exposed to great peril; the evil one will use all the guile of the serpent and all the savagery of the dragon to draw us away from the Lord of Glory into the realm of our fallen human nature. Flee like Joseph, flee to the cleft in the Rock, venturing forth for nothing.
Regeneration is a new birth, the creating of a new man in the heart, where another man has been; it is a miraculous work of God, but where this happens, there is yet work for man to do; for he must put off the old man himself and choose to dwell in the new man that God has created. That is the process of sanctification.
If we trust Christ Jesus, then it is a work in which He will help us through the Holy Spirit. But it is a choice that we must make every day and every hour. This work Jesus referred to as taking up your cross and following Him.