“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”
1 Timothy 6:11
“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those whocall on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22
Paul wrote Timothy twice instructing him to do two things:
1. Flee Evil.
Notice that the word used here is not “Dodge” or “Walk away.” “Flee” is a very strong word. I remember those flash cards that had pictures and words on them. The word, flee, is usually accompanied by a child who’s scared-to-death and desperately running away from a very very angry dog.
Having been almost bitten by rabid dogs a couple of times in my life, I know how it feels to be compelled to flee. Now, someone who flees doesn’t start running once the dog’s already hanging on the man’s leg by its teeth. I don’t just start running the moment that a dog starts barking. I start to turn my back the moment I see a dog-shaped figure from a long way.
That’s the kind of fleeing that we must do when we talk about temptations. The Bible wants us to run for dear life. You don’t approach temptation, stare at it, and expect to walk away unscathed. You start running the moment you see it.
2. Pursue Good.
Pursue is the direct antonym of “Flee.” I think boys can get a better grasp of this word. Pursuing good is a lot like pursuing a girl.
It involves going wherever it goes, being around it all the time, and doing whatever it takes to make it stay. You don’t take your eyes off of it. We can’t wait around for righteousness to fall from the heaven and force us to keep it. Righteousness, faith, and love require effort to get and keep.
Doing those two things isn’t easy. It is always easier to give in to temptation. Gratification is instantaneous. Popularity is a happy side effect. When you do what’s wrong, you’re rarely alone. But even if you’re not alone, you’re sure to be lonely.
Christianity is not for the faint hearted. But, hey! The rewards are eternal. And Christ promises that we’ll never be lonely or alone. He will always be with us even when the world leaves us.
So, the next time you feel tempted, imagine a rabid dog out to get you. From someone who’s reaped her share of the rewards and consequences of giving in and fleeing, I can say that it’s better to do what’s right. That is, to…
And that’s my two cents on that.