Flee and Pursue
In his first letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul wrote, “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:11-12, NASB).
Before a person can faithfully serve the Lord, he must be willing to flee, to run away from the sin and temptations in his life. In the immediate context of 1 Timothy 6, Paul referred to those who do not agree with sound words (vs 3-5) and to those who desire to be rich (vs 6-10). Paul told Timothy to flee from these temptations and to focus his efforts in a different direction. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul also wrote, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22, ESV). To the church in Corinth, Paul admonished the brethren to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18) and to flee from “idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14). There is nothing shameful in fleeing or running away from sin. To save their physical lives, most people will run away from dangerous or threatening situations. To run away from sin and temptations is to save one’s soul.
To make running away from sin effective, we must run to the Lord and to those things He desires for us. The Lord is our safety; He is our refuge. Running to the Lord means we embrace the directions and safety found within His teachings. Consider again Paul’s words in 1 Timothy 6:11-12. Paul told Timothy to “pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.” Pursuing the things of Christ requires us to put forth great effort. We must not be distracted by the things of this world. We must not be slowed by the hindrances of this world. Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness will only be found by pursuing a life of service to our Lord and Savior. A person who calls upon the “Lord from a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22) will actively pursue that which will make him right with the Lord.
Not only must we be willing to pursue righteousness, godliness, etc., we must also be willing to “fight the good fight of faith.” In so doing, we “take hold of the eternal life to which” we were called and to which we “made the good confession” (1 Timothy 6:12, NASB). Fighting the good fight of faith requires us to believe in that for which we are fighting. A mercenary may be hired to engage in a battle or conflict. But it is a true soldier who believes in the cause for which he is fighting. We sing a song which says, “Soldiers of Christ arise and put your armor on.” As soldiers of Christ, we wear the armor of God. With this armor, we are able to “be strong in the Lord in the strength of His might.” We are able to “stand firm against the schemes of the devil,” we are able to “resist in the evil day” and to “stand firm” (Ephesians 6:10-17, NASB).
Lest we think fleeing something is a sign of weakness, consider the following: “Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you . . .” (James 4:7-8a). Walking in sin makes a person an enemy of God. However, turning away from sin (fleeing from sin) demands we submit unto God’s leadership. By making this choice, we boldly resist the devil and draw near to the Lord. Fleeing from sin and resisting the devil takes great strength and courage. It is a strength and courage which only comes by trusting in the Lord and Savior.
Consider your life. Is your life filled with sin? Are you spending your life following after the behavior and desires of the world? If so, then it is time to flee, to run away to the Lord and pursue His wonderful word. Choose to believe in the Lord. Choose to trust in the Lord. As you ponder these thoughts, please think on the following words of king David, a man after God’s own heart. “Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God. They have bowed down and fallen; but we have risen and stand upright. Save, Lord! May the King answer us when we call.” (Psalm 20:6-9, NKJV)