Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. ~2 Timothy 2:22
When you think of lust, the first thing that probably pops into your mind is that of a man lusting after a woman, but lust can be anything that someone “has to have.” It’s a strong desire for that which is often not beneficial. Strong’s Concordance includes the definition, “Desire for what is forbidden.” In essence, I believe Paul is telling Timothy to flee temptation.
If you were to encounter a lion in the woods, you would not embrace it or see how close to it you could get before it attacks you. Most likely, you would retreat as quickly as you could before the lion overcame you. That is how we should treat temptation. It is not something to be trifled with; it is something to flee!
Scripture does not just give the negative, however; it also tells us what to pursue. As we run from temptation, we should be running toward “righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Righteousness does not chase us or knock on our door and ask if it can enter. If we want to be righteous, we must pursue it.
How many times have you heard, “Well, the devil’s really been after me this week”? Satan and his cohorts are roaming the earth seeking whom they may devour (1 Peter 5:8), but you have the armor of God which enables you to stand against the “wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11). Yes, God understands that we are dust (Psalm 103:14), but He will not overlook sin when He has given us the “way of escape” (1 Corinthians 10:13) if we would but take it.
Hebrews 12:14 tells us:
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.
This is why I am passionate about this topic. I want to see God. I want to hear Him say, “Well done!” when He sees me. Not because I was perfect but because I fled the sins that wanted to ensnare me, and I pursued righteousness so that I could please my Father.
Achieving the righteousness that God desires for you will not be possible if you do not put on God’s armor. If you are unfamiliar with this concept or haven’t read it in a while, I encourage you to read Ephesians 6:10-18. You do not win a war by being passive, but you must be diligent at all times. It only takes one moment of letting your guard down for the enemy to break through and cause you to fall. Yes, the battle can be tiring at times, but you are not alone.
As the song says, “It’s a battlefield, Brother, not a recreation room. It’s a fight; it’s not a game.” But with God’s help, we can overcome and walk righteously in His sight. This week, let’s practice putting on our armor, walking in the Spirit, and fleeing youthful lusts and whatever temptations come our way.