UV 2010/10000 Flee and Follow
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2 v 22
If one is a true follower of something or someone, he should also know what he is fleeing from or else he will make a compromise between the two, trying to keep two Masters happy and so make the most of both worlds. When St Paul writes of fighting the good fight and running the good race, it implies that we are running away from some things and running to the Lord, we are fighting for some good goals and against evil within us for the kingdom of evil is also in us and amongst us. Most of the icons of this age fall due to youthful lusts. Tiger Woods, the icon of golf had a secret promiscuous life which led to his divorce with his wife of many years. Al Gore, the former Vice President of the USA sexually misbehaved with a female masseur and that led similarly to divorce. In the latest news, Messi, the icon of football was sentenced to two years imprisonment for tax related offences. The list is almost endless. Lusts affect people without regard to their age. Lust is an illegitimate desire that leads to temptation and an act that disgraces us in the sight of God. Lusts are the arrows that the enemy of our souls fires at us constantly. We need to erect the shield of faith around us. We need to store the Word in our hearts in order to kill the evil in our hearts. We need to resist evil and pursue righteousness with a passion. As leaders and believers, we need to flee from temptations. For that to happen our spirit should always be on the alert watching out for the prowling lion of temptation. He is waiting to ensnare us and destroy our testimony, reputation, families and peace. The world and the digital world is loaded with stimuli to provoke people to fall for various forms of temptations in the form of pornography, sensuality, lifestyle ambitions.
With the same zeal, we flee from temptations or lusts of the flesh, eye and pride of life, we ought to pursue or follow the Holy Spirit so that we bear the fruit of the Spirit in abundance. The Lord delights in purity of heart for Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” An upright heart free from financial greed or corruption pleases the Lord. We need to pray earnestly to constantly appropriate the grace of the Lord to resist, to overcome, to flee from our inner lusts and external stimuli. The enemy is persistently trying to ensnare us and compromise us so that we cannot avail the promises of the Lord which enable us to overcome.
We need to recognize that our flesh is weak though our spirits may be willing to obey the Lord and His Word. We do not have a righteousness of our own but we are clothed by faith with the righteousness of Christ who also walked in flesh and was subject to the very temptations any of us face in our everyday lives. To follow righteousness, faith, peace and goodness is to follow Jesus and the way He paved for us with His words , teachings and example. As we pray fervently, the Lord will provide us a way of escape from the pressures and temptations to compromise. Being part of a strong and intimate fellowship where we share our challenges and having a phalanx of believers to pray for us are helpful to ensure that we do not fall to either pride or lust or bitterness.
Prateep V Philip