Sunday Night Musings: Flight and Pursuit

Here are Paul's instructions to Timothy that we heard at church last night:
Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. Instead, pursue righteous living, faithfulness, love, and peace. Enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.
Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. (2 Timothy 2:22-26, NLT)
When Paul writes to individuals like Timothy, Titus, and Philemon we get to see a short glimpse into mentoring relationships. Of course, the advice given is not always universal, but it is often helpful.

I appreciate how Paul doesn't simply tell Timothy what to avoid and stay away from, but he also tells him what to pursue instead. There's a contrast between running from and running to, between fleeing and pursuing. He offers good things to fill one's life with instead of just avoiding the bad. (This is the same approach I took in my book Cultural Enslavement: Breaking Free into Abundant Living.)

Flee from the things that stimulate youthful, lustful desires.
Pursue righteousness, faithfulness, love, and peace.
Avoid isolated temptation.
Seek out community.
Escape from foolish arguments, quarreling, the devil's trap, and captivity.
Run toward gentleness, instruction, patience, and the truth.

Again, we don't just run from evil or temptation. That just leaves our heart vulnerable. Instead we pursue godly things.

This, of course, is easier said than done. Simply avoiding is easier than avoiding and pursuing. But simply avoiding also creates a lot more work for us in the long run. Pursuing after something takes determination and perseverance, but it is also rewarding.

So don't just flee, but pursue. And know what you're going to pursue.

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