In addition to telling us what to pursue, the Bible gives us quite a list of things to flee, or run away from. Chapter 6 of 1 Timothy lists some things to avoid:
- Craving for controversy
- Quarrels about words
- Evil suspicions
- Love of money
Ending with the admonition:
“But as for you, O man of God flee from these things.” 1 Timothy 6:11
In the first letter to the Corinthians Paul says we are to:
“Flee from sexual immorality …”(6:18)
“…flee from idolatry.” (10:14)
Most of these things, sadly, come up in everyday life. If you think they don’t, remember looking lustfully at another person can lead to adultery and anything we love more than God is an idol. That makes them pretty common, not to mention the “lesser” evils mentioned by Timothy–envy, quarrels, etc.. So how exactly do we “flee” from these things?
Well, we all know our own weaknesses. If yours is gossip, don’t hang around with the folks who like to do that. Take a walk instead of indulging in idle words with coworkers at lunch. Is it greed? Make a resolution to tithe or better yet, support a worthwhile ministry in addition to your tithe. Is it lust? Throw away the magazines and avoid the internet sites that encourage it. Read something worthwhile instead. Tactics like this are well known to mothers of toddlers and teenagers: we call it “distract and replace.”
Dwell on God’s Word instead of your sinful inclinations. When you notice yourself falling into quarrelsome or suspicious thinking, have a Bible verse ready for meditation. If things get really bad, call a godly friend you know will calm you and guide you in the right path.
Will fleeing always work? Of course not. I fall into bad habits of negative thinking and speaking all the time. However, when we consciously lean away from sinful behavior, in time an improvement is visible.
“..beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
Run from sin. Run hard.