Monday, November 12, 2012

Flee!!


"Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry."
1 Corinthians 10:14 ESV


Sometimes the Scripture calls us to stand our ground and fight back against the Enemy, like in Ephesians 6:13. But when we are facing temptation, the Scripture doesn't tell us to stand there and take the punches. No, the command is to FLEE. 

Does this strike you as strange? Wouldn't you instead expect the Scripture to say something like, "When you face temptation, just be strong and trust that God will help you fight it." Right? But that's not what the Scripture says. Multiple times we have the command to FLEE. Here are a few examples (emphasis added):
  • "Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body." - 1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV
  • "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
  • "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." - 1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV
Don't be a hero in the fight against temptation. Jesus Himself warned the disciples, "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) Basically, plead with God to not even allow you to get into tempting situations, because YOU ARE WEAK. You will fall. All you need is a push. Just given the right circumstances....and you'll cave. 

See, there's this prideful streak that we have in our hearts that make us think, "Oh, I'm fine. When temptation comes, I'll just say no, right? I'm a strong person." But biblically, that's just not true. It's like what Gandalf says in the mines of Moria about the Balrog, "This foe is beyond any of you. Run!"

What does it look like to flee? Perhaps the story of Joseph in Genesis 39 is a helpful case study. Potiphar's wife was hitting on Joseph nonstop, trying to get him to sleep with her. Every time Joseph refused, and in Genesis 39:10 it says he wouldn't even be in the same room with her. Finally, she grabs hold of him, basically forcing herself on him. What does he do? RUNS AWAY. Apparently he has a hard time getting away because in the process of getting out of there she manages to rip off some of his clothes. Yikes! Joseph FLED. He got out of there. He knew that temptation was a dangerous foe too strong for him to fight. So he ran. Not as a coward, but as a wise godly man.

So what might be some applications?
What does this look like practically in our lives to obey the Scripture and "flee"?

  • When you feel temptation begin to increase and you're alone in your dorm... LEAVE your dorm. Go to the computer lab, the student union building, a friend's room. Anywhere, just leave, now. 
  • When you're hanging out with your significant other and you're alone, and things start to get tempting, the engines begin firing on all cylinders... LEAVE. Go anywhere. How about Sheetz? They're open 24 hours a day. Get some MTO, it's delicious. But the point is to LEAVE. You are weak, and you're not gonna be able to stop yourself. 
  • When you're talking with a friend, and it starts devolving into an argument, you start feeling the temptation to say some things out of anger... just stop. Leave the conversation. If it's on the phone, hang up. Facebook? Close the window. Texting? Just power off that phone, baby. FLEE. 
  • Another application for "fleeing" is to enlist the help of some brothers/sisters by walking in the light (1 John 1) and confessing our temptation. This could be as simple as a text, "Hey sister, could you pray for me? I'm really feeling tempted with _______ right now." 
  • Can you think of a way to flee? Share it in the comments below, or comment in the post on Facebook.

Running away,
The Relentless Fight