"Flee the desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart."
2 Timoth 2:22.
The great thing about this verse is that it makes me feel young... hehe.
Jokes aside, I still feel like I have plenty of youthful passion. Now obviously not all youthful passion is bad.... but in the context of this passage Paul is obviously writing about the kinds of passions that would lead us into sin. That's why the NIV renders this phrase "the evil desires of youth". However, I don't like the addtion of the word "evil". If I was going to try and expand on the meaning of this passage I'd add, "Flee the sins that your youthful passions incline you to". But this is going away from my point, which is to emphasise the word "FLEE".
Let me emphasise it a bit more:
When a soilder in an army is told to flee from the enemy because the commander realises that the soilder is in a mortal danger that will almost certainly overwhelm him... it would be foolish for the soldier to hang around and see what the enemy looks like... or perhaps wander about near the enemy's camp to see for himself... or to try and engage the enemy in some small skirmish and see if he may perhaps be able to beat him after all. Yet how easy is it for us to deal with sin like this? We tell ourselves that we'll be fine in the face of temptation... that we'll be able to handle it... or that we won't do it again... or make the same mistake next time. We allow ourselves to get into situations or face oportunities to be tempted by our passions into sinful actions. We hang about and just wait to see what happens.
Frankly all of this is not only foolish, it's rank disobedience.
The Scripture says to FLEE!
Now one may correctly argue that Timothy was actually a YOUTH and to a more mature believer Paul may have said something like, "now that you know better, stand against temptaion and don't give in". But somehow I think not (1 Cor 6:18; Pro 22:3; Rom 7:15; Gal 5:17).
As boylovers we are in particular danger of reaping some pretty significant consequences of giving into our passions even before we face God in judgement. If we surrender to the lure of pornography or decide to get a bit sexually experimental with someone we can find ourselves facing criminal charges and some of us have.... but the very fact that some of us have just goes to show that fear of getting caught and fear of consequences is really no protection against indulging when one is faced with temptation.... or (perhaps more realistically) oportunity.
Thus the admonition is to FLEE. Run away. Take off. Get out of the road. Physically remove yourself from the temptation or oportunity. Get up and go somewhere else. And go quickly. Don't sit about wondering if you can maybe handle it.... decide early that you are in danger and take quick decisive action to get out of there!!! When the trumpet to retreat is sounded that is not the time to say... "yeah sure thing... just let me linger here for 5 more minutes". In 3 more minutes you'll be dead (metaphorically).
Father, temptation is a very real danger for every Christian. We all have our passions. We all have our weaknesses. We all have those sins which we'd love to engage in ... if we only had the oportunity.... if only it was allowed. Help us to humbly and with Your love guiding us, 'pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on You out of a pure heart'. Give us the wisdom to know when our youthful passion would incline us towards some sinful behaviour and to FLEE from any and every oportunity to give in to it. I ask this in Jesus name.