2 Timothy 2:22-23 King James Version (KJV)
22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes
One of my youthful ways was to start something and never finish. It has dragged into my older years as well. I apologize for the long delay in getting started again with this blog. There is no excuse to keeping you hanging for the next lesson. It is time to get the ball rolling again and I pray you will enjoy what God has for us today
There are things in my life that I just have to run away from. I want to think I can stand up and fight those things by the power of Jesus Christ. I want to believe that I can declare I am free of them and have the weight of those lusts drop from my shoulders. I want to think I am strong enough in the Lord to stay away from them. But the truth is that I must flee from them. Run as fast as I can when they rise up to once again torment me. These things have been with me since my youth. They have attacked me for a long time and I cannot stand against them. If I try to confront the, I will fall. I must run and run swiftly. That is the only way to overcome them.
Instead of following them, Paul gives us a few things we must follow after, or run toward as we are fleeing those youthful lusts. The word Paul uses for follow means to pursue with all haste, or to earnestly desire to overtake. It is a strong word that indicates we must go all out in this endeavor. The half hearted one will not be able to continue this pursuit. He will be turned back to his youthful lusts and feal that devastating blow of defeat. We must pursue these things with all that is within us.. There are few things more important than a pursuit of righteousness, faith, charity and peace. Let’s look at these attributes and see why it is so important to pursue them, besides the fact that pursuing these will keep us from our sins.
Righteousness leads the list. Following things that are good and right in the Lords eye will distance us from the things that are bad. Remember the admonishments in Deuteronomy 27 and 28? Those that follow after God are blessed. Those who follow His righteous ways have so many blessings they cannot contain them. They are surrounded by them and flooded with them. It is unavoidable as we look through the Bible to see that the ones who follow after doing good are blessed beyond measure. From Noah to Moses to David to Peter, all go from obscurity to powerful men who bring down strongholds in other peoples lives. They have a witness that transcends time. What can God do through you if you just follow after righteousness? How will you be blessed by this kind of walk? On the other hand, look at the curses that come upon those that do not follow His ways, listed in Deuteronomy 28. It is not because God curses them, but because they follow after the wrong things, their youthful lusts, and this is the inevitable outcome. Doing good and right things can only lead to blessings in your life.
Following faith is next. Why would we turn from this after we got saved? After all, the greatest gift God gives is salvation, and that is taken into our life by faith! Why would we turn our backs on a lie of faith once we got saved? It is the allure of those youthful lusts that turns us around. It takes no faith whatsoever to follow our youthful lusts. They promise fleshly pleasure and they usually deliver. But our soul is left damaged, and we once again turn to faith that God will deliver us from our sins. Faith is always standing at the door and knocking to open up and let us come out of that bondage and into the blessing of the Lord. Faith can move those mountains, part those waters, wake up those dead bones, and set the captive free. Faith can open your blinded sprit and deaf ears to the things of God. Faith can deliver those around you fro sickness, pain, suffering, financial woes, depression and all sorts of things that plague our flesh. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that “Without faith it is impossible to please God, but those who come to Him must believe that he is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Living a life of faith is one of the most powerful things we can do.
Following charity is third on the list. This is the same word that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 13. We will often transpose the word love in here, and that is OK as long as we remember what kind of love we are talking about. It is not the wishy-washy love of the world that is here today and gone tomorrow. It is not the kind of love that just gets a girl to say yes and is then gone. It is not the kind of love that gets an ”I do” from someone only to turn it into an “I don’t anymore” a few years later. The world is unfamiliar with this kind of love, or charity. This is the kind that says I will give my only Son so you can go free. This kind of love never dies, but instead it is there for us when all others turn away. This post could really get long if I dive into 1 Corinthians 13, which is the chapter that defines the kind of charity we are supposed to have. Just verse 7 is enough, which says that this kind of ,love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Without diving into all 4 of these attributes I ask you to go to God and have Him reveal what these 4 things mean to your life and your relationships. Take up the challenge of following this pattern and you will not have time to return to those ways of the past.
The fourth thing we must follow after is peace. Those of us who are plagued with youthful lusts are also plagued with the sense that, even if I do flee them, eventually I will return to them so what is the point. The inner struggle within is rages daily and we want so badly to go back to those things for the short, pleasurable gratification they give. It is not a peaceful place to be. And then the moment we act out again, the moment we tur around from our flight, peace leaves us because sin has entered in and the enemy of our souls comes to condemn us once again.. This is when we need peace more than any other time. The enemy cannot bring chaos where God has brought calm. Be at peace. Follow after peace. Do not let condemnation come upon you, for once you do that lust, that sin, will only draw you in deeper and hold onto you tighter. But if you rest in the Salvation of the Lord and turn back to Him, peace will once again enter in, knowing that the Lord has already forgiven you. He did that on the cross, remember? “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He has forgiven you already. Receive that forgiveness and walk in peace.
The last admonishment in verse 22 is to follow men who call on God with a pure heart. There are good men of God in this world, and there are bad. There are true teachers of the word and false prophets. Make sure you are following those who serve God with a pure heart. Those that are rightly dividing the word of God. There are those who retranslate the Bible to fit their philosophy, or religion, e judged in the last days and exposed for their deceit. I know I can follow my Pastor. I have never met a man with such a pure heart for the things of God. He shows love at every turn and will do anything he can to be a blessing to others. He follows those things that are listed above at all times. Paul tells us to follow him as he follows Christ. Can you make that statement. Do you follow Christ with a pure heart?
Verse 23 tells us to stay away from foolish and unlearned questions. Keep the main thing the main thing! We are to spread the Gospel, the good news of Jesus life, death and resurrection. We are to take the message of salvation to everyone we meet. Don’t let them drag you into a dogfight over eschatology, or the evils in this world, or why so and so had to die. Keep the main thing the main thing. Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby in a manger, taught us the truths of God, suffered an agonizing death on a cross and then rose again to heaven to bring us salvation and eternal life. All who call upon His name shall be saved. Tell them that!