We live in a confounding world. We see people constantly running away from Truth, while claiming that they desire truth. You know, it is actually quite natural for us, in our humanity, to run away from God. We all have a sinful nature and even we who know Christ as Savior are in a constant battle to keep the old self in check. Like Jonah, we sometimes find that it is convenient to run away from the Lord.
But II Timothy 2:22 gives us clear advice about staying on course. It reads, “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (NKJV).
To avoid sin, to keep sin from damaging or even destroying your life, we must run away from our selfish desires and pursue the righteousness of God. The world beckons to us with temporal pleasures and it is very alluring, but God offers us the abiding peace that only God can give and also His love beyond measure.
Further on in II Timothy (3:1), we read that perilous times will come in the last days. I think we can all agree that our nation, our world, is a dangerous, sometimes terrifying, place. We look around and this wonderful world that God gave us seems to be buzzing with violence and unrest.
The third chapter of II Timothy goes on to describe the things that will go on during these last days and it sounds like a depiction of today.
So what’s the point? Here it is: Christians must be avoiding sin and showing the world the difference that Christ makes. This is serious business. That’s why God says we have to flee our lusts so that we can live right and show others what Christ does when we put Him first. When the world looks at us, it needs to see Christ alive in our words and deeds.
But sin will stop you from living right. In fact, sin will stop you dead in your tracks when it comes to finishing the unfinished work that God has for you. You see, as a believer, God has a plan for you and has called you to a greater work. That’s why it is so important to keep God at the center of your life, the center of your day — every day. Here’s what we all must commit to in order to keep sin at bay: getting alone in the Word; hiding His Word in our hearts; truly communing with God; living out our faith for Him in humility and love for others.
I write this column today in hopes that it will encourage you to focus more and more on God. Our families, our churches, our communities need Christians who are living right for Christ. In an ugly world, we have the only truly beautiful thing to communicate — and that is the Gospel of Jesus.
Christians must become people of character, people who are the opposite of what II Timothy 3 describes. My friends, let’s get serious about being representatives for Christ and living out our faith in total dependence on Him. People are running from Truth and it is our job to tell them that God wants them to run to Him.
Your friend in Christ,