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Four times in the New Testament we are told to flee. When we encounter any of these things, we are to hightail it out of there. We aren’t to negotiate or placate; we are just to run away as we would run away from someone who was coming toward us with evil intent. We are to:
Flee fornication – 1 Cor 6:18 – fornication is the physical sexual relation with someone to whom you are not married. If you are ever presented with this opportunity, run, just like Joseph did. Aware of how common this sin is, deal with it ahead of time by controlling your thoughts, your eyes, your desires, and your conduct. It is good for a man not to touch a woman. The union created in fornication affects your relation to Christ in the body of Christ like no other sin you can commit, 1 Cor 6:13-20. And it can rob you of your inheritance in the kingdom of God, 1 Cor 6:9-11, Gal 5:19-21, Eph 5:5.
Flee from idolatry – 1 Cor 10:14 – idolatry is the worship of other gods. Fleeing idolatry is the right thing to do for a person raised in the Roman Catholic Church. The Eucharist is worshipped as God, and genuflection is a violation of the second commandment. Get out of there; flee.
In the New Testament, covetousness is idolatry, Col 3:5. Covetousness is evidence of discontent. In Ex 32, the Jews were discontent in the wilderness and with Moses. They told Aaron to “make us gods.” When discontentment rears its ugly head, flee. Covetousness is the desire for something that God doesn’t want you to have or the desire for something that God doesn’t want you to have right now.
Idolatry is also being your own god. This idolatry starts in the heart. Flee from it.
Flee the snares of riches – 1 Tim 6:11 – there is a lust to get rich quickly, Prov 28:22. There is a snare in that. Poverty will come upon you. In all labour there is profit, Prov 14:23. Flee Debt. Flee the temptation to buy something now that you haven’t budgeted. Prayerfully consider each purchase. “A man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth,” Lk 12:15. Often, as riches increase, the worry and the dependence on those riches increase. Your trust shifts from the Lord to the money. That’s a snare from which you must flee.
Flee also youthful lusts – 2 Tim 2:22 – In youth there is a lust for hasty success, Prov 19:2, without adequate knowledge, and without adequate training. Flee from this. In youth there is an ambition. Ambition is a lust to succeed in a big way. Flee from this. Your success is in finding the will of God and doing it. In youth there is a lust for recognition. Flee from this. This kind of pressure can destroy you as you succumb to peer pressure. It’s also a youthful lust to run your own show. Only God can direct your life successfully. Let him guide you and lead you. Flee from the desire to run your own life. Otherwise, you’ll make a mess.
Conclusion: The right response to fornication, idolatry, the snares of riches, and youthful lusts is to flee. There is no other response that will work. The lusts are too powerful. Just take off and get away from them as fast as you can.