Flee when you can!
In the lands of Indonesia, Thailand and Sri Lanka, affected by the tsunamis not so long ago, all those who did not flee perished. Many hundreds lost their lives when they did not recognize the time to run for their lives and were swept away by the powerful tsunamis beyond their control. A child who does not know enough to walk away from a forest fire in Australia or California, and instead continues to walk towards it will be burned. So as children of God, we must know and have the discernment to flee from that which will kill or entrap us spiritually, that which will burn in our memories, such hurt and damage that will scar us for life, that which would distract us from our focus on Christ.
1. A leader should not flee to do what is wrong but stay the course to affirm the will of God for His people. In Nehemiah 6:11 “Should a man like me run away? Or should one like go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!” Nehemiah did not have the full support of the people and the nobles including Sehaiah and Noadiah were working against him. When Nehemiah was attacked personally, he refused to give in to fear and flee to the temple. It would have been wrong for Nehemiah to go into the temple to hide for he was not a priest. If he had run for his life he would have undermined the courage he was trying to instill in the people. Leaders are targets for attacks. Make it a practice to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1,2) Request God to give them strength to stand against personal attacks and temptations. They need God-given power and courage to overcome fear and stay the course.
2. When we do wrong we can never flee from God’s Spirit. In Psalm 139:7 “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence?” God is omnipresent –He is present everywhere. Because this is so, we can never be lost to his Spirit. This is good news to those who know and love God, because no matter what we do or where we go, we can never be far from God’s comforting presence.(Romans 8:35-39). We find this to be true especially when we foolishly choose to go our way and try and run far (it seems far to us) away from His Spirit. Then we find that He loves us too much to let us go.
3. We should flee from secret sins and do not stay – such as youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2: 22), flee fornication (1 Corinthians 6:18), flee from idolatry(1 Corinthians 10:14)
4. We should flee, from the voice of false teachers and prophets and follow only Christ. John 10:5 “A stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of strangers.” Jesus was talking about false teachers and prophets whom we must flee from as they may lead us into temptation and cause us to stray from our Good Shepherd. We must learn to recognise the voice of Jesus and distinguish His voice from the voice of the enemy in whatever form.
1 Timothy 6:3-5 “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who be been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”
Paul advised Timothy to stay away from people who strayed from sound teachings of the gospel into quarrels that caused strife in the church. Stay away from people who just want to argue.
4. Where do we go to after we flee?. 1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” This statement is key to spiritual growth and personal fulfillment. We should honor God and center our desires on him and we should be content with what God is doing in our lives (Philippians 4:11-13).
I Timothy 6:11 “But you man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness”. Paul uses active and forceful verbs to describe the Christian life: flee, pursue, fight, take hold. Some think Christianity is a passive religion that advocates waiting for God to act. But we must have active faith, obeying God with courage and doing what we know is right. Is it time for action on your part. Is it time to flee and take positive action? Don’t wait – get going!. Fight the good fight of faith, take hold of eternal life, make your confession in the presence of witnesses.
Yes, let us act wisely, His Holy Spirit helping us – take action and flee from those things and people who detract us spiritually from Christ and His ways, and find fulfillment and be built up by being rooted in righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness in Christ. Let us also not forget the Great Commission.