As the Apostle Paul wrote to his younger protégé Timothy, he gives him some divinely inspired wisdom that we would all do well to heed. “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22)
The Bible doesn’t often call us to run away from something, but here we find that it is exactly what we are to do when confronted with the evil desires of you. The phrase “evil desires of youth” we often equate with sexual desires and that may well be true, but commentators through the ages have mentioned other youthful desires from which we should high-tail it: quick tempers, rash decisions, impatience, love of novelty, quick to disagree and fight. You could probably add a few to this list yourself.
The apostle’s advice is simple when it comes to those things that capture our imagination and can lead us astray: “Don’t flirt with it. Don’t stand there and pray about what to do. Don’t get near it. If it comes knocking, run for your life!”
There is something FROM which we need to run, but there is also something TO which we are to run. We are to join along with other believers in pursuing (chasing after) righteousness, faith, love and peace. As diligently as we run from the lure of evil desires, we are to run toward those attributes that reflect the character of Christ.
These verses make it crystal clear that we are responsible for our choices. We can choose to flee temptations or give in to them. We can choose to run after righteousness, faith, love and peace or to stop short. Choose wisely.