Sent: Tuesday, January 22, 2002
Subject: Run…Don’t Walk!
Good Morning Ethan & Emily:
I don’t know if running in the halls when you attended High School was something “forbidden,” but definitely “in my day,” running in the halls was strictly prohibited…and I can still remember walking very, very fast at times making “fast tracks” to get somewhere. And it seems like only yesterday, I can still hear a teacher or principal shouting: “Slow down…walk…don’t run!”
But as we talk about growing as a believer and “working hard” at “proving” our faith, there are ample admonitions in the Bible to do just the opposite…and we are told to: Run…don’t walk!”
In counseling the young Christian Timothy, Paul told him to: “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right.” (2 Timothy 2: 22).
In most circumstances, “running away” is considered a cowardly action but “running away” from any situation that causes you temptation, is, on the other hand, the most courageous thing you can do! The weak person just stays in the midst of the temptation…often succumbing…and then suffering the often very negative consequences.
Paul also told Timothy to avoid false teachers and those who were profiteering from their relationship with the church as well as causing unnecessary arguments and turmoil. He went right to the point: “…run from all these evil things, and follow what is right and good.” (1 Timothy 6: 11) Note that Paul is very specific about what to run “from” and what to run “to.”
In another passage in 1 Corinthians 6: 18, the early Christians were warned: “Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does.”
It isn’t that God doesn’t want you to enjoy sex. Quite the contrary, He designed the “plumbing” and wrote the original instruction book on “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex.” (a controversial book many years ago when it was first published!) It’s just that He knows that the best fulfillment of everything sexual is in the context of marriage when intimacy combines with trust…and commitment to make sex all it was designed to be. Unfortunately, so many that have experimented with sex and who have contracted AIDS, had abortions, or found themselves “tossed aside” after being “used,” would tell you that “running away” at the time would have been the best action they could have taken.
Back in the Old Testament, Amos told those around him: “Do what is good and run from evil…that you may live! Then the Lord God almighty will truly be your helper, just as you have claimed He is.” Good advice then…and then good advice today: We “live” life at its best and fullest with God as our “helper” when we pursue righteousness and “run from evil.”
One of my favorite Biblical characters is Joseph, and I always enjoy portraying him when I do my dramatic interpretations for Confident Kids at the Divorce Recovery Workshop. Very few have such dramatic events occur to them, and to go from being rejected by his brothers, thrown into a well, sold into slavery…and then rising to second in command of all of Egypt…is just mind boggling! Truly, God honored this man and we do well to get to know him better and emulate his life.
At one very critical moment, you will recall that while he was a servant in Potiphar’s house, Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. “She kept putting pressure on him day after day (sound familiar?), but he refused to sleep with her, and he kept out of her way as much as possible. One day, however,…she came and grabbed him by his shirt, demanding, ‘Sleep with me!'” Most would have gladly obliged…but not Joseph. He “tore himself away…and fled.” (Genesis 39: 6 – 12)
He suffered severe consequences for refusing her demands, but God was faithful and elevated him to one of the highest places of honor ever given to any man. In fact, it was because of Joseph’s position in Egypt that he was able to provide food for his brothers…and it was these sons of Jacob who later formed the origins of the Jewish nation as the 12 tribes of Israel.
Walk…don’t run? Not when it comes to spiritual matters. Put on your track shoes….and “run” “run” “run” from tempting situations…and “run” “run” “run” with companions that love the Lord as you live your life today!
All my love,