“Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness. But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his,’ and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’ Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” 2 Timothy 2:14-16,19,21-26
The Christian life is an ongoing expedition of fleeing and flying, escaping from the tangled web of temptation to press to Jesus. When we face the daily pull of the devil’s snares, the Lord provides the gumption to flee, and to fly to Him for power and direction on what to do instead, what not to do, where to go. The Scriptures name some of our most challenging predicaments, and as the inspired word of all-knowing God, give practical alternatives that replace what was natural with the old self with practice of our new nature. (Ephesians 4:22-24)
When we overhear or are barraged with quarreling about words or irreverent babble, are we prepared to rightly, kindly, gently handle God’s truth and shamelessly speak His name? Are there dishonorable habits that render us useless or unavailable from which we need separate in order to serve more robustly? What passions steal my passion for Jesus? Is there any love, any pet interest, jealousy, resentment, that is hindering an unfettered pursuit of righteousness, faith, love, and peace among others? What selfish claims on my own time and pleasure diminish my fruitfulness for God’s kingdom?
The shorebird intrigued with tiny critters in the sand does not see the larger possibilities beyond the petty. But once he looks up, and takes off, freedom lifts him to heights of fresh strength as he soars on new wind. When we flee iniquity, we need fly toward our Lord. To stop one practice requires replacing it with another. If I turn from offering myself to unrighteousness, sloth, conceit, self-consciousness, I present myself instead to the One Who died to redeem me from those worthless practices and begin to speak His new language in tongue and deed, and bear the Spirit’s fruit. (Galatians 5:22-23; Hebrews 12:1-3)
Lord on high, make me keenly aware of what I need to flee; turn and lift me to fly to, and with, and for, You.