The Paradox of our Faith (Flee and Pursue)
2 Timothy 2:21 “So flee youthful Passion and pursue Righteousness, Faith, Love and Peace along with those who call on God from a pure heart.” ESV
I bless the name of the Most High God, the maker of Heaven and earth, who has called us out of darkness and bestowed on us the love of the son, that we may live a life rooted in love to bring the world to His feet.
In this study, we shall X-ray what the Lord is telling us, especially as youth in the 21st century, so that we may be better equipped to face the challenge that is waiting for us out there.
Let’s proceed by looking up the meaning of the key words in this verse.
Paradox: Oxford Advance learners Dictionary © 1993, Nineteenth impression, defines it as “something or situation, displaying contradictory features”. In this case, we see somebody that is doing two different things that are opposite at the same time and we want to know why.
Flee: from the afor-mentioned dictionary and for the purpose of our study, it means running away from something especially danger (emphasis mine)
Passion: A strong feeling e.g. Hate, Love and anger.
Pursue: Follow something or somebody especially in order to catch or kill. 2) Continue to be busy with something.
I think that this [particular verse takes root from the two preceding verses, which talks of what we can find in a great man’s house and how useful we shall be if we are purged from the filthiness of the flesh and spirit, then vs. 22 shows us how a youth can do this. We are all youths and I thank God for that, for the glory of the youth is in his strength Pro. 20:29a NIV, therefore, we thank God that we are strong.
In answer to the question of how we can be used by the Master, we see the answer in this paradox.
SO FLEE FROM YOUTHFUL PASSION: One thing is sure here and it is this, the Bible recognizes that there is a strong passion that is youthful and that this passion, no matter how good it may look, in itself is virtually bad. It calls us into a place of carefulness and diligent questioning of ourselves to know the reason behind whatever we are doing at any point in time if you want to be used by the master, then flee from youthful passion. No wonder some of us have been longing for a time God will use us but see yourself rising and falling after every other day. The problem is rooted in this youthful passion. This is the bane of the man of God and God wants it addressed.
Flee here means that we understand that youthful passion and all its benefits are evil and poisonous to anyone that calls himself a child of God. Therefore for him not to be caught up in it, he needs to flee, he has to run away from it, i.e. he has to rid his hearts of things like this. When the heart of a man has been set towards seeking the Lord, everything that can lead him to sin is taken care of i.e. he will always be desisting from such places and such things that can lead him to sin (better put from this youthful passion that leads to sin.)
Why is he fleeing: He is fleeing because if he just jumps out and stays at the spot where he landed, he will be caught up by this same passion that he is running away from, but being that he is running for his life, he has to run with everything in his life and not stop, not even to look back. In our society today, quite a lot of things are militating against our serving God as youth and the highest of all is this Youthful Passion.
And Pursue: The Igbo’s have an adage – he whose house is on fire does not chase after rats – why is it that one is asked to flee from something and at the same time, is asked to pursue , you see, the understanding of this, will help us. Recall that we said earlier that one fleeing from youthful passion is not even to look back, but if he must succeed, then the paradox must be completed and it is in his pursuing at the same time. In one, you are running away from something, in the other hand at the same time, you are running after something. He is running away from things that lead to sin and at the same time, you are running after holiness. If he must make it, if we must make it, then we must not only be running away from sin, but also at the same time, be running after the remedy of sin – who is Jesus Christ.
Righteousness, Faith, Love and Peace: Note that what the Bible is saying is that we run after something here. Christ is the sum total of every attribute seen here. For He is Our Righteousness 1Cor. 1:30; Our Faith Heb. 12:2; Our Love 1John 4:8; and also Our Peace Isaiah 9:6, Philippians 4:7. You see that when the Spirit of God was talking here, He was referring to Jesus. He doesn’t want us to pursue any other thing than Jesus Christ for anyone that will find Christ, will find all these attribute and much more in Him and his life will not be like that of others and also only Christ is the Sum total of the revelation of the Godhead Col. 1:15 – 21; 2:8 – 10, Heb. 1: 2- 4.
Anyone that seeks Christ with all in him will find out over time that all this attributes are found in him or her. Pursue here, is something that is actively done, it takes your total consciousness. Psalms 130: 5-6, is a great example of a soul that seeks after the Lord. He is handicapped except the Lord helps him or her 2Samuel 19:24. Pursuing here, is a command for every youth - irrespective of your background, your statutes, your height, your environment, your story- and we all have to yield to this command, for only this can bring us closer to God.
Along with those: this clause shows us that no man is an island, in fact, as Christians we are not called to be islands or lone rangers. We need each other, you need me and at the same time, I need you, both of us need each other for us to succeed in this life. We can’t do what the Lord wants us to do on our own alone, it must be together, for where I fall, you will help me up and viz versa. There is a place of seeking and helping each other. We are to run together, we are to pursue together, we are not to be alone. Are you a lone ranger, God hates that, God wants us to come to the point where we can hold unto each other. I was glad when they said to me let us go to the house of the Lord. The important thing to note here is that ‘Let us’, God loves it when we dwell together in unity. Who are these “those” that are talked of here?
Who Call on the Lord: there is a group of people that we are called to follow in pursuing after the Lord, who are they? They are those who call on the Lord. Note that it is “those who call on the Lord”. Who is the person your called friend s call unto? It is only the Lord here my dear, note that if the filthiness that is found on us, would be removed from us, then we must mind those we go out with. It is only those who call on the name of the Lord, for only this group of persons can actually bring us to the place of doing all that the Lord expects us to do which is fleeing from the Passion of Youth and Pursuing the Person of Christ.
Out of a Pure Heart: it is only those that have been purified that are needed here. Out of a pure heart when the Lord is saying that the heart of a man is desperately wicked, so what heart is this? Is it a heart that has been fixed up by man or is it a heart that has been patched by man? The truth is that no man can actually think of ways to patch or fix the heart of man, because day by day, it thinks of the way to multiply evil. Gen. 6:5, so the heart that is talked of here, is one that is renewed day by day by the Word of God. Only the Word of God can make a man pure that is why as a youth, if we must be used of the Lord, we must allow the Lord to make us men and women of the Word. Out of a pure heart – their seeking the Lord, their pursuit of God, their hunger and thirst for God is out of a pure Heart and nothing else. The Lord’s call upon our lives is that our lives must be renewed by the word day by day. Those who seek God out of a pure heart, their hearts is a whole i.e. on individual bases, their heart is one, it is not divide, but in that oneness of heart, there is an inner purity that thirsts for more of God, i.e. no experience or revelation of God, is enough on itself for such a life like this, and when we knit our heart together with such a heart, we will discover what a wonderful pair we shall be. Psalms 42:7 – Deep calleth unto deep as the roaring of the sea; Proverbs 27:17a – Iron sharpeth iron. Note in the both mentioned verses, the first words there, are capitalized while the other are small letters, which means that the greater can actually help the smaller to get to that level, don’t give up, for we shall get there together.
I pray that daily as Scripture Union Youths, the Lord shall continually purge us and bring us into the place of understanding that we shall keep Fleeing from Sin and Pursuing or Running after Christ, for only in this will we find REST.
I wish you all a happy stay in this mount, May the Lord God be with your spirit.
Shalom – Maranatha