Some battles are not worth fighting. We are often told in Scripture to stand our ground… we contend with the flesh, the world, and the powers of the air… but when it comes to certain sins, the only course of action is to run! As Charles Spurgeon says in today’s Morning and Evening…
I am to resist the devil, and he will flee from me; but the lusts of the flesh I must flee, or they will surely overcome me.
1 Corinthians 6:18 issues the command to “flee from sexual immorality.” 1 Corinthians 10:14 says to “flee from idolatry.” Paul instructed Timothy to “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness” in 2 Timothy 2:22. We must actively desert wickedness in order to pursue righteousness. To dwell in the comfort of the flesh is to forsake the liberating reprieve of the Spirit. No man is stronger than the weakness of his flesh. 1 Corinthians 10:12 warns:
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.
Let’s not kid ourselves, but recognize our weaknesses… forsaking all filth and clinging to Christ for strength. We are simply not strong enough to overcome our own lusts, so let’s flee from them into the arms of our Savior. Here is Alistair Begg’s modern phrasing of the Spurgeon classic.
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But he left his garment in her hand
and fled and got out of the house. — Genesis 39:12
In contending with certain sins there remains no mode of victory but by flight. The ancient naturalists wrote much of basilisks, whose eyes fascinated their victims and rendered them easy victims; so the mere gaze of wickedness puts us in solemn danger. He who would be safe from acts of evil must hurry away from occasions of it. A covenant must be made with our eyes not even to look upon the cause of temptation, for such sins only need a spark to begin with and a blaze follows in an instant.
Who would carelessly enter the leper’s prison and sleep amid its horrible corruption? Only he who desires to be leprous himself. If the sailor knew how to avoid a storm, he would do anything rather than run the risk of weathering it. Cautious navigators have no desire to see how near the quicksand they can sail or how often they may touch a rock without springing a leak; their aim is to keep as nearly as possible in the midst of a safe channel.
Today I may be exposed to great peril; let me have the serpent’s wisdom to keep out of it and avoid it. The wings of a dove may be of more use to me today than the jaws of a lion. It is true I may be an apparent loser by declining evil company, but I had better leave my cloak than lose my character; it is not needful that I should be rich, but it is imperative for me to be pure. No ties of friendship, no chains of beauty, no flashings of talent, no shafts of ridicule must turn me from the wise resolve to flee from sin.
I am to resist the devil, and he will flee from me; but the lusts of the flesh I must flee, or they will surely overcome me. O God of holiness, preserve us like Joseph, that we may not be seduced by the subtle, vile suggestions of the temptress. May the horrible trinity of the world, the flesh, and the devil never overcome us!