After having spent some time with Jesus on the cross and in the resurrection, I am turning back to our walk through 2 Timothy. In his last letter to his friend Timothy, with the prospect of not seeing him again, Paul is giving him some sound instruction.
We could all use some sound instruction these days as our culture and society continue to erode with the threat of taking us with it. We have to have clear understanding of who we are in Jesus and how that should play out in our daily living. We need to have sign posts to tell us what holiness looks like. This is important because we have many who claim Jesus as Saviour but live a life that is in direct opposition to his character. The goal of the Holy Spirit is to make us all like Jesus.
Paul touches on several bite size things here so we are going to take our time walking through them. He writes:
Run from temptations that capture young people. Always do the right thing. (2 Timothy 2:22, CEV)
This seems to be my theme in these recent days, "run from evil". Paul says here to run from temptations. He specifically says "that capture young people". This seems to indicate that the older you get the more you grow out of some things. That's not to say that they are no longer there, just that they are not as powerful as they were. Hopefully some wisdom has also been gained to understand the natural consequences to certain actions, but wisdom should not be assumed for everyone.
Is this to say that young people are weak? Not at all. I know a number of young men and women who have surprised me by their great maturity and faith. But I also know that these spiritually mature young people have great struggles to overcome certain things in their lives. Some of you may be thinking that sex tops the list or great longing to have someone to love them. As strong as these are they are not at the top. I would count pride and arrogance as the top temptations. This is countered by the humility of Jesus.
We could make up a long list but the list is not what matters here. What matters is the instruction to run from temptation. But how do we recognize temptation? How do we know when something is against the character of Jesus? How do we know when something is wrong? The simple answer is to study what is right. If you know Jesus, know his character, his actions, you will know when something does not fit.
I have been told that the people who have to detect fake currency have one sure way of telling the fake from the genuine. They do not spend years studying counterfeit work. They spend time studying the genuine article. They know the genuine so well that they can spot a counterfeit in an instant. If you want to know what is of God, know Jesus.
Along with this, and more importantly, we are possessed by the Holy Spirit who convicts of things that do not belong to God. This is not an inner voice or a conscience but is the direct intervention of God. The Spirit will not prevent you from sinning but he will make you aware that the temptation you are considering is not of God and you should have nothing to do with it. It will always be your choice to obey or not. Paul's instructions is to run from that thing. Don't just tolerate it and not participate but run, and I would add, run quickly.
Always do what is right. Not right as you consider right. Not your own personal code of right and wrong. Not even what others consider acceptable and not acceptable. Do what is right according to God. His is the only correct measuring gauge. You will know what is right and wrong by the Holy Spirit in you and confirmed in the Word of God. The Spirit will never direct you outside of the Word but please do not try to live the Word without the Holy Spirit. That is like getting married without love. You can do it but there is no joy in it. It is hollow, empty, without life and will eventually fail in what a marriage is suppose to be. We live our life in Jesus through the Holy Spirit, confirmed in the Word of God.
Now run from temptation and do what is right. Don't live by your own personal code. Live by the Spirit of God and I guarantee you, it will change your day.