Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 2 Timothy 2:22-23
In verses 20-21 Paul told Timothy that in order to be used by God, we must be clean vessels “...meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.” Now in verses 22-23 Paul takes this idea a step further and tells us how to cleanse ourselves for this good work. Whether or not we apply this will determine our usefulness by Jesus on this earth.
Run from Temptation: When asked the question, “how old were you when you started using drugs, alcohol, or smoking” the answer 95 percent of the time is 13-18 years old. Most people began their life of addictive behavior at a very early age. Wrong desires and temptations are strong in our younger years. Sexual temptations, sinful fleshly desires, and a longing for power and glory dominate thinking patterns. Our addictive behaviors are indicative of immaturity in our lives—they are youthful lusts. We must flee these desires and temptations. Don’t engage them. Don’t view them as a game. Don’t see them as a challenge to experience and conquer. Many have fallen into sin who tried to endure the challenges of youthful lusts. God says flee, run, and don’t look back. It’s time to grow up and part of maturity is fleeing temptation. None of us can really say “yes” to God until you can say “no” to these things.Run to Goodness: Cleansing is more than avoiding the dirt. I avoid dirt every day, but still need a shower. Cleansing also involves the pursuit of good things. Therefore, while I am fleeing bad things, I must be pursuing good things. The things we must pursue include righteousness (do things that are approved by God); faith (faith is trust therefore I must pursue a complete trust or reliance on God in all situations—He is in control); charity (this is agape—sacrificial love; a complete dedication and devotion to God and others); peace with others (a state of harmony and accord with others—no chaos, no wrath or rage—our walk with God is dependent upon our relationship to men (Romans 12:18)).Resist Bad Relationships: This is perhaps a continuation of Paul’s thought in verse 22 to have peace with others. “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” Bad relationships really hinder our service to the Lord. We must do what we can to set things right if we want to be used of God as much as we can be. Walking clean means staying clear of endless disputes and arguments. Bad and unhealthy relationships are a distract me and cause me to stumble. Don’t entertain foolishness in others. Let people know that you love them but you will not engage in foolishness with them. Do this with love and respect. Always remain calm and keep your emotions under control.
Psalm 119:9-11 reminds us, “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Will you stat the cleansing yourself today? Will you surrender to God’s way and plan of living a life of freedom, glory, and satisfaction? It’s not easy, but it’s worth it!