I am writing this at 35,000 feet aboard a Southwest Jet headed to Tampa. The plane is packed. Partly because Hurricane Matthew is bearing down on the east coast of Florida and flights into Miami and Ft Lauderdale have been cancelled.
While waiting at Love Field in Dallas I read that nearly two million people are evacuating Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas as Matthew approaches. Since the storm has already devastated Haiti, hit eastern Cuba and pounded the Bahamas, this is a prudent response.
However, both Governor Scott and South Florida officials are concerned that some residents have become complacent because it’s been 11 years since a hurricane has hit Florida. Weather experts know the best response to a hurricane is to flee from its path. This advice is applicable to more than just hurricanes.
While the Bible does command us to put on the spiritual amour of God to fight against the wiles of the devil, it also counsels us that there is an appropriate time to flee. To run away. To escape. Don’t hang around to see what happens. Don’t take a peek. Don’t flirt with danger. Flee.
“Flee youthful lusts” was Paul’s advice to young evangelist Timothy (2 Tim. 2:22). Many a Christian has fallen prey to hurtful lusts because they didn’t run away from the temptation. In a similar warning the apostle urged the Corinthians to “flee sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18). Most people today are not running away from sexual temptation. They’re running toward it. Seeking it. Pursuing it.
The wise man warns men about “the evil woman” and “the smooth tongue of the adulteress.” Listen to these sobering words:
“Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
nor let her capture you with her eyelids. For on account of a harlot one is reduced to a loaf of bread, and an adulteress hunts for the precious life.” He, then, uses this powerful metaphor to make his point about the consequences of sexual immorality. “Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned? Or can a man walk on hot coals and his feet not be scorched?”
The answer is obvious. “So is the one who goes in to his neighbor’s wife; Whoever touches her will not go unpunished.”
“The one who commits adultery with a woman is lacking sense; He who would destroy himself does it. Wounds and disgrace he will find, and his reproach will not be blotted out.” (Prov 6:24-33)
The Bible further admonishes us to “flee from idolatry” 1Cor. 10:14). Often we think of idolatry as falling down before a graven image. However, idolatry make take a form other than worshiping idols made of wood, stone or some other material. We are reminded that “covetousness is idolatry” (Col.3:5).
Contrary to the modern mantra greed is not good. Paul warns, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” He then advises Timothy, “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness” (1 Tim 6:10-11).
Covetousness can grab control of our mind and emotions. Dominate our passions. And pressure us into associations, alliances, or actions that compromise our faith and lead us entanglements that destory our spirituality. Flee from the face of greed.
Yes, like those fleeing the impending destruction of the monster storm Matthew, there are some things we need to flee in order to be spiritually safe, sound and secure from danger. Don’t become complacent. Don’t give the Devil a foothold. He will destroy you if you fail to flee from his devious devices.
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (Jas. 4:7-8)
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman