Jump Start # 2561
2 Timothy 2:22 “Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue after righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”
Our verse today is one that is often left to teenage classes, devos, and young people gatherings. I doubt that was the target audience that God exclusively had in mind when Paul wrote those words. Many of the troubles that young people get caught up in were not created by their peers, but those older. I doubt that teens have the know how to smuggle drugs in from drug cartels in foreign countries. I doubt that teens have the money it takes to produce and distribute pornography. It’s an older generation that is using a younger generation to addict and profit from.
There are times in our lives when we need to dig our heels in and put up a fight. But there are other times when we just need to leave. We need to flee as the passage states. We need to run as fast as we can away from temptation. Don’t try to argue with it. Don’t try to convert it. Don’t try to reason with it. Run and run fast.
There is a great little expression in our verse that I want to focus upon. It’s often overlooked. We spend so much time talking about lusts and fleeing that we may not even see the two little words, “with those.” It’s the “with those” that can make all the difference in your spiritual journey.
Get away from youthful lusts. Go after the godly characters. But do that “with those” who are following the Lord. Do that with those who have a pure heart. Do that with those who call upon the Lord. The “with those” is our circle of influence and friends that helps us spiritually.
Now, think how wonderful this is:
First, when things are not going well in your life and you are facing storms, isn’t it great to have a “with those” who love you and the Lord. They will not tire of serving. They will not complain. They will not seek to get something from you. Like you, like the Lord, they have a pure heart. They love you and they love the Lord. You can count upon these folks. You know that they will be praying for you. Where would we be without our Lord and our church family.
Second, it is great to know that there are others who believe as you do. There are others who have a deep love and respect for the Lord as you do. Sometimes a person gets to thinking that they are the only one. Being alone and outnumbered is not a good place to be. For Elijah, it led him to some dark thoughts that he shouldn’t have had. The same can happen to us, but it shouldn’t. We a “with those” among us. It is our “with those,” that reminds us and encourages us.
Third, the “with those” represents our church family, our fellowship in Christ. Together, we encourage each other. Together, we remind, teach and support each other. Together, we are the body of Christ. One mind. One voice. One heart. One mission.
Many of us have been separated from each other during this epidemic. We call. We text. We share things on Facebook. But it’s not the same. And, being apart really makes us miss each other. And, it brings some lessons that we can learn.
First, it makes us realize what a wonderful blessing our church family is. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a small congregation or a large one, each face, each family, each heart, is loved by the Lord and is special. Sometimes we complain about each other more than we ought to. Sometimes we fuss about the preaching, the song service, but that sure seems different when you are worshipping at home on Sunday.
Second, it makes us understand the great work that the shepherds do. It’s hard keeping us all going the same direction. Some of us are stubborn. Some of us have a wild spirit. Some of us like to be independent. Some of us think we know better. What a job it is keeping everyone moving forward and with the Lord. Sure makes us be thankful for the great leaders among us.
Third, it makes us realize that it takes all of us to make us who we are. The little ones, the old ones, the new ones, the seasoned ones—we all have a story. We all have a background. We all came to the Lord and He graciously forgave each of us. We are the “with those” that we need to be pursuing life and the Lord with.
With those…we need these folks in our lives.