Probing Proverbs: 1:10-15 My child, if sinners entice you, turn your back on them! They may say, “Come and join us. Let’s hide and kill someone! Just for fun… My child, don’t go along with them! Stay far away from their paths
One day during the winter, a friend and I went down to what we know as a mud pond. During the spring we would play in it and get very muddy. On this day the pond had frozen in parts, and my friend decided he wanted to play on the ice. I told him that I felt it was unsafe. He said he was just going to walk out on a small portion. He went out then came back, and then he went back out.
This repeated, each time getting closer to the edge. Then boom! He broke through the ice with one leg! It sank down until he almost looked like he was doing the splits. One leg was stuck deep in freezing mud; the ice was so sharp it had cut a hole in his blue jeans and a large gash on his knee. The other leg was stretched horizontally on the ice. It took us almost an hour to get his leg out.
Playing near the edge of a dangerous situation became a very painful…and cold lesson for my friend. I wish with my all my heart I had gleaned from this lesson such a truth, that I would never be so foolish myself.
Sadly, that is not the way of man, and I am one of them! Life is made up of “risks,” there is no way to get around that. However, there is a real difference between dealing with a risk that must take place versus placing yourself in a dangerous situation deliberately! One is a necessity of living in a fallen world, the other is just stupid! There are still times I try to walk along the edge of sin, and when I do, that too becomes a painful lesson. This Proverb exhorts us to understand this principle.
Notice the actions –“Turn your back” & “Stay far away!” So much for walking the line of sin! The Scripture makes it clear that the safe route is the obvious and smart one. If you do not want to sin, do not ponder it, do not get close to it, do not be curious about it, and do not play with it!
Wisdom will lead us to move in the other direction clearly and decisively! We will “flee” from its presence! This is not fleeing in the sense of being controlled by fear, or some immature inability to deal with “koodies” like a child. Many seem to think when the Scriptures teach that God is offended by sin, that it is like a child dealing with a cockroach: “Get it away, get it away!” That is not our Lord. The offense He feels is the darkness, the damage and the separation, sin breeds! It is by far the most destructive and deadly disease on this planet! God hates sin and understands how evil it is!
There are far to many Scriptures to write down that give us clear instruction about how we should stay far from sin. I have three that are my favorite. The first one is the example we should all follow:
Genesis 39:12 She caught him by his garment, saying, “Lie with me!” And he left his garment in her hand and fled, and went outside.
Joseph could have rationalized that someone in authority over him had commanded to do something, and justified having sex with what I believe would have been a desirable woman, as far as looks. Yet, he understood the true authority in his life and did not want to be separated from Him, so he did not walk away, or play around a little first, then leave. He turned his jets on and fled!
Paul gives us exhortations that are very simple:
1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.
1 Timothy 6:11 But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.
2 Timothy 2:22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
This is much more than “just say no!” This is putting action to your “no.” It sounds more like NO!!! We must have an aggressive posture toward sin, which not only flees from it, but also notice what else Paul exhorts Timothy to do – PURSUE! It is not good enough to only move away, because then you end up in a vacuum and something is going to try and fill that. Satan moves quickly! So we need to also move Toward righteousness. In fact if you would visualize the difference, one who is constantly fleeing is looking behind…that is a dangerous way to travel, you may not see the next pothole or wall in front of you. However, one that is moving forward has their eyes fixed in front with a full view on not only what may lie ahead, but more importantly what they are aiming at in their forward motion. Paul’s target was Jesus Christ!
Philippians 3:13–14 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
This is our model, easy?…no, but it is simple! Remember, our part is to know what to do, that is why we have the Scriptures, The Holy Spirit will be the One that supplies the HOW so we can accomplish the what! His strength will be what allows us to flee and pursue…we just need to cooperate!
One last thought – If we flee, we can make someone else flee!
James 4:7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.