The Courage to Run
Running away from evil doesn’t seem courageous. In fact, it might appear to be a little cowardly. What does the Bible say about fleeing from temptation?
Our world is full of temptations!
Everywhere we look we see temptations to adopt and adapt to the negative ways of the world around us. To make matters worse, our own carnal nature urges us to give in and surrender to the temptations offered by the world in order to fulfill its carnal desires (James 1:14). There is also an external force known as Satan who further tries to tempt us (1 Thessalonians 3:5).
The world around us views temptation as a laughing matter. In a corruption of what is often called the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6, there are T-shirts and coffee mugs that say: “Lead me not into temptation—I can find the way myself.”
What’s the Christian approach to dealing with temptation? What is it that the Bible tells us to do about temptation? The answer is actually simple.
When we hear the phrase “running away,” we often think of being a coward. But running from sin is not an act of cowardice—because God’s Word encourages us to “be of good courage” (Numbers 13:20; Deuteronomy 31:6-7; Joshua 1:6; Psalm 31:24).
God wants us to be courageous runners! It takes courage to resist sin and run away.
Joseph gives us an example of fleeing from temptation. When his master’s wife desired to sleep with him, Joseph didn’t simply tell her “no” and then remain in the room with her. When she grabbed his clothes, he fled as fast as he could (Genesis 39:6-12). Fear didn’t make Joseph run. He courageously ran to avoid the temptation and the resulting sin that threatened to overpower him.
The Bible actually tells us to flee from sin in multiple places. God knows very well that the “macho” attitude of stand there and take it on the chin doesn’t work when dealing with temptation. Among the things that we are told to flee from are:
- Sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18): In a world full of sexual immorality, it is essential that we flee from this sin. It surrounds us on television, in games, books, commercials and even jokes.
- Idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14): When we think of idolatry, we often think of huge stone statues. While that’s definitely included, we should also think of whatever it is that we might put in front of God. We must always flee such idols and run back to God, placing Him first in our lives.
- Youthful lusts (2 Timothy 2:22): Youthful lusts definitely involve sexual immorality, but they are not limited to that alone. They can include the desire for action and violence that many teens and young adults have—when Jesus identified anger and hatred as a violation of the command against murder (Matthew 5:21-22; Exodus 20:13). Or they can include the desire for “freedom” at the cost of disrespect of their parents (Exodus 20:12).
Sin is terrifyingly easy to fall into. Temptation is the start of that deadly process, and fleeing quickly from it is the best way to stop the sin. Standing still and immersing ourselves in the temptation won’t help us though. Instead, we have to flee the sin that easily ensnares us.
Do you have the courage to run?
For further guidance on how to develop the courage to run, read our article on “Temptation.”