Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2 Timothy 2:22
Twice this summer I suffered the scourge of poison ivy. Both times it happened, I was working on clearing away unwanted plant growth from our yard. And both times, I saw the nasty, three-leafed enemy lurking nearby. I figured I could get close to it without it affecting me. Soon enough, I realized I’d been wrong. Instead of getting nearer to my little green nemesis, I should have run the other way!
In the Old Testament story of Joseph, we see modeled the principle of running from something worse than poison ivy: sin. When he was living in the home of Egyptian official Potiphar, whose wife tried to seduce him, Joseph didn’t try to get close—he ran.
Although she falsely accused him and had him thrown in prison, Joseph remained pure throughout the episode. And as we see in Genesis 39:21, “The Lord was with him.”
God can help us flee activities and situations that could lead us away from Him—guiding us to run the other way when sin is nearby. In 2 Timothy 2:22, Paul writes, “Flee the evil desires.” And in 1 Corinthians 6:18, he says to “flee from sexual immorality.”
In God’s strength, may we choose to run from those things that could harm us.
What’s your “poison ivy,” something that can infect you if you don’t run from it? What can you do to run from it?
God, You know what I’m getting too close to right now. Help me to run from it and not look back. Please give me the courage and wisdom to not let anything get between You and me.
When Joseph was confronted with sexual temptation (Genesis 39:11–23), he didn’t stay put and try to resist it; rather, “he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house” (v. 12). The New Testament commands us to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18). We’re to run away from it—not toward it—as fast as we can, and to keep as far away as possible (Proverbs 5:8). We should beware of overestimating our ability to resist it and underestimating its power. Running from sexual temptation by the enabling of the Spirit isn’t the act of a coward; it’s the strength of a person committed to following Jesus.