In 2 Timothy 2:22 Paul tells us to flee and pursue. We are to flee youthful lust. Now think about that for a minute. Why would he specify youthful lusts, and not just lust in general? (And by the way, have you ever heard of elderly lusts? I’m sure they exist, but the contrast is fairly obvious – as people get older, generally speaking, they grow in wisdom and see their once youthful pursuits to be really not that important after all.) In response to the specificity of youth, it is good to remember that Timothy was still fairly young, and was probably facing the temptations that every younger person faces – the temptation to pursue things that could shipwreck his faith. Paul tells Timothy to FLEE those lusts.
In our youth, we often lack wisdom and pursue things that may seem important, things that seem as though we can’t live without. It is often not until we are older that we see those pursuits as fleeting and foolish. Experience often has a way of filtering out bad choices. But let’s be clear here: Paul is not asking Timothy to wait until he is older and more mature to figure it out. He is telling Timothy to run away NOW from those lusts. It means making the wilful choice to do what perhaps in our immaturity draws us so powerfully away from a healthy and growing relationship with God. We cannot wait until the enticement goes away on its own. It may never go away. Plus, age does not guarantee maturity. Maturity comes when immature people make wilful choices to do what is better or best despite the draw of immature enticements. Maturity is product of discipline.
By telling him to flee, Paul is telling Timothy to run to a place of safety. Imagine a hand grenade being thrown at your feet. What would you do? You could pick it up and throw it away, but chances are you would instinctively run away as fast as you could. Youthful lust is like a hand grenade. It initially looks harmless, but in time, its effects are tragic. We are to flee youthful lusts and run to a place of safety.
Paul says the best way to flee evil is to pursue good. It is not enough to stop bad practices; one must flee and pursue good practices. And take note that these are to be pursued – an active chasing after, taking initiative. We are called to pursue: Righteousness – that which is right in the eyes of God. This speaks of moral integrity; Faith – that which trusts in God enough to follow Him even when we can’t see the results; Love – that which expresses the love of God to others. It means pursuing others as God pursued us – a love in which God sacrificed His only Son; Peace – that which expresses God’s value of relationship with a spirit of reconciliation and peacekeeping.
Consider each of these areas in your life. How are you PURSUING righteousness? Faith? Love? Peace? If we spend our time pursuing these godly qualities, we will find little time to pursue youthful lusts and other things that are destructive and displeasing to God. (MIKE KURTZ)