To Flee or not to Flee

Remember the movie “The Runaway Bride”? Julia Roberts played a bride who continually ran away when it came time to say “I do”. Maybe it was a good thing to run from some of those guys, but finally she met someone of worth. But the wedding anxieties were just too much, and she still put on her running shoes and ran.

Jogging down the road this morning, in the early glimmers of light, I thought about the different things in life I want to run away from. The difficulties, drama, confrontation, or even daily questions and chores, “what’s for dinner?”, “did you wash any socks?”, sweep the floor, load the dishwasher,  honestly can drive me to do what Julia Roberts did in that movie, run away! But I’m glad I don’t…

This did bring to mind 2 places in scripture that involve running…or not running. The first one is the second part of James 4:7, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” Now, looking at several scriptures, (I Cor 6:18, 10:14, 1 Tim 6:11, 2 Tim 2:22) they tells us plainly TO flee several things: sexual immorality, idolatry, evil desires of youth, the love of money to name a few. So, to summarize, resist the devil and HE will flee; and I am to FLEE from temptation, lest I stare at it too long. Now, my wheels are really churning. What would happen, per-se, if I was to flee from the devil and just “resist” temptation. Would that work? Is that the same thing? What’s the difference?

 I do believe there’s a difference, and here’s why. If we flee from the devil we wind up in a dog fight. Satan is faster and stronger than we are. The faster we run away from him, the faster he pursues us. If we just muster up enough strength to “resist” temptation, we end up staying longer than we ever needed to. It comes down to how dependent are we on the Spirit to decipher between the two. I know I get blowing and going along and solving my issues the best way I know how, until I realize I’m facing the same thing over and over again. I stop and say, “what am I really fighting here? What is the root to why I’m feeling/reacting this way?”

There are times we need to just keep walking, maybe even run (flee temptation) and there are also times to press in. First Corinthians 10:14-15 assures us, “No temptation has seized you except what’s common to man. God is faithful, He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” So what’s the way out? For me that’s been sharing aloud with a friend, or spouse, the thoughts that can haunt me. I believe it’s time for Christians to stop playing charades and be AUTHENTIC with each other. This is a two partner dance. Partner #1 has to humble herself to BE authentic, regardless of the potential cost. Partner #2 has to LISTEN to the words spoken and cast NO judgement or CONDEMNATION towards the other person. That particular area may not be your individual struggle, but we all have something! Partner #2 must also commit to keeping that information confidential and never EVER use that information as gossip or fire starter. This would be Partner #1’s worst fear coming true in being authentic!! No temptation has seized you except what’s common to man. None of us are exempt from Satan’s attacks – from difficult marriages, to trouble with kids, to entertainment choices, we are all fallen people and we need one another if we are to walk blameless in this life and not fall into the snares set for us.

“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1) In the face of Satan, our only resistance is to stand firm.  He wants us to tuck tail and run as fast as we can, scared to death. On the other hand, we can choose to pull out our shield of faith, and allow our “Heavenly Daddy” to handle Him. Otherwise, Satan will chase us around with accusations and condemnations until we crack or give in, because we feel as if we’ve done it anyway!

So the next time life tosses you a reason to run, maybe its time to turn in your running shoes, like Roberts, and commit to fighting the good fight of faith.

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