"Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." -2 Timothy 2:22
What does it mean that we might flee youthful lusts? If we notice here, it says, "flee also," so in all actuality, it is simply adding onto the already intended purpose and emphasis of what is being stated (vs. 1,10,15, 20-21). What Paul is exhorting Timothy in here is upon how he should seek to be strong by the grace that has been given while dwelling in the coexistence of those who are seeking God in purity and untainted heart. This being the case, it is not hard to understand that Timothy was still a disciple. In other words, he didn't have it all down! But, with regards to any position, gender, or individual, we all must delve further into addressing these "youthful lusts" that we all struggle with.
Youthful lusts consist of two primarily defined categories:
1) A "youthful" or hindering of growth.
These may be titled the "habitual' sins, specific sins that hinder any and all growth because of the ensnaring and hold they may have upon us. These always seem to come back for us and keep us at this "youthful" state of spirituality rather than in a maturation process and fulfilled state in who Christ has now made us to be.
2) A "youthful" perspective and motive.
What are you desiring for and in the midst of your life with Jesus? Many a time our perspectives of God's power is limited by immaturity of who God is. Jesus desires a fleeing of youthful things, but this requires the strength to let go and hold on to Him in faith, spirit, and in truth. How can a child do in his own strength what only a mature person can accomplish in God's strength?
In light of all of this, our focuses must change and our dependence must become the life by which we lead for us to truly grow and develop. If your focus is on youthful things so shall your perspective, your strength, and your life be. Paul is saying, "Forget and flee these things that hinder your maturity!"
Now the question that arises is, "How does one flee?"
Looking at the second half of vs. 22, it is evident that if you are fleeing youthful lusts, then you are running in opposition to them. This implies a focus and pursuit of something else. In this aspect it is the characteristics of God in righteousness, faith, love, and peace that can only come when one seeks our LORD. For He is Love and is our peace(1 John 4:16, Ephesians 2:14). So, only by pursuing Him, with a pure heart, may we truly attain these attributes.
Now, here is a beautiful an paradoxical cycle when we think about it. How does one pursue Jesus with a pure heart? By fleeing youthful lusts. How do we flee youthful lusts? By pursuing Jesus. In Him these other treasures of growth shall be consummated.
My, brothers and sisters, oh that we would seek Jesus. Seeing each moment that His heart actively pursues us! In order to grow to become strong, to mature you must GIVE UP. Give up these things that hinder you, give up trying to do it on your own strength, and GIVE IN to seeking and depending upon Him, just as He sought you.
1 Timothy 4:12,15
Remember: choices, paths, memories.
All of these come to my mind as I look at all that has taken place in my short time of 18 years in this life.
Memories are sometimes our best friend, or our worst enemies. They bring to light all that GOD has done in and for our lives, and then they turn around and remind us all that we have done, the paths we have paved, the choices we have made.
Memories reveal to you, through your life, the whole of who you are.
Rapper and artist Andy Mineo states in his song Rewind, "Everything I'm not made me everything I am."
What a simplistic, yet profound statement for us to contemplate in our lives. All that we desire to be, though we never achieve it on our own, shapes and molds our identity if we let it.
I think of all the mistakes I've made, yet I don't like to dwell too heavily because condemnation and temptation can easily creep in (not beneficial for anyone). This allows me to forget all that my Lord Jesus wanted me to remember:
My Identity in who He is and has made Me.
That's what I primarily desire to look at as we take a glimpse back even further, is to the things that were and forever will be.
If you haven't learned from my previous blog post Beyond the Vapor: The Value of Eternity, I believe and look forward to the things of forever, or more importantly, the One who loves forever.
Without God, tell me, what will last beyond this?
In conjunction with all of humanity seeking to find purpose I have found in God's Word, that His sacrifice for me makes perfect, complete, fulfilling sense to our existence.
In that aspect as we are looking back for a time in His Word, it should help us to press on and move forward.
Take a moment to recollect and pray as you seek out His Word.
So what does this everlasting God desire for us to remember:
It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud; and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” - Genesis 9:14-16
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. - Exodus 20:8
And you shall have the tassel, that you may look upon it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them, and that you may not follow the harlotry to which your own heart and your own eyes are inclined, and that you may remember and do all My commandments, and be holy for your God. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord your God.” - Numbers 15:39-41
Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the Lord our God. - Psalm 20:7
Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, For they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; According to Your mercy remember me, For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord. - Psalm 25:6-7
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them”— before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars grow dark, and the clouds return after the rain; - Ecclesiastes 12:1-2
“Do not remember the former things ,Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, Now it shall spring forth;Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert. This people I have formed for Myself;They shall declare My praise. - Isaiah 43:18-19,21
But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” - Jeremiah 31:33-34
Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. - Luke 17:32-33
I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” - Acts 20:35
Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. - 2 Timothy 2:8,10
Remember the prisoners as if chained with them-those who are mistreated-since you yourselves safe in the body also. Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. - Hebrews 13:2, 7-8,15-16
I only know I can barely even scratch the surface of the deepness within God's Word to us. Especially since this is only a small of what is healthy for us and vital to remember.
There are things to think and dwell upon, but do not forget to apply these in your everyday. Keep them upon your hearts that they daily enter your mind and that Jesus may work through you in your hands.
Give Him praise for what He has, is, and will do for you.
Take a deep, slow breath.
Now watch the steam roll out of your kettle or evaporate from your coffee cup. Or consider the wind the dust picks up, only to blow it away... A Vapor. A single wisp. Here and then...gone.
It says in Psalm 39:5, "Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah."
Also in James 4 it states, "...whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." - James 4:14
The first thing to enter your mind may be sadness or thoughts of sobriety. I mean you are trying to comprehend your very existence by evaluating a vapor. But truth be told, we are only that. A vapor, a short little breeze in God's all encompassing, all powerful, and all Loving Hand.
Now Consider that prospect.
You have to look beyond the vapor we call life to fully grasp things.
You are promised 80 or more years, if that. You have to ask yourself constantly, "What in my life counts? Where am I in my heart now that will last? If I were only promised the rest of this day, would I be the same?"
All of this is very upfront and sobering, but IT IS REALITY.
YOU CAN'T ESCAPE DEATH, but you can embrace what is beyond the vapor...
Take a moment to think upon this and pray about it.
Now read these passages slowly, and consider
the value of a vapor.
What it hinges on and what it truly means:
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. - Genesis 2:7
Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When He had said this, He breathed His last. - Luke 23:46
And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. - John 20:22
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. - 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Now, you may be thinking... Breath vs. Vapor. Does that really work?
I just want us to grasp the severity of this. God breathes into us, breathed no more to save us, breathed unto us that He could dwell inside and be with us, and finally, He breathed providing His Word and the account of His love in our vapor of time.
God literally orchestrated this life in an instantaneous breath, as quick as a vapor, yet what He brought forth was made to last forever.
That means the very breath He breathed into you will last beyond the vapor of your life.
If God breathed in you, then shouldn't your life of a vapor be full of God's love and life bursting forth from you into your eternal existence?!
Application: Understand that the only things that will last are those which are God breathed. But your time here is a gift and preparation for what it will be like forever, at least the existence aspect. So take time to look at your life, though it be a vapor and LIVE as of IT was God's breath giving you life...because it was and even more by His Spirit, it is.
Don't take this lightly, yet know that as quickly as it will go, God's purposed and planned this small time for you and Him and He wants nothing more than that. Communion with the one who lives in the Vapor living by the breath of God.
SAVED BY GRACE, IN SEARCH OF THINGS WHICH LAST FOR ETERNITY, I DESIRE TO DELVE INTO DAILY LIFE AS WE LIVE TO EMULATE THE LOVE CHRIST PARDONED TO US AS HUMANITY AND GOD'S CHURCH.