FLEE AND PURSUE

But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. – 1 Timothy 6:11

As I reflect on the past thirty-two years of my marriage, I have sadly discovered that all my sin is between my ears and has to do with the condition of my heart and where I have let it wander to. Jesus said in Matthew 5:27-28, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” You can see sin is in the mind and heart. It doesn’t begin there….it is there. The sin of action is only an outward reflection of the sin of our heart.
For men, this sin of the heart is commonly manifested outwardly by looking at pornography. Often, as it has been for me, it is soft porn, you know the stuff you are “allowed” to see on TV or YouTube. For women, it is those romance novels or seeking companionship and understanding in someone other than your spouse. Though these can be reversed or a combination of both, it is escaping the marriage versus pursuing the marriage.

Wherever your heart wanders, I have discovered, it is critical to examine and test yourself (c.f. 2 Corinthians 13:15). Then after I have considered the result of my examination, take it to the Lord, and put a plan in place to avoid or flee from my sin by renewing my mind (c.f. Romans 12:2).
 
The next step is to flee. If you are touching a hot stove, you pull your hand away. Protect yourself from any more harm. RUN FORREST RUN!

The last step is to pursue righteousness. I always say, “You cannot NOT think about something.” Trying to do so only deepens the thought you are trying to avoid. Instead, I have learned, I need to direct my mind in a positive direction. Fill it with good and righteousness, so there is no room for the undesired thoughts. This is how to renew the mind. Start with the things of the Lord and in marriage the things of your spouse. Put yourself last.

Below are passages that have led me in this direction of thought. I encourage you to consider them and how you might apply these in your marriage:
 
Job 31:1
“I have made a covenant with my eyes;
    how then could I gaze at a virgin?
2 Timothy 2:22
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart
Psalm 34:14
Turn away from evil and do good;
    seek peace and pursue it.
Proverbs 4:26-27
26 Ponder the path of your feet;
    then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
    turn your foot away from evil.
Proverbs 22:3
The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
    but the simple go on and suffer for it.
Proverbs 4:14-15
14 Do not enter the path of the wicked,
    and do not walk in the way of the evil.
15 Avoid it; do not go on it;
    turn away from it and pass on.
Proverbs 13:19
A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
    but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
Proverbs 14:16
One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil,
    but a fool is reckless and careless.

by Michael Burner

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2 Comments


Forrest - February 26th, 2021 at 1:48pm

Nice to see I’m still in the leadership team’s thoughts...even if it is just for an off-color joke from a movie about a disabled war vet.

Forrest - February 26th, 2021 at 7:36pm

I am sorry for the previous comment. We can talk more offline if you are open to it, Michael.

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