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Monday, August 16, 2010

truth and error 7: immaturity and distraction, v. 22

22 Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22)
A second danger can keep us as serving as “vessels of honor” is distraction because of immaturity. Our pew-Bibles translate this verse “flee from youthful lusts.” Your first thought at hearing that probably is a warning against sexual immorality, and certainly that is part of the danger here. But, the original words are broader than that, meaning “youthful passions” or “distractions of the young.” This is a broad challenge to grow up in Christ. The breadth of this can be seen in the contrast with what follows. In the place of these youthful distractions, we are to “pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.” And we are to look for examples, mentors, and fellowship with “those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.”

This language is chosen, in part, because Timothy is so young. He may well have been an older teenager or in his early 20s. Elsewhere Paul encourages him to not let people look down on him because of his youthfulness. Here, Paul cautions him against the kinds of things that can distract a young person (or an immature believer of any age!): “Don’t get sidetracked by these men who are stirring up the church – I know you’d love a good fight – but keep pursuing godly character and draw to you those who are calling on the Lord from a pure heart.”

This is a very timely word for congregations as they ponder their ongoing role in the larger denominational context. This passage is such a helpful guide in recognizing both the calling and the dangers as one ultimately pursues faithful and obedient service to God.

Posts in this "Truth and Error" series:
1 - intro and core doctrine, 2 timothy 2.14-26
2 - word-wrangling, v. 14
3 - study, v. 15
4 - a local challenge, vv. 16-18
5 - church pictures, vv. 19-21
6 - empty talk, vv. 16-18
7 - immaturity and distraction, v. 22
8 - false teaching, v. 23
9 - kind to all, v. 24
10 - able to teach, patient, gentle, vv. 24-25
11 - gracious hope, vv. 25b-26a
12 - enemy clarification, v. 26b

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