It is incredible how powerful the desires of the flesh are. Much like the things we can become addicted to, when we fall in a certain area of sin, we are more prone to fall again in that same area than someone who has never tasted that particular sin. Because once our flesh has tasted sin, it can be ever more enticing and addicting. But the more we flee those evil desires, the easier it should get over time to resist it. Paul tells Timothy in second Timothy 2:22:
“Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
God wants our heart to be pure. He wants us to pursue righteousness. I’ve even heard it said that “God does not merely call us to pursue righteousness, but to prefer it.” For most of us, to prefer righteousness, faith, love and peace, like it says in this verse, requires a change of heart. It requires a change in mindset, and it requires the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives as the truth sets us free; the truth that righteousness is better than sin. Paul tells Timothy to flee evil desires and to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. And as an extension, I believe that God is telling us to do that as well.
Paul alludes to the idea that those who call on the Lord with a pure heart are also the ones who pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. These are attributes that every believer wants to reflect. Step one is to flee the evil desires of our youth, as Paul puts it. To prefer righteousness means that we want to be righteous over indulging in sin; that we enjoy being right before God over satisfying our fleshly desires. Let us heed Paul’s instruction. Let us flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.