2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. (Jonah 1:2–3, NKJV)
Jonah did not want to obey God. So, he tried to run away from God, like many today who do not wish to obey God’s commands. As events unfolded, it became obvious Jonah could not run away from God. Neither can we. Jonah even paid to fulfill his futile quest, buying passage on a ship to a far away land. Like Jonah, many pay great sums of money as they try to rid themselves of God. They pay for drugs and alcohol. They pay for pornography. They pay for the indulges of the flesh and the excesses of worldliness as they try to escape God and His will. But, they fail, too. Even as they pay with their own souls, they only succeed in hastening the day of their destruction (Matt. 16:26). The irony is that God’s salvation is obtained “without money and without price” (Isa. 55:1). Why do we pay for sin when God offers us the gift of salvation without cost to all who call on His name (Acts 2:21; 22:16). Run to God, not away from Him. Salvation is in His Son, not away from Him (Matt. 11:28-30; 28:19-20).
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, NKJV)
The best way to avoid the lusts of youth is to run away from them. Young people often think they are bulletproof – invincible. But, wisdom teaches us that youth is tempted by curiosity and pride; a dangerous combination for any age when the temptation is to fulfill lust. Keep your heart pure by running after such things as “righteousness, faith, love, peace”. These fortify you against the lust of the flesh. Honorable conduct, driven by your faith and love for God, will lead you to fear God and obey Him by abstaining from every form of evil (1 Thess. 5:22). Then you will have genuine peace of mind, body and soul. Do not say a young person cannot flee lust; they can and they must (1 Cor. 10:13; Psa. 119:9). “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” is still God’s assurance, regardless of your age (Jas. 4:7).
13 No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:13-14)
Sin is not forced upon us. None of us are compelled to sin. By yielding to temptation, we choose to sin against God. Being tempted to sin is not sin; all of us are tempted to sin. Thankfully, sin’s enticement can be resisted. God is faithful to provide a way of escape when we are tempted to sin. God’s way of escape from sin’s temptation will demand that you make a deliberate decision not to sin. Do not put yourself into situations that make it easy to sin. (You cannot play with fire and not get burned!) Resist temptation by running away from sin instead of running to it. God’s way is right, so put your faith in Him. His path of holiness and truth will always lead you away from sin.