This blog post originally was published on May 2, 2017.
“Flee” is an action verb. An especially action-y action verb.
"Flee" has much more urgency than "turn away from.” It’s faster than “run.” It’s a don’t-think-just-go immediate movement, usually away from something truly horrendous and terrifying.
Fittingly, when it comes to sin, fleeing is one of the Bible’s most consistent commands (I Corinthians 6:18, I Corinthians 10:14, I Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 2:22).
Maybe you’re like me, though. I’m not that good at fleeing from sin. Instead, I stay nearby, tolerating it or trying to ignore it or glancing at it occasionally. Often, rather than flee from sin, I step toward it.
But when sin is before me, my response ought to be don’t-think-just-go immediate movement. Get away!
Why? Because sin enslaves me (John 8:34). It separates me from the God who made me (Isaiah 59:2). Sin only always leads to death (Romans 6:23). My first and only response to sin should be: Flee!
But fleeing from sin cannot be my only action. When all I do is flee sin, then eventually I wear out. My efforts to flee from sin have no staying power. I’ll give up too easily.
I need a destination. I need not only flee from, but I must flee to.
That’s why Jesus’ words in Matthew 11 are such good news: "Come to me."
As quickly as I flee away from sin in absolute disgust, I must flee to Jesus, the sin-crusher.
When I’m barreling headlong toward the Gospel of grace – when the finished work of Jesus is my only aim – then sin is left far behind. And more good news for exhausted sin-fleers: Jesus said, “I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).