Christianity is about becoming more like Jesus and following His path towards heaven. However, as we focus our lives on Christ, we must remain aware of the dangers that may threaten us along the way. God has revealed certain dangers that a Christian should run away from. The word translated as “flee” is the Greek word pheugo (φεύγω) which means to flee, take flight, or run away. In Acts 27:30, pheugo is used to describe escape from a shipwreck. Fleeing, therefore, is not reluctantly moving away. It is running for our lives from something that is full of danger. Here are three things that God tells us to run away from.
First, we must run away from religious error. The Bible says, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14 NKJV). Idolatry was the sin that plagued God’s people in times past. Israel had taken religious ideas from the nations around them and tried to combine them with the Law of Moses. With this God was not pleased, and Israel was taken into captivity. In the first century, Gentile Christians struggled to leave their pagan ideas behind when they obeyed the gospel. The only solution is to tune out the noise of error and listen only to the words of truth.
Jesus once described His relationship with His followers as that of a shepherd and his sheep. One important aspect of this relationship is how the sheep respond to the voice of the shepherd. Jesus says, “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers” (John 10:4-5 NKJV). When we hear a voice that does not match up to the voice of Christ, we should run from it. There are many voices competing for attention, whether reformed theology, Calvinism, or worldly philosophy. But if a voice does not match what Jesus has said or what has been inspired through the Holy Spirit, then we should ignore that voice and run the other way. Many have given their ear to the voices of other shepherds and are being tossed about by every wind of doctrine as a result (Eph. 4:14).
Second, we must run away from sexual immorality (1 Cor. 6:8). Since the beginning, mankind has struggled to stay within the boundaries God has placed around sex. We can see how pervasive sex has become in media of all kinds. Regardless of how prevalent this immorality has become we still have the responsibility to flee from it. Practically speaking, this might mean placing a content filter on all of your internet capable devices, moving your home PC into a public space in your home, and limiting or eliminating private communication with certain people. The goal is to never put ourselves in a situation where our integrity can be compromised. Sex is a gift to be enjoyed, but only when we enjoy it as God has prescribed (Heb. 13:4).
Finally, we must run away from useless arguments. Paul often encouraged Timothy to avoid engaging in pointless debates (1 Tim. 1:3-4; 6:3-11; 2 Tim. 2:16, 23). He sums up this attitude in his letter to Titus when he writes, “But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless” (Tit. 3:9). Apparently, there were people who got caught up in arguing about the minutiae of the law to the point where their discussions were doing more harm than good. While we should be diligent to correctly interpret God’s word (2 Tim. 2:15), many people are far too willing to cause divisions based on inconsequential differences in understanding and personality. Rather than engaging in disputes that would cause division, Christians should flee from such empty debates.
Walking with Christ is a wonderful thing, but we must not be ignorant of the dangers that are on the way. God has shown us the obstacles to be wary of. We must therefore remain diligent and develop the strength to flee from danger as God has commanded.