James tells us to “submit to God and resist the devil and he will flee from you.” But sometimes it’s wiser for us to do the fleeing. I did a search on this subject and found that there are at least three things that believers should flee from. The first one is found in 1 Corinthians 10:14. It says, “Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.” Commenting on this verse, David Jeremiah writes, “An idol is anything that comes between you and God. Anything of value to you could be an idol. When you begin to realize that something is taking the place of God in your life, you don’t need to sit and ponder it. You don’t need to write a thesis or call a meeting about it. You need to flee! Every moment of personal idolatry is a moment of spiritual danger. It is wear and tear on your soul.”

The second thing we are to flee from is “sexual immorality.” That’s exactly what 1 Corinthians 6:18 says. Paul instructs Timothy similarly. He says, “Flee from youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22). David Jeremiah adds a great comment regarding this verse as well. He writes, “Sexual temptation is a demonic trump card; there’s something unique and terrible about its power. The devil uses it for those in ministry, those in marriage, those maturing. He uses it particularly for those perched in precarious positions—those in transition, whether through the storms of adolescence, the trials of marriage, or the temptations of business travel.” Nothing will ruin our relationship with God, others and ourselves more completely than sexual sin. It has been the downfall of many believers and non-believers as well.

The third thing we are to flee from is “Greed.” 1Timothy 6:10-12 is a fascinating passage. It says, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. But as for you, O man (person!) of God, flee these things! Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith.” Obviously, materialism is a form of idolatry, but it deserves a special focus as Paul knew. When something, anything, is more important to us that God, it is an idol. It comes between us and God and becomes the focus of our lives. I’ve heard many people say they cannot give what they want to give to God’s work because they have this expense or that expense or they need this or need that. The truth is when we fail to support God’s work with the resources He blessed us with; we open the door of our lives to all kinds of evil as well as “pangs.” Truly, if you own something or need something or want something you can’t do without, you don’t own it. It owns you! Jesus made it clear you cannot serve both God and money at the same time! Neither can you love them both at the same time! The Living Bible translates Deuteronomy 14:23 this way, “The purpose of tithing is to teach you always to put God first in your lives.” Nothing reveals our true priorities in life more than our checkbooks.