Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 29, 1949

"Flee From It"

Leslie Diestelkamp

Someone has said, "A good race is better than a poor stand." Paul recognized that truth in the long ago. On at least four occasions he recommended flight as being the better part of valor. To the Corinthians he wrote, "Flee fornication". They were living in a city that was polluted with that evil, and his advice was to stay away from it. He admonished them to avoid temptation rather than counting on their spiritual strength to enable them to overcome such. He also warned the same people to "flee from idolatry".

To Timothy, Paul wrote concerning the love of money, and advised him to "flee these things". Again he wrote to the same young preacher, "Flee youthful lusts". Perhaps all would do well today if we would heed Paul's advice and "flee" from them. A man is simply foolish to presume that he has the strength to withstand the temptations that come to him through careless association with an evil woman. The only way to avoid sin of that nature is to stay away from it.

Joseph is a real pattern for purity of life. Who would deny that he was strong? Was he not brave enough to go, as a mere boy, on a long journey through a strange land, in search of his brothers? Was he not brave enough to stand before Pharaoh and interpret for him the meaning of his dream, when all others had failed, and when failure meant death? Yet, strong and brave though he was, Joseph fled from an evil woman. By such flight he landed in prison; but he was brought from prison to stand before the king, and finally to become the highest officer in the land next to the king.

Concerning High Degrees

"We shall not fall off a cliff if we do not go too near the edge". Today a lot of gospel preachers are going too near the edge of the cliff. Many fine young men, men of faith and courage (perhaps too much courage), go into the universities of America in search of high degrees. Their faith is strong, and they have no fear of the atheistic theories of the professors. Many times they come away with their faith shattered, or, if not completely shattered, then seriously weakened. Some become modernists, some skeptics, some infidels.

Why do gospel preachers want such degrees? Was one ever able to convert more souls because he was called "Doctor" instead of "brother"? What evil influence has caused so many fine young men to be under the delusion that the highest goal of all education is a doctor's degree from a university in Chicago or Boston. What has a gospel preacher to learn in such hotbeds of infidelity and incubators of modernism that will make him a more effective servant of Christ? One young man told me he wanted "a doctor's degree" because he expected to be called sometime to preach for a church in which there are several lawyers! Now if his desire is to impress the lawyers, the degree may be helpful. If, however, his desire is to teach, convict, convert, and help these lawyers to be honest lawyers and faithful Christians, then his degree will be as useless as a bathing suit in the Sahara desert.

Some may say, "I just go to get the good they offer, and I'll ignore the bad". That's like going to a garbage can to get food. Why wade through all the filth and rotting sewage to get a morsel of food when the same food can be had otherwise? Why should one expose his soul to all the rotten corruption and filthy falsehoods of atheistic professors in an effort to get an education, when the real education can be had without such exposure? (Too many times Ph. D. means literally "Prepared to Honor the Devil")

How Close To The Edge

An old proverb says, "Lie down with the dogs, and you will get up with the fleas". Until the fleas are removed from the dog, the only safe course is to avoid the dog. So with sin and those who uphold it.

A lot of women will run from a mouse, but they will adore a real monster who comes in the disguise of a hero on the screen at the movie house. Men today will use every means to protect their children from disease, yet willingly expose these same children to lust and sin in the theatres and dance halls. This exposure may, or may not, bring physical death; but in most cases it is almost certain to bring eternal death.

We must be courageous and brave. When the enemy strikes, let us not retreat. Let us always "contend for the faith" and let us "stand fast in the faith". On the other hand, let us not be foolhardy and reckless. The story is told of a man who lived atop a high mountain. The only driveway to his home passed very near the edge of a high cliff. Three men applied for the position of chauffeur to this man. When asked about driving the hazardous road, one said, "I can safely drive within a foot of the edge of that cliff". The second said, "I can do better than that; I can drive with the wheel touching the very edge of the cliff, and still have the car under control." The third man said, "If I'm hired, I'm not even interested in seeing how close I can drive to that cliff. I'm going to stay as far over to the other side of the road as I can get!" You may be certain he got the job. It will be far better for most of us if we never even know how much temptation we can endure. There are temptations that must be avoided, rather than overcome.

We say the blacksmith's arm is strong because the iron is hard. So we, as Christians, become stronger by meeting the "hard" things of life. A completely sheltered life does not produce a truly strong Christian. Yet, there is a limit to the strength of the blacksmith's arm. I have heard of only one who declared that he could "hold any mule's foot". Most of them prefer to go through life wondering if they could have done it. It does not detract from the strength of their arm to decline to put it to the test. A too intimate association with the hind feet of the famous hybrid is avoided rather than sought. Likewise, it does not make a Christian weaker to shun all unnecessary association with evil influences.

Finally, let us not be cowards. Let us not always be "on the run" from everything. When temptation and evil cannot be shunned, then "resist the devil, and he will flee from you". (Jas. 4:7) There will be plenty of occasions in life when to flee is impossible. In such instances, let us "put on the whole armour of God" that we may be able "to stand against the wiles of the devil". Flee temptation when you can; fight it when you cannot.