People do the craziest things to lose weight. I know. We will take away all the normal food out of our lives, and then it's tremendous. You can have water, grapefruit, all the lettuce can eat, lots of celery, and watery soup. You can lose weight that way, but you know what? Take it from an old diet expert here, you can't keep it lost. You just can't live that way. You just can't always eat just grapefruit and unlimited lettuce. You have to find some new foods that you can eat and enjoy for the rest of your life. Otherwise you violate the key principle: If you're going to take away something you enjoy, you had better put something good in its' place if you want the change to last. Actually that applies to spiritual change.
In our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Timothy 2:22, Paul is writing to young men and he's talking about a subject that would have to do with young men. He talks about the "evil desires of youth." He says, "Look, I know especially when you're young that one of the challenges spiritually is controlling your glands, and your sexuality, and your feelings toward the opposite sex." And he talks about something you should lose. You could almost call it losing spiritual weight. Except here it's losing a bad habit.
He says, "Flee the evil desires of youth." Okay, that's the diet plan; that's the fattening things you've got to lose. But I'm glad he doesn't leave it there, because he gives you something new to put in its place. He says, "Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue..." Okay, it's not just running from things. There's something you need to chase. "...and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace."
I'm afraid that a lot of Christians would just stop with the negative - with the prohibition. "Flee youthful lusts, my son." And he's right when he says that, and we're right to have those negatives. Don't cheapen sex, don't fill yourself up with destructive music, or websites, or worldly amusements. Don't go out with unbelievers, don't read magazines that have garbage values, and don't watch junk TV.
But notice that Paul doesn't stop with a "don't." He says, "Go chasing..." And then he says, "...pursue some good stuff to do. Go after faith." Well, that means adventures that can stretch you and your faith in God. He says, "Go after love." In other words, be pursuing bridges to other people; more ways to put them first. He says, "Be a peacemaker between other people." He gives one don't and four do's. That's a spiritual diet that can have lasting
affects. Lasting results because you've got many more things you are doing than things you stopped doing.
Jesus talked about a man who swept the house and got rid of an evil spirit, but he didn't have anything in the house after the spirit was gone. And seven spirits worse came back because there was a vacuum. See, I don't think we can just be against things; we've got to be for a lot more things. We've got to invest in alternatives to the wrong thing.
We should major on healthy friendships, invest in those, encourage those, spend money for our kids to have good input and fun family times without regrets, and healthy recreation to develop their abilities. Go on spiritual missions together in your neighborhood or somewhere else in the world.
I think as Christians we should be known for being too busy doing good things to miss the things we're not doing. Let's be known not for what we're against, but for the great things we're for.