All too often we dally with sin and wander the streets of temptation. We fail to recognize that sin is powerful and we do best to steer clear of it entirely. The type of example that often comes to mind is young people and sexual temptation. When young people date or are engaged to be married, they often see how close to the line of sin they can get without actually sinning. How far can I go? How close can I get? My former pastor once likened toying with sexual temptation to trying to lean a refrigerator over the edge of a flight of stairs and then being surprised when it goes crashing down to the bottom floor. If your sexual purity is the refrigerator and the staircase is temptation—don’t go near the staircase! Don’t try to see how far you can lean the fridge and then be shocked and surprised when it falls down the stairs.
When it comes to sin, the Bible does not describe our movement in terms of drawing near to it and toying with it. A number of passages describe our movement in terms of flight: “Therefore, beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Cor. 10:14). “Flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18). “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness” (2 Tim. 2:22). We should not draw near sin but run from it. In the case of sexual temptation, don’t put yourself in a place where you’ll find easy access to temptation. Don’t spend time alone with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Seek the companionship of friends and family—seek accountability—people who will help you maintain your sexual purity. Don’t feed your sinful passions by consuming books, websites, or media that only incite or rouse your passions. Flee your passions, as Paul tells Timothy, and instead pursue righteousness—draw near to Christ through the means of grace.