When I was younger, I used to love running with my cross-country teams during each practice. It provided an incentive to beat the old” guy and encouraged them to get the best out of themselves (If coach is able to do this, then I should be able to.). We were fortunate that the area surrounding our school provided a plethora of woodland trails on which we could train. One year, we actually did a different workout for each practice for the entire season.
One time in particular, we were running through the woods during bow hunting season. To avoid the danger of an errant arrow we would make a lot of noise. None of my runners were hunters and didn’t want to become one later in life. So they would run through the woods shouting, “Run away! Run Away!” in high-pitched falsetto voices-ala an old Monte Python skit. We thought is was hilarious. The deer hunters? Not so much.
I wrote all that to lead up to this. Some Christians seem to think that getting saved is the end of the experience with God–that they are now equipped with everything they need to continue to successfully follow God for the rest of their lives. They feel that they can handle anything. Yet, how many times does God’s tell us to run away from something? Our spiritual “pride” can lead us into dangers of all kinds. Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14) Proverbs 16:18 says, Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
In fact, we are told to run away from certain things. Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. (I Corinthians 6:18) So, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. (I Corinthians 10:14) Run from anything that stimulates youthful lusts. (II Timothy 2:22) People who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. I Timothy 6:9-11)
We are to run from these things because they appeal to the natural man. They are the traps lying in wait when we become overconfident in our self-righteousness. They are so subtle that we may not even notice them. But after time the traps that have ensnared us, begin to separate us from God. Think of Samson. Dedicated to God at birth, he was to never cut his hair. The strength that he was given was to help set Israel free. But his life eventually began to spiral downward to the point where Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him. Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the Lord had left him. So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison. (Judges 16:19-21)
So are we to be frightened of all these things? Not at all! So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) Because I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13) Just remember that He is the one with the strength, not you.