“Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Psalm 97:10
Suggested Further Reading: Genesis 39
With regard to some sins, if thou wouldst avoid them, take one piece of advice—run away from them. Sins of lust especially are never to be fought with, except after Joseph’s way; and you know what Joseph did—he ran away. A French philosopher said, “Fly, fly, Telemaque; there remains no way of conquest but by flight.” The true soldiers of Christ’s cross will stand foot to foot with any sin in the world except this; but here they turn their backs and fly, and then they become conquerors. “Flee fornication,” said one of old, and there was wisdom in the counsel; there is no way of overcoming it but by flight. If the temptation attack thee, shut thine eye and stop thy ear, and away, away from it; for thou art only safe when thou art beyond sight and earshot. “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil;” and endeavour with all your might to resist and overcome it in yourselves. Once again, ye that love the Lord, if ye would keep from sin, seek always to have a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit, never trust yourselves a single day without having a fresh renewal of your piety before you go forth to the day’s duties. We are never safe unless we are in the Lord’s hands. No Christian, be he who he may, or what he may, though he be renowned for his piety and prayerfulness, can exist a day without falling into great sin unless the Holy Spirit shall be his protector. Old master Dyer says, “Lock up your hearts by prayer every morning, and give God the key, so that nothing can get in; and then when thou unlockest thy heart at night, there will be a sweet fragrance and perfume of love, joy, and holiness.”
For meditation: There are two sides to victory over temptation—resisting the flesh and yielding to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). Sometimes the emphasis will be to flee, sometimes to follow, sometimes to fight (1 Timothy 6:11-12), but neither side will be effective without the other.
Sermon no. 208
8 August (1858)