We’re continuing through Luke’s Gospel. In my last post, we saw Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His trial. Now, He’s about to be arrested. You may want to read Luke 22:47-53 before continuing with the rest of this article.
The Lord knew that His captors were approaching. He woke up His disciples and went to meet the officials. It’s interesting to see how the disciples reacted.
When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?” And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
Luke 22:49-50 NIV
We know from the other Gospels that this verse is referring to Peter. A fisherman wielding a sword. I’m surprised that he didn’t hurt himself! The best he could do was to cut the ear off of an unarmed servant.
When the other disciples saw the futility of resisting, they all ran away. One of them, when he was grabbed, left without any clothing (Mark 14:51-52). It was the normal, human, fight or flight reaction.
The Lord knew where He was headed. He was looking forward to the victory He was going to accomplish on the cross. So, instead, I want to talk about what was happening with the disciples.
What they did was the normal reaction that’s built into all of us. When we see trouble coming, our entire being begins to prepare to either fight or run away. God placed that in our DNA in order for us to protect ourselves in emergency situations.
The problem is that there’s a spiritual side that many of us fail to grasp. In the spiritual battles that we face, there are times that we need to apply the lessons of “fight or flight”.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13 NIV
I think Scripture is clear that the first choice is to stand your ground. We need to prepare ourselves spiritually, so that we don’t fall back into our old ways. If you’re strong in the Lord, and understand your place in Christ, then stand and fight that spiritual battle.
If you remember from my last post, Jesus gave this warning to the disciples. Two times He told them to pray in order that they wouldn’t fall to temptation. The time to prepare is before the spiritual struggle.
But, what about those who aren’t in that position? They’ve tried to fight the enemy and merely “cut off a servant’s ear”. They haven’t put on their holy armor.
Many believers find themselves in spiritual battles with no hope of victory. They’ve resigned themselves to falling backwards for the rest of their lives. There is another choice.
Look at what Paul advised a young pastor who he was mentoring.
Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22 NIV
Some of the worst problems we face are when the old man tries to reassert itself. The sins that we thought were long gone are suddenly calling to us again.
This is especially true of addictive sins. Sexual, drug, and alcohol addictions are a few areas that never seem to let up on their assaults. What do you do if your spiritual strength is not enough to overcome? Should you just give in? Absolutely not!
There is a time to flee. Get out of the situation that’s causing the temptation. You must leave the environment that weakens your defenses. There’s nothing shameful about a strategic retreat. It gives you the ability to strengthen your position for the next battle.
However, that’s not the end of the story. There’s a place you need to run into. Along with “fleeing”, we need to pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace. There must be both fleeing and pursuing if we want a life of victory over evil in our lives.
Question: When have you needed to flee from an overpowering situation?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi