Fight or Flight
1 Timothy 6:1-6
God has given up some instincts. Not everyone is the same. Not everyone reacts to every situation the same. But many psychologists talk about a fight or flight response. When we are faced with a threat, we can either flee or fight. In just a couple of weeks its going to be hallowed which means there will always be a few people that like to scare people by jumping out of the bushes, or sit really still on their porch with a bowl of candy to scare people. They hope that they will get the flight response. If we were programed to only fight when we are scared and every time someone jumped out from behind a bush with their hands way out they got punched in the face, i bet there would be a whole lot less people jumping out and trying to scare people.
Fight or flight. What do you prefer to do? I know it depends on the size of the threat. We can’t fight everything and survive. You vs. a bear isn’t always going to work out . And we just can’t flee everything and live in fear and cowardice. So the apostle Paul to timothy gives us some guidance on when to flee and when to fight.
1 Timothy 6
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this,
Flee from this. From what? Where is the threat? If I am walking down the street and I see a mountain lion in the middle of the road. I instantly know there is a threat there. I know if I try to fight that thing I am probably not going to win, and if I run it might chase me and it is going to be way faster than me. So if I had a choice of whether of not I would you like to be face to face with a mountain lion? I wouldn’t even have to think about it, NO. I do not want to be face to face with a mountain lion. I know that’s a threat. And I don’t want any part of it.
What about wanting to be rich? What about being discontent with what we have? Do you view that as a threat as dangerous as a mountain lion? It’s easy to think, that would never hurt me. That’s not a threat. Get rich or die trying! Wanting more. Being hungry in the business world. That is thought of often as a good thing good thing. Dreaming about what you would do if you hit that jackpot keeps us coming back not driving us away. Greed is sometimes, masked as just self improvement, and our God given right in this country. And while being greedy is not illegal, it can destroy us. It is a real threat that can do much worse to us than any mountain lion ever could.
A mountain lion could take your life. Greed can take your soul. How terrible would we think a parent is, who tells their child, I am going to love you the second you become a millionaire. Can you imagine someone saying that to someone they care about? The second that you can buy what you want, the second that you are your own boss, the second that you hit a certain level or arbitrary success, then I love you. That’s awful.
But at the same there are many of us who treat ourselves that way. I’ll love the person that I am, once I am successful. I will love my life when I can buy that house, or when I pay off my loans, or when I have something I don’t have now. I will be happy with my life once I satisfy the greed that is in my heart, no matter how great or small it is. Isn’t that just as cruel.
Or even worse, we say that God. I’ll have time for God when… I get into this school. When I get that promotion. When we get this scholarship, When I finish this overtime. When my greed is gone then there will be time for God.
Flee from that. Get out of there. That is going to pull you in and try to never let you go.
a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction, and causes many to pierce themselves with many griefs.
Flee from that so that you can fight.
11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
Its not flight or fight. It’s flee so that you can fight. If you are caught up in a trap. In a snare. You know a snare trap that grabs an animal by the let so that it can’t escape. You can’t fight. Or if you are drowning, you are sinking into destruction because of your greed, you are not effective in battle. If all of our energy, and all of our resources, are spent trying to be what this world calls successful. Chasing this dragon of success so that we can feel valuable, or significant, or happy because we have something. We could lose everything. We are going to be left completely drained of all of the wonderful gifts that God gifts to us, and barely have anything left for him.
Because these are the things you do have. All of you have clothes. I can see them on you today. All of you here that I know of have food. And there will be coffee and donuts after church if you need a little more. We have our basic needs met. And on top of those physical things. We have to Lord of the universe, the King of Kings, as our friend, who died on the cross to give us everlasting life in a paradise that no money could buy.
Pretty good. That’s what you have right now today. You have eternity in heaven, it is a gift. You have value, you are a blood bought child of God. You have physical blessings. You have comfort and peace through your faith. But you are going to need to fight for that.
The Devil and the world are going to try to get you to give all that up. They are going to work on all of the people sitting here today and all believers all over the world. They are going to try and take the treasure of heaven away from us, and instead give us false security. If you get a another 0 or 2 or 3 in your bank account, then everything will be fine. Fight that feeling off with the power that comes from God that isn’t weighed down by what ifs.
And it is going to be a battle. That battle may be waging inside of you right now. You are thinking to yourself. Three weeks in a row now we have talked about money. I don’t come to church to hear about money. I want to hear about Jesus.
If that’s you! Great! I want to talk about Jesus. I want to tell you and the whole world about how much our Savior loves each and every one of us. I want to follow the great commission that says “Go and make disciples of all nations by baptizing them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy spirit. And I want to teach them to obey everything God has commanded us. And some of the things that God commands us are about how we use the resources that God gives to us. I want to be able to teach people like Shayda about God’s love and mercy, about forgiveness, about Ruth, about the lyrics of our hymns that we sing, about spiritual gifts, and about everything including how do we use the resources that God has given to us.
To some God has given more. To some God has given less. If you have been blessed by God you don’t have to feel guilty for God giving you blessings. But just know that your wealth could be a trap for you that makes you wander away from God. Fight against that. Fight for God. Fight for his wisdom. Fight for time to worship him. Fight for that monster of greed to not get a hold of you so that you can worship your God with your whole heart soul and mind.
If you aren’t as well off financially as you would like to be. Fight against that greed. Fight against the feeling that God loves others more than you. Fight against the feelings that its not fair what is happening to me. Fight to understand God’s love and grace being sufficient for you.
It’s a tough fight.
We are in this battle. And every battle needs a great leader. One that tells you to retreat and flee to keep you safe. And one that is going to lead you into battle and keep you victorious. And that is our Lord Jesus Christ. There is that quick little reference to Jesus making a confession before Pilate. A good confession, Paul says. And he said. Jesus was sitting before Pontius Pilate. The King of the universe was sitting in front of a local governor, who didn’t understand completely who he was dealing with. And Jesus when asked if he was a king, he said, “my kingdom is not of this world.”
That’s the confession that we fight for. That is what we hope to understand. That is what the attitude offerings to the Lord reflect. The kingdom that we belong to, is not of this world. That’s what keeps us away from getting caught up in greed and let’s us escape to the treasures that heaven has for us. That’s what keeps us fighting the good fight to hold onto that gift of faith. That is what lifts us up in times of suffering, and that is what humbles us when we are proud.
That’s not natural according to our life without Jesus. But it is something that we learn and grow in knowing that we have been Saved fully and freely by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Learn from him. Flee from the Danger. Fight the good fight.