Have you ever wondered why it's so hard just to follow God sometimes? Why do we have problems in our marriages? Why is it so tough to raise a family? Why do we struggle with our finances when we make good salaries and don't waste money? Shouldn’t it be easy? Well it’s not easy. And there is a reason for it, my friend. I've got some news for you! Whether or not you have realized it, you are in a fight--a fight for your very life!
If everyone was a Christian, living like Christ mandates us to live, there would be fewer problems because, at least, we would be on one accord. But it's not just us. Add to the mix non-believers, outside influences on our children, some mechanical issues with our cars, a hail storm that damages our roof, and on-and-on. Perspective changes and now things seem a little tougher to manage. And we wonder, what is wrong?
The fact of the matter is that you are in this fight! The fight of your life for your life! You and I have an enemy. His name is Satan, the devil; his mission is to Steal, Kill, and Destroy.
John 10:10 (HCSB) A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.
He's hunting you down!
1 Peter 5:8 (BBE) Be serious and keep watch; the Evil One, who is against you, goes about like a lion with open mouth in search of food;
Yes, you are in a fight. Have you made preparation for the battle? Are you ready?
I recently completed a devotional reading plan about Samson. That plan highlighted Samson's mistakes. We all make identical or similar mistakes. I decided to do this series so maybe you and I can avoid making those same mistakes.
Ephesians 6:10-18 (BBE)10 Lastly, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his power.11 Take up God's instruments of war, so that you may be able to keep your position against all the deceits of the Evil One.12 For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against authorities and powers, against the world-rulers of this dark night, against the spirits of evil in the heavens.13 For this reason take up all the arms of God, so that you may be able to be strong in the evil day, and, having done all, to keep your place.
14 Take your place, then, having your body clothed with the true word, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness;15 Be ready with the good news of peace as shoes on your feet;16 And most of all, using faith as a cover to keep off all the flaming arrows of the Evil One.17 And take salvation for your head-dress and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:18 With prayers and deep desires, making requests at all times in the Spirit, and keeping watch, with strong purpose, in prayer for all the saints,
Just as each and every one of us, as God’s children, were born and born again for God’s good pleasure and purposes, so was Samson. He was born sanctified unto God! Samson was born special!
Judges 13:1-5 (BBE) 1 And the children of Israel again did evil in the eyes of the Lord; and the Lord gave them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.2 Now there was a certain man of Zorah of the family of the Danites, and his name was Manoah; and his wife had never given birth to a child.3 And the angel of the Lord came to the woman, and said to her, See now! though you have never given birth to children, you will be with child and give birth to a son.4 Now then take care to have no wine or strong drink and to take no unclean thing for food; 5 For you are with child and will give birth to a son; his hair is never to be cut, for the child is to be separate to God from his birth; and he will take up the work of freeing Israel from the hands of the Philistines.
Samson's birth was miraculous because his mother had been unable to give birth. When she was told by an angel that she would give birth, Samson’s mother was also told that he would lead the nation of Israel as a Judge. In those days, before Israel had kings, God raised up Judges, (deliverers) to rescue the Israelites from their attackers. Samson was to be one of those Judges. The angel also told his mother, (and I’m certain although the scriptures don’t say it specifically), that his mother and father also told him that there were some things that he was not to do. He was not to drink strong drink, eat unclean things, as defined by the law of Moses, or to cut his hair all because he was on a mission for God.
It’s the same for us after we are born again
John 3:3-6 (BBE)3 Jesus said to him, Truly, I say to you, Without a new birth no man is able to see the kingdom of God.4 Nicodemus said to him, How is it possible for a man to be given birth when he is old? Is he able to go into his mother's body a second time and come to birth again?5 Jesus said in answer, Truly, I say to you, If a man's birth is not from water and from the Spirit, it is not possible for him to go into the kingdom of God.6 That which has birth from the flesh is flesh, and that which has birth from the Spirit is spirit.
When we are born again we become brand new creatures
As people born of the Spirit we must realize that the battle is being waged against us in the spiritual realm, even though we often feel as though we are being attacked in the flesh and blood physical realm.
Chasing the Wrong Things
Samson was the strongest man who ever lived. But even with so much going for him-chosen by God, blessed with supernatural strength-Samson just couldn't escape his flaws. His weaknesses kept getting the best of him.
Judges 14:1-2 (BBE)1 Now Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah, of the daughters of the Philistines;2 And when he came back he said to his father and mother, I have seen a woman in Timnah, of the daughters of the Philistines: get her now for me for my wife.
Samson had a problem with lust. He went to Timnah on purpose. The Philistines were enemies; remember the angel told his mother that he would free Israel. While there he lusted after the wrong thing. The Law of Moses (which the Israelites were to obey) forbid intermarriage with those who didn’t worship Jehovah. And yet, Samson wanted his parents to get this foreign prostitute for his wife.
What about you? Men, have you ever stopped while channel surfing or on the Internet or driving down the street, stopped or slowed down when you “happened to see” a hot woman? What about you women, ever pause at a “hot” man with no shirt, bulging muscles and abs?
What happened to Samson was that he was in the wrong place and then his eyes started to wander and almost before he realized it, his heart followed. He wasn’t thinking about what his parents told him, or the Law of Moses he didn’t care what was right or wrong; he just saw something that he liked and wanted it.
Sounds familiar doesn’t it? You may not have a problem with sexual lusts but you may lust after other things like a promotion on your job, a raise, or prestige. Maybe it’s something material like a big house, a new car, that new entertainment center, that new furniture. Any and all of these things can start to consume your mind and eventually overwhelm your soul. You think about them all the time trying to figure out how to get them.
Ephesians 5:3 (HCSB)3 But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints.
Get in the habit of looking the other way from temptations. It doesn’t make sense to go looking for trouble. Practice common sense and good judgment.
James 4:7 (NLT)7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Remember you’re in a fight. This is spiritual warfare. Shore up your defenses.
Rules Are Made To Be Broken
Samson was to follow three basic rules:
1. Don't drink alcohol.
2. Don't touch anything dead.
3. Don't cut your hair.
But for Samson "Rules are made to be broken."
Judges 14:5-6 (BBE)5 Then Samson went down to Timnah (and his father and his mother,) and came to the vine-gardens of Timnah; and a young lion came rushing out at him.6 And the spirit of the Lord came on him with power, and, unarmed as he was, pulling the lion in two as one might do to a young goat, he put him to death; (but he said nothing to his father and mother of what he had done.)
Pretty cool right? Samson kills a lion with his bare hands.
When he comes back by though he breaks one of the basic rules; the one about not touching anything dead.
Judges 14:7-9 (BBE)7 So he went down and had talk with the woman; and she was pleasing to Samson.8 Then after a time he went back to take her; and turning from the road to see the dead body of the lion, he saw a mass of bees in the body of the lion, and honey there.9 And he took the honey in his hand, and went on, tasting it on the way; and when he came to his father and mother he gave some to them; but did not say that he had taken the honey from the body of the lion.
Not only did he touch it, he dug his hands into it.
Now let’s not judge Samson too harshly and let’s be honest. Have you ever decided to go your own way even when you knew that God had blessed you? Lusting after whatever it is you want can make you feel entitled, “I work hard, so I deserve a little fun.” “I’m not getting my needs met at home.” “Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.” If you let these thoughts fester in your mind, you’ll break the rules about fidelity and marriage, about not coveting, about not lying, or about putting anything before God.
James 4:1-12 (BBE) 1 What is the cause of wars and fighting among you? is it not in your desires which are at war in your bodies?2 You are burning with desire, and have not your desire, so you put men to death; you are full of envy, and you are not able to get your desire, so you are fighting and making war; you have not your desire, because you do not make request for it.3 You make your request but you do not get it, because your request has been wrongly made, desiring the thing only so that you may make use of it for your pleasure.4 O you who are false to God, do you not see that the friends of this world are not God's friends? Every man desiring to be a friend of this world makes himself a hater of God.5 Or does it seem to you that it is for nothing that the holy Writings say, The spirit which God put into our hearts has a strong desire for us?6 But he gives more grace. So that the Writings say, God is against the men of pride, but he gives grace to those who make themselves low before him.7 For this cause be ruled by God; but make war on the Evil One and he will be put to flight before you.8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Make your hands clean, you evil-doers; put away deceit from your hearts, you false in mind.9 Be troubled, with sorrow and weeping; let your laughing be turned to sorrow and your joy to grief.10 Make yourselves low in the eyes of the Lord and you will be lifted up by him.11 Do not say evil against one another, my brothers. He who says evil against his brother or makes himself his brother's judge, says evil against the law and is judging the law: and in judging the law you become, not a doer of the law but a judge.12 There is only one judge and law-giver, even he who has the power of salvation and of destruction; but who are you to be your neighbour's judge?
Follow the rules. Remember you’re in a fight. This is spiritual warfare. Shore up your defenses.
My next post will address those times when our enemy will make us think that we have everything under control, how we respond when we get emotional, and the trouble with foxes.
Can You be Victorious in Spiritual Warfare?
If you are a Christian and a believer you have everything you need to be victorious in this fight. If you’re not then you can’t win and the enemy will prey on you and destroy you.
If you want to be victorious here’s what you need do right now;
Romans 10:9 (NKJV) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Pray this prayer in all sincerity. It doesn’t matter where you are. You may be at you desk on your computer, or somewhere on your laptop, you may be reading this on your smartphone, or your tablet. It doesn’t matter just pray in all sincerity. Don’t just say it if you don’t really mean it, because if you do you will just be speaking words. But if you are tired of trying to change things in your own power, and are ready to turn your life over to the One who can make you a new creature with a renewed heart and mind pray;
“God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!”
If you truly understand and believe what you just prayed then these promises of eternal life apply to you. So do all the other promises that God has made to believers. To find out what they are and how they apply to you find a bible believing church and start to fellowship with other believers. Welcome to the family of God my brother or sister.
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.