You are in a fight, a literal spiritual war. And you have an adversary who is smart, cunning, and very sneaky. He is extremely dangerous and out to destroy you. This adversary is your fiercest opponent; his name is Satan. You probably know him as the devil. Although he is already defeated, he can still inflict great injury on you. He can cause you to miss out on some of the many blessings that are God’s promise to you because of your spiritual birthright.
This is the third in a series of posts in which I use the mistakes of Samson to warn you so that you don’t make those same mistakes. The mistakes that Samson made are the weapons your enemy uses in this spiritual war. We identified four of them in the first two posts in this series.
In this post let's assume that you've overcome all of these things. You had problems with them in the past, but you have dealt with them and have overcome them. Now you think you're a superhero. “You can leap tall buildings in a single bound.” You start to “believe your own press”. You maybe even start to embellish your accomplishments a little. As my mother use to say “You are getting the big head.” Today’s post will focus on two more of the enemy’s weapons: arrogance and stress.
You’ll remember from the second post in this series, “Spiritual Warfare - You’re in a Fight to the Death-2”, that Samson’s emotions got the best of him and he started a big fire that burned up the Philistines grain fields and resulted in his former fiancee, who he left at the altar by-the-way, and her father being killed in retaliation. (Judges 15:1-6).
Here was Samson’s response;
Judges 15:7-10, 14-15 (NLT)7 “Because you did this,” Samson vowed, “I won’t rest until I take my revenge on you!”8 So he attacked the Philistines with great fury and killed many of them. Then he went to live in a cave in the rock of Etam.9 The Philistines retaliated by setting up camp in Judah and spreading out near the town of Lehi.10 The men of Judah asked the Philistines, “Why are you attacking us?” The Philistines replied, “We’ve come to capture Samson. We’ve come to pay him back for what he did to us.” 14 As Samson arrived at Lehi, the Philistines came shouting in triumph. But the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon Samson, and he snapped the ropes on his arms as if they were burnt strands of flax, and they fell from his wrists.15 Then he found the jawbone of a recently killed donkey. He picked it up and killed 1,000 Philistines with it.
What an amazing feat. Superhero stuff. How does Samson do it? It’s clear that it was through God’s strength, but Samson takes the credit. He became arrogant and proud.
Judges 15:16-17 (NLT)16 Then Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, I’ve piled them in heaps! With the jawbone of a donkey, I’ve killed a thousand men!”17 When he finished his boasting, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was named Jawbone Hill.
Here’s the definition and some of the synonyms of arrogant;
“having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one's own importance or abilities”
synonyms; proud, big-headed, puffed up
Arrogance comes from being insecure. When you don't know who you are in Christ, most of us look to pride to try to fill that void-just like Samson did.
You try to define yourself by your accomplishments . You rely on your achievements, your victories, your wins, instead of acknowledging God as the source of those accomplishments. Pride can be intoxicating, but you forget that you’re human with human limitations. If you try to convince yourself that you’re that superhero you will miss the true SUPERHERO...God.
If your enemy can get you to believe that your accomplishments are the result of your efforts he'll soon have you on the defensive. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, had something to say about that;
Proverbs 16:18 (NLT) Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
The resources and strength to accomplish the things that last and have real meaning come from the Lord.
Psalm 121:2 (NLT) My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!
Remember you’re in a fight. This is spiritual warfare. Acknowledge God as the source of your strength.
Once you become a superhero you have to keep it up. No superhero worth his or her weight loses their power and becomes merely human again.
Judges 15:18 (NLT) Samson was now very thirsty, and he cried out to the LORD, “You have accomplished this great victory by the strength of your servant. Must I now die of thirst and fall into the hands of these pagans?”
Samson failed to acknowledge God as the source of his strength. He had just achieved a great victory and now he thinks he’s going to die. This is[Ma4] right after he killed 1000 men with the jawbone of a donkey. He was spent, exhausted, and now he had to admit that he needed help. When you take on everything alone, the enemy can then use other weapons...stress, anxiety and worry.
Have you ever worked so hard at anything that you were exhausted physically?[Ma5] It might have been while at work, in ministry or volunteering, or even while playing competitive sports? Have you ever felt “I don’t want to let anybody down?” Do you feel like you are the one holding everything and everybody together? Do you like all that responsibility? No wonder you’re exhausted and stressed.
Because you don't want to disappoint others, you keep saying, “yes,” and before you know it, you have added so much to your plate that you now feel overwhelmed. Because of how you have over-extended yourself, you start to wonder why you do so much for everybody else. Your pride will not allow you to ask for help, because, after all, you’re a superhero. Resentment sets in and you begin to become negative, feeling alone, depressed and defeated. And you try to hide your true feelings, because your overwhelmed, stressed-out mind tells you, “no one cares or understands, anyway.” So, now the focus becomes you. You have lost sight of your good intentions, which began as serving God and others. Recognize this for what it is…it is a weapon of the enemy to keep you from serving Christ through your service to humanity.
When you are overwhelmed and get anxious, stressed, and worried remember God is bigger than anything you will ever encounter. Look to Him.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.7 Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
The Holy Spirit tells us, through Paul, not to be anxious about anything, but rather to turn everything over to Him in prayer. Giving our burdens and concerns to a holy and righteous God daily, will mitigate or eliminate the stress in our lives.
You don’t have to handle everything. Do what Samson did, cry out to the Lord and watch what happens;
Judges 15:19-20 (NLT)19 So God caused water to gush out of a hollow in the ground at Lehi, and Samson was revived as he drank. Then he named that place “The Spring of the One Who Cried Out,” and it is still in Lehi to this day.20 Samson judged Israel for twenty years during the period when the Philistines dominated the land.
1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.
Remember you’re in a fight. This is spiritual warfare. Admit that you need God’s help and see how He responds.
You Can Win this War
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 (NLT) If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God 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.