You are in a fight, this is spiritual warfare. 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.
This is the final post in this series. I use the mistakes of Samson to warn you so that you don’t make the mistakes that he did in his battle. The mistakes that Samson made become the weapons your enemy uses on you in this spiritual war. I identified six of them.
Let’s say that you have been beat up by some or all of these weapons and you are still losing because you are trying to fight in your power. Things keep getting worse and worse and you feel that since you are losing battle after battle you are going to lose the war. You have hit rock bottom.
If you keep flirting with danger, one day you may just hit rock bottom. That may be the best thing that can happen to you in this spiritual war. It doesn’t happen all at once. It happens one step at a time. You get a victory in a skirmish or two and you become arrogant. I talked about that in my last post. You take credit for the victory instead of giving it to the One who enabled you to get it. You start to wander away from God, you stop trusting Him to guide your every step; you stop acknowledging Him as the One who sustains you and gives you strength. You get cocky and when the next battle comes you fall flat on your face. You get stressed out. I talked about that in my last post as well. You start to tumble--this time to the very bottom. This is the exact place where the enemy wants to see you...at the very bottom…it’s called rock bottom.
It happened to Samson. I don’t want it to happen to you.
He tumbled one step at a time. It seems as though every human experiences the same three steps that Samson made in his tumble.
Step 1: Rationalizing our sins. Some people justify their sin based on how "clean" the rest of their life is: This is my ONE vice. Other men justify it as something private: It's MY business, not yours. Some write their own rulebook: I can look at the menu, as long as I don't order anything. And some guys blame others: If she would do THAT, then I wouldn't have to do THIS.
Step 2: Assuming our disobedience won't cost us. Just like Samson, we keep thinking, I'll just do the same thing I did last time. I'll shake myself free. But our sins always overtake us eventually and overpower us. Your sin will find you out. Today you'll see what that looked like for Samson.
Step 3: Taunting our enemy. Samson enters into enemy territory again to visit a prostitute. When he leaves the city, he takes the city gate with him. Why? Just to taunt them.
Samson was a warrior strong enough to kill a thousand men.
Judges 15:14-15 (NLT)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.
He was strong enough to rip a lion apart with his bare hands.
Judges 14:5-6 (NLT)5 As Samson and his parents were going down to Timnah, a young lion suddenly attacked Samson near the vineyards of Timnah.6 At that moment the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him, and he ripped the lion’s jaws apart with his bare hands. He did it as easily as if it were a young goat. But he didn’t tell his father or mother about it.
He was strong enough to pull the gates of a city and carry them off.
Judges 16:1-3 (NLT)1 One day Samson went to the Philistine town of Gaza and spent the night with a prostitute.2 Word soon spread that Samson was there, so the men of Gaza gathered together and waited all night at the town gates. They kept quiet during the night, saying to themselves, “When the light of morning comes, we will kill him.”3 But Samson stayed in bed only until midnight. Then he got up, took hold of the doors of the town gate, including the two posts, and lifted them up, bar and all. He put them on his shoulders and carried them all the way to the top of the hill across from Hebron.
He was able to lift the gates of the city, with their posts and the bar which fastened them, and carry them forty miles, to the vicinity of Hebron. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary.
But in the end, he wasn't strong enough to lead the people he should have been leading.
Remember what the angel told Samson’s mother?
Judges 13:5 (NLT) You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.”
Here is how Samson ended up;
Judges 16:4-5, 17-21 (NLT)4 Some time later Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sorek.5 The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “Entice Samson to tell you what makes him so strong and how he can be overpowered and tied up securely. Then each of us will give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” 17 Finally, Samson shared his secret with her. “My hair has never been cut,” he confessed, “for I was dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as anyone else.”18 Delilah realized he had finally told her the truth, so she sent for the Philistine rulers. “Come back one more time,” she said, “for he has finally told me his secret.” So the Philistine rulers returned with the money in their hands.19 Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him.20 Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the LORD had left him.21 So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison.
Don’t let the enemy fool you into thinking that you can keep getting away with doing the same things over and over. I know that you have all heard that doing the same things over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity but in the Kingdom of God, it really amounts to;
Proverbs 26:11 (NLT) As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.
Samson’s infatuation with the wrong women and his dependence on his physical strength to get him out of tough spots is an example. He let his emotions and his fleshly impulses dictate his actions. Sooner or later if you keep yielding to those impulses and emotions, they will get the best of you. With Samson it cost him the thing he most relied on...his strength.
It might cost you your marriage and your family, your job, your home, your money. Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t ever decide to settle for things of life, no matter how important they may seem: for being the best at your job, although that’s important; for being the best dressed, although that’s nice; for having the greatest voice in the choir; for being the biggest giver. Seek the better things of life that can only be found in Christ.
1 Corinthians 10:12 (NLT) If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall.
You are in a spiritual war, and being the best employee, or the richest, the biggest tither, having the biggest car or house, although very nice, are winning meaningless battles in this war. Fight for what matters most, your relationship with God who gives you the power to win and have all these things.
Deuteronomy 8:18 (NLT)18 Remember the LORD your God. He is the one who gives you power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.
Remember you’re in a fight. This is spiritual warfare. Fight for your faith. Fight for your family. Fight for your life.
You May be at Rock Bottom but it does not have to be the End
When you’re at the bottom you start to think; I should have done that differently. Why didn’t I do it this way? I wish, I wish, I wish.
Samson may have had all of these thoughts after he lost his strength, and was captured and blinded by his enemies, the Philistines. He was born and raised to be the deliverer that Israel needed; he let down an entire nation. He let pride and his the desires of his flesh get the best of him time and time again. Those are weapons of Satan, your enemy in this spiritual war. But even with all his failure, God wasn’t finished with Samson and He’s not finished with you.
Judges 16:22-31 (NLT)22 But before long, his hair began to grow back.23 The Philistine rulers held a great festival, offering sacrifices and praising their god, Dagon. They said, “Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!”24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy to us! The one who killed so many of us is now in our power!”25 Half drunk by now, the people demanded, “Bring out Samson so he can amuse us!” So he was brought from the prison to amuse them, and they had him stand between the pillars supporting the roof.26 Samson said to the young servant who was leading him by the hand, “Place my hands against the pillars that hold up the temple. I want to rest against them.”27 Now the temple was completely filled with people. All the Philistine rulers were there, and there were about 3,000 men and women on the roof who were watching as Samson amused them.28 Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.”29 Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands,30 he prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime.31 Later his brothers and other relatives went down to get his body. They took him back home and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol, where his father, Manoah, was buried. Samson had judged Israel for twenty years.
Just because you're down it doesn't guarantee that it is all over for you. Even in your failures, God can still accomplish His purpose. It's through our weaknesses that He shows himself strong.
Proverbs 24:16 (NLT) The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.
If you have God’s power in you, there is no way you can be a failure or a loser, no matter how things may seem.
Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT)19 I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power20 that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
God loves making the weak strong. Tap into His power, it’s in you. Your enemy, Satan, loves making you weak. Stop trying to do it on your own. Start trusting Him. I often pray “Lord let me decrease so that You will increase. In fact let me disappear so that all that is seen is You.”
It’s Time to Go on the Offensive
It’s time to take the battle to your enemy. The armor of God includes an offensive weapon, the Word of God.
Ephesians 6:17 (NLT) Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Whatever battle you are facing right now go on the offensive.
Romans 8:35-37 (NLT)35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”)37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
Philippians 4:13 (NLT) For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
Remember you’re in a fight. This is spiritual warfare. But you win.
Revelation 12:11 (NLT) And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much that they were afraid to die.
Yes, You Can Win this War
If you have God’s power in you, there is no way you can be a failure or a loser, no matter how things may seem.
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.