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 if your spiritual birthright. Jesus said that your enemy has come to steal from you, kill you, and to destroy you.
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.
The apostle Peter, in writing about him, said that he is hunting you down like a hungry lion looking for something to kill and eat.
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;
I started this series pointing out the mistakes that Samson made during his life. He dealt with many of the kinds of things that the enemy uses against us. I pray that in reading these posts you can avoid making those same mistakes. In the first post “Spiritual Warfare - You’re in a Fight to the Death_1”, I set the stage by reminding us that we run into trouble when we chase after the wrong things, and when we break the rules.
Let’s say you have overcome the desire to chase after the wrong things and, that as far as you know, you are following all the rules. Your marriage or relationship is going great, your children are the model of godly children, you tithe and give over and above, you are in good health, and everything is going great. You are the model Christian and ‘everything's coming up roses’. Be careful that you don’t become overconfident, and think that you’ve got it all under control. Samson got cocky and so can you.
I Have This Under Control
I talked about lust and entitlement in the first post so let’s look at pride. Pride says I can handle it.
Here’s the definition of pride;
“a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”
The wisest man who ever lived, Solomon, wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit;
Proverbs 16:18 (NLT) Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.
Remember how Samson told his parents he wanted to marry the Philistine woman, the prostitute? Well before a guy gets married he wants to have a bachelor party. What happens at a bachelor party? You guessed it, everybody drinks a little too much and they get well…..drunk. Remember Samson wasn’t supposed to drink any strong drink. Breaking the rules again. Samson, being the strong man that he was, thought he could handle it.
Judges 14:10-11 (NLT) As his father was making final arrangements for the marriage, Samson threw a party at Timnah, as was the custom for elite young men.11 When the bride’s parents saw him, they selected thirty young men from the town to be his companions.
You’ve heard it before; maybe you’ve even said it yourself. I can go there; I’m strong in the Lord; I won’t suffer the same consequences as other folk.
It doesn’t have to be alcohol, or drugs. It could be that new car, that new apartment, that new house. I can handle these payments. I’m on my smartphone or tablet or computer, and I know I’m not supposed to look at this but my marriage is strong, I can handle it, plus nobody will know.
Remember your enemy wants to devour and destroy you and three of his most effective weapons are lust, entitlement, and pride. Don't let your enemy use your pride to trick you into trading the power to resist temptation that God gives you through the Holy Spirit. Don't allow him to trick you into thinking you have it all under control. You can be a person of spiritual strength, integrity, and courage, but you are no match for him on your own.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NLT) The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
Ephesians 6:10-12 (NLT) A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil.12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
1 John 2:14 (NLT) I have written to you who are God’s children because you know the Father. I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one.
When you admit that you are weak and vulnerable and that you need God’s strength and presence, He will give it to you.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (NLT) 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Remember you’re in a fight. This is spiritual warfare. Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.
Have you ever struggled with a very difficult situation and needed to make a decision? Have you ever made an emotional decision? You had a lot invested in the outcome and perhaps you knew what to do. There were lots of things happening in your life so it was difficult to focus on this one very important decision.
Here's what I mean: you're struggling with something tough; you have a lot invested in the outcome, and you think you even know what you should do. You hang in there, but you have a lot of other things going on in your life with work, family, church, and other things, so it's hard to focus. You’re stressed so you change your original plan because you thought it was too hard. So you make the decision and it’s not working out. You have let your emotions dictate the decision.
Here’s what happened with Samson when he let his emotions get the best of him.
Remember the bachelor party? Well Samson decides that he wants to play around with his drinking buddies. Remember the future bride’s parents invited the guys to the party so they Samson doesn’t really know them or they him. He gives them a riddle and tells them if they guess it he will give them a new wardrobe, but if they don’t guess they will each have to give him that same new wardrobe. Here’s the riddle;
Judges 14:12-14 (NLT) 12 Samson said to them, “Let me tell you a riddle. If you solve my riddle during these seven days of the celebration, I will give you thirty fine linen robes and thirty sets of festive clothing.13 But if you can’t solve it, then you must give me thirty fine linen robes and thirty sets of festive clothing.” “All right,” they agreed, “let’s hear your riddle.”14 So he said: “Out of the one who eats came something to eat; out of the strong came something sweet.” Three days later they were still trying to figure it out.
After three days they don’t have the answer and they are upset. Besides this bachelor party has been going on a long time; it’s at least three days at this point!! These guys threaten to kill the fiancée’s parents unless she gets Samson to give her the answer. It’s seven days now and the party is still going!!
Judges 14:18 (NLT) So before sunset of the seventh day, the men of the town came to Samson with their answer: “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” Samson replied, “If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have solved my riddle!”
Then Samson lets his emotions cause him to make a very poor decision.
Judges 14:19-20 (NLT) 19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon him. He went down to the town of Ashkelon, killed thirty men, took their belongings, and gave their clothing to the men who had solved his riddle. But Samson was furious about what had happened, and he went back home to live with his father and mother.20 So his wife was given in marriage to the man who had been Samson’s best man at the wedding.
Because Samson allowed his impulses and his emotions, rather than God's Spirit, lead him, he made one bad decision after another.
Romans 7:15 (NLT) 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.
You have the Holy Spirit dwelling in you. Because of that you have the ability to know what, when, where, and how to fight.
Remember you’re in a fight. This is spiritual warfare. Don’t trust your emotions. Trust the Holy Spirit within you.
Galatians 5:16-17 (NLT) 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.
The Trouble with Foxes
For a lot of us, anger is a default emotion. Think about when someone embarrasses you. I bet it’s not only embarrassment, but anger that comes over you. Somebody made you look bad so you have to do something about that. Often anger is the first response to something negative.
If you think killing 30 people to pay off a gambling debt was a little excessive wait until you see what Samson does next.
After Samson left the bachelor party, in anger, the fiancée’s father was embarrassed; so he gave his daughter to one of the guys that came to the party.
Judges 14:20 (NLT) So his wife was given in marriage to the man who had been Samson’s best man at the wedding.
Well that didn’t go over too well. Samson apparently cools down and comes back for his wife, only to find out that she is now married to another guy.
Judges 15:1-6 (NLT) 1 Later on, during the wheat harvest, Samson took a young goat as a present to his wife. He said, “I’m going into my wife’s room to sleep with her,” but her father wouldn’t let him in.2 “I truly thought you must hate her,” her father explained, “so I gave her in marriage to your best man. But look, her younger sister is even more beautiful than she is. Marry her instead.”3 Samson said, “This time I cannot be blamed for everything I am going to do to you Philistines.”4 Then he went out and caught 300 foxes. He tied their tails together in pairs, and he fastened a torch to each pair of tails.5 Then he lit the torches and let the foxes run through the grain fields of the Philistines. He burned all their grain to the ground, including the sheaves and the uncut grain. He also destroyed their vineyards and olive groves.6 “Who did this?” the Philistines demanded. “Samson,” was the reply, “because his father-in-law from Timnah gave Samson’s wife to be married to his best man.” So the Philistines went and got the woman and her father and burned them to death.
So let’s review:
One question, who was responsible for all this? Samson, of course.
Samson got angry. His anger got the best of him and compounded the situation. Had he taken some time to cool off, he may have been able to avoid making things worse. Instead he over-reacted every time. This time his overreaction caused his fiancée to be given to someone else and in addition to that, she and her father were killed in retaliation for what Samson had done with those foxes.
Do you get angry at the people around you when things don’t go the way you think they should? If you do, take a look at your actions. It’s possible that some, maybe even a lot of the hard stuff that you’re going through is the result of, if not a direct consequence of a choice or choices that you made. Be honest with yourself.
James 1:19-20 (NLT) 19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
Fight the temptation to make excuses for things that you did. Own up to your decisions even if they were bad ones. If you lashed out at somebody, even if it was God, ask for forgiveness.
Proverbs 29:11 (NLT) Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.
It's time to stop and fight that temptation to make excuses for your behavior. Ask for forgiveness if you need to and not just from God, but from the people your actions and attitudes may have hurt. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Then go do it.
Remember you’re in a fight. This is spiritual warfare. Don’t blame others for your mistakes. Trust God to lead you in your decision making.
My next post will address those times when our enemy will make us think that all of our accomplishments have come as the result of our own strength; how he piles on when we take on too much and refuse to stop to rest and recharge; and then what do you do when you hit rock bottom.
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 (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.