Challenge: Think about that ‘line’ that you have been manipulating. Write it out and commit to pray over it specifically for the remainder of this challenge, asking God to give you strategies to resist it.
Read Judges 13-16 for the story of Samson. Use this as background for today’s challenge. We often talk about Samson just in light of Delilah and we will get to her, but I want to start before that. Samson was a Nazarite- he was instructed not to drink alcoholic beverages, to not touch anything unclean, and never to cut his hair as a show of his vow with God. These three chapters are so full and rich (might be another book 😉 but I just want to touch a few components. The Bible records Samson breaking at least 2 out of 3 of these vows, before the covenant with God was broken.
Why did Samson do it? Was he not aware of the guidelines of his vow? Did he forget in the heat of the moment? I doubt it. I think Samson had gotten used to playing with the line. What does this mean? Samson was an Old Testament manifestation of Paul’s admonishment in Romans 6:1, ‘Shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? Surely NOT!’ Samson had gotten used to breaking the covenant with the Lord with no ‘noticeable’ consequences, so he kept doing it. He first married a Philistine woman when up to this point, they were forbidden to intermarry with non-believers of the True God (Exodus 34:12-16). Then he killed a lion with his bare hands and on his journey back home, he ate honey from the dead carcass. Then gave some to his parents without informing them where it was taken from forcing them (especially his mother because she had been commanded not to eat anything unclean in chapter 13), to participate in his sin with him. Next, he slept with a prostitute, which was defiling his temple. Then, finally since he had gone this far- he told Delilah the final vow that would break the covenant with the Lord that he had yet to break. And lo and behold, she used it against him. For money.
This could be a lesson about Samson’s poor choices in relationships, but I want to talk about him playing with the line. Samson had ‘gotten away’ with sin for so long that he had begun to be insensitive to the Holy Spirit and stirrings of God. As you read the chapters, when Samson participated in sin, the spirit of God was not resting on him. What does this mean applicably? I believe we can allow unchecked and un-repented sin to separate us from hearing from God. We allow it to dull our spiritual ears and the quickening of the Holy Spirit (what others call conscience), so that we no longer call sin what it is…SIN. Samson had eaten from a dead carcass and nothing naturally happened. He slept with a prostitute and nothing naturally happened. So he was getting away with sin, right?! WRONG!! We must understand that when something naturally manifests on earth that it has already manifested spiritually (Thy Kingdom come, The Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven). It has already happened spiritually. Each time Samson sinned, I believed he spiritually weakened and quenched the Holy Spirit’s control on him a bit more.
How often do we do this? Play with that line until determining what is permissible and beneficial is blurred, or continuing in a sin until we get ‘caught’?
We have to more concerned with the spiritual consequences of sin-SEPERATION FROM GOD- then the natural consequences that we may or may not experience, due only to grace. Samson should have learned from his 1st wife that women would be his downfall, because she was lured away from him by money. His weakness was a pretty face, and unchecked it brought him to his ruin. With his wife and Delilah he gave in due to their nagging and begging. He told them both his secrets and they used it against him. In the first scenario, God’s grace extended to him and Samson was not consumed.
But he did it again. WHY?!?!? Because many of us don’t learn from grace, we are only taught by justice. We are not spiritually sensitive enough to understand that grace is getting what we don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what we do. We never attribute God’s mercy in not allowing a physical consequence to manifest, we foolishly think we have gotten away with something. So we keep doing it. We get closer and closer to the line, until we don’t even know when we have crossed it.
Samson first told Delilah things that had no resemblance to the truth- the fresh ropes and bowstrings—in order to appease her. Now, PAUSE. Samson if you see that everything you tell her, she does to subdue you, why do you KEEP telling her? Why do you stay with her? Obviously she doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Just stupid. But don’t judge him too much, you have stupid moments too. Dating a guy that not only doesn’t respect your vow of chastity, he doesn’t even believe it-so he keeps pushing the boundary. And you continue to let him. Or you date a woman that has no respect for you or your vision with no intention of ever submitting to you nor ‘help’ing you ‘meet’ ANYTHING-but you keep her around because all your boys are amazed that you pulled someone that looks like her. Hollow, shallow, flesh-serving desires- LORD HELP US.
Samson then starts playing with fire. He tells her that his strength has something to do with his hair. TOO CLOSE SAMSON!!! You are getting too loose with your anointing. In 2012, this is manifested in those late night movie sessions, heavy kissing and making out, spending excessive time alone, when you have vowed to keep what rightfully belongs to your spouse sacred until your wedding day. Now you are tainting it. You are seeing how close you can get, instead of being focused on how pure you can stay. It was only a matter of time before Samson told her the truth, once he had gotten this close to it. And it’s only a matter of time before your clothes come off, once you have played with this line so much.
Learn from Samson’s life-don’t repeat it. Mercy is not a ‘get out of sin free card’, it is a by-pass so that you can get it right the next time. It’s God way of giving us another chance to prove to Him that our commitment is not based on outward manifestations but grounded in inward convictions.
Draw the line in every area- and commit to stay as far away from it as possible.