MEMORIZE: I have hidden your Word inside my Heart so that I might not sin against you
READ: Psalm 76
CHALLENGE: Think about that ‘line’ that you have been manipulating, walking just close enough to touch it without actually crossing over into “sin”. 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.
Before the actual challenge, I would like you to do some background on the topic. Read Judges 13-16 for the story of Samson. Use this as backdrop 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 Nazirite. He was instructed not to drink alcoholic beverages, not to touch anything unclean, and never to cut his hair as a show of his vow to God. These three chapters are so full and rich, but I just want to touch on a few components hidden in them. The Bible records Samson breaking at least two out of three 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 become accustomed to breaking his covenant with the Lord without 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. Then, he killed a lion with his bare hands, and on his journey back home, he ate honey from the dead carcass. As if that wasn’t enough, he then gave some to his parents without informing them where it was gathered, 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. 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.
Where do I even start?! I remember when God first revealed this divine Word and gave me insight while reading the story of Samson with my mouth hanging open. All I could think of was, “Really, Samson, Really?!??” Samson married an—as his mother called her, “uncircumcised Philistine” because he wanted her. Singles, this word is for us. Our desire for marriage is valid and may very well be from the Lord, but it is not without parameters. Whether you believe in “the one” or not, you must understand that there is a very real command to not be unequally yoked. God desires you to marry as a symbol of His covenant between Christ and the Church, to fulfill a purpose in the Kingdom, and to birth and raise mighty children that will turn to Him, making a Heavenly impact on this Earth. You cannot do that if you are dabbling in the forbidden pool, looking for a mate. Your marriage can’t symbolize the covenant of Christ, if both of you are not in covenant with Christ in the first place. Samson knew this, and his parents reminded him of this, yet he allowed his fleshly desires to get him what he wanted and ignored what God knew he needed. And we can read these chapters and see how that worked out for him. Disastrous!
This could be a lesson about Samson’s poor choices in relationships, but I want to talk more 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.. As you read the chapters, when Samson participates in sin, the Spirit of God is not resting on him. What does this mean applicably? I believe we can allow unchecked and unrepented 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, it has already manifested spiritually. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy 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. How often do we pull a Samson: Play with that line until determining what is permissible and beneficial is blurred, or continuing in a sin until we get caught?
If you didn’t get convinced or convicted in that last paragraph, read it again. We have to be more concerned with the spiritual consequences of sin: separation from God, then the natural consequences that we may or may not experience, due only to grace. Samson should have learned a lesson from his first 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 them 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, foolishly thinking we have gotten away with something. So we keep doing it. We get closer and closer to the line, until we don’t even realize when we have crossed it.
We miss the mark of grace in our lives so much! We miss it by believing that no one knows what we did or thinking we got away with it. We miss it. We forget that our heavenly Father sees all and knows all. We keep going until we do get caught in the natural, then we are so spiritually desensitized that we believe the only consequence that we have faced for our fornication is an unplanned pregnancy. Then, some of us try to cover up even that with ending the child’s life by abortion. Lord help and forgive us. We miss it. We have grieved the Holy Spirit and made our relationship with the Lord nothing more than a carnal act of religion with no real relationship. Maybe fornication isn’t your line, maybe it’s your finances, spiritual life, call to ministry, call out of a relationship. Don’t miss the message by justifying your sin, you know what your line is.
Samson first told Delilah things that had no relation 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 tries in order 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 quickly; 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, coupled with no intention of ever submitting to you nor helping you achieve your dreams — 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.
Going back to the text, Samson then starts playing with fire, instead of just blowing smoke. 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 2017, 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. Say amen or ouch, whichever applies.
Read those last two paragraphs again, and really let this word soak in. This is a hard area, and one we would rather not discuss. If we are honest, it’s one that the church doesn’t discuss enough, so it’s weak in our armor. The enemy keeps attacking the same spot, because we haven’t done the work to get strong enough to resist him. Stop being his punk, and stop using your temple as a playground. Get out of your feelings, and get back to your anointing. You’ll thank me later.
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.