Sunday, September 27, 2015

Spiritual Warfare - Fight Like A Child of God - Session 2

The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is doing a study of Spiritual Warfare using Samson and his flaws and what not to do in this war.     These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments below. We welcome your thoughts, questions, comments, and prayers.

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 promises to you because of your spiritual birthright.

Jesus said that he 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, last week, pointing out some of the mistakes that Samson made during his life. He dealt with many of the things that the enemy uses against us. The objective of this study is to help keep us from making those same mistakes. Last week we talked about not chasing after the wrong things. 

Samson went into the enemy’s camp so to speak by going into a Philistine town. The Philistines were Israel's enemies.   Samson was a miracle baby and was born to deliver Israel from the oppression of the Philistines.

Judges 13:5 (BBE) For you are with child and will give birth to a son; his hair is never to be cut, for the child is to be separate to God from his birth; and he will take up the work of freeing Israel from the hands of the Philistines.

He went anyway. Not only did he go to the enemy but while there he saw and wanted one of their women and that led to him disobeying one of God’s rules for the people of Isreal.

Deuteronomy 7:1-6 (HCSB)1 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess, and He drives out many nations before you—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and powerful than you—2 and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you and you defeat them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy.3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons,4 because they will turn your sons away from Me to worship other gods. Then the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and He will swiftly destroy you.5 Instead, this is what you are to do to them: tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, cut down their Asherah poles, and burn up their carved images.6 For you are a holy people belonging to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.


Judges 14:1-2 (HCSB)1 Samson went down to Timnah and saw a young Philistine woman there.2 He went back and told his father and his mother: “I have seen a young Philistine woman in Timnah. Now get her for me as a wife.”

The law of Moses which Samson was to obey forbid intermarriage with those who didn’t worship Jehovah. 

 When he went to visit is future wife he broke another rule.

Judges 14:7-9 (BBE)7 So he went down and had talk with the woman; and she was pleasing to Samson.8 Then after a time he went back to take her; and turning from the road to see the dead body of the lion, he saw a mass of bees in the body of the lion, and honey there.9 And he took the honey in his hand, and went on, tasting it on the way; and when he came to his father and mother he gave some to them; but did not say that he had taken the honey from the body of the lion.

As a Nazrite he wasn’t suppose to touch any dead body of any kind animal or human.

Deuteronomy 7:1-6 (HCSB)1 “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess, and He drives out many nations before you—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and powerful than you—2 and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you and you defeat them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy.3 Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons,4 because they will turn your sons away from Me to worship other gods. Then the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and He will swiftly destroy you.5 Instead, this is what you are to do to them: tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, cut down their Asherah poles, and burn up their carved images.6 For you are a holy people belonging to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.

Samson broke the rules and also and give in to lust.  Lust is a problem that can cause us to become disobedient or break the rules.

Pride

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's 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 thought he had everything under control. That can easily happen to us too. We can become proud of ourselves and think we can handle our lust, even justify it by saying I’ve been good and I deserve a little pleasure, I can handle it.   I'm not just talking about lust for the opposite sex.  I'm talking about lust for material things, or for power, or notoriety. 

Here's the definition of lust;

noun
1.intense sexual desire or appetite.
2.uncontrolled or illicit sexual desire or appetite; lecherousness.
3.a passionate or overmastering desire or craving (usually followed byfor):
a lust for power.
4.ardent enthusiasm; zest; relish:
an enviable lust for life.
5.pleasure or delight.desire; inclination; wish.verb (used without object)
verb
6.to have intense sexual desire.
7.to have a yearning or desire; have a strong or excessive craving (oftenfollowed by for or after).Once that happens pride crops its head up.

So while we most often associate lust with sex it is more than that 

When we get the feeling that we can handle lust because we have everything under control we are in danger of becoming proud.

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? 

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.


Emotions

We’ve looked at lust which can lead to breaking the rules, and pride which can fool us into thinking
we have everything under control but our enemy also uses our emotions against us too.

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.


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.  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.

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 father of the bride 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:

Samson went someplace he shouldn’t have gone, he was an Israelite and he went to a Philistine town;

He wanted to marry the wrong woman

He touched a dead thing, the lion;

He got drunk, he was not to drink strong drink;

He messed with the guys at his party;

He left his wife before consummating the marriage

He killed 30 men.

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.

Ephesians 4:26 (BBE)  Be angry without doing wrong; let not the sun go down on your wrath;

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.



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Sunday, September 20, 2015

Spiritual Warfare - Fight Like A Child of God - Session 1

The Church of Divine Guidance (CDG) Sunday morning adult bible study group is doing a study of Spiritual Warfare using Samson and his flaws and what not to do in this war.     These posts are my notes for each session. Please study with us. You can participate by asking your questions or making comments below. We welcome your thoughts, questions, comments, and prayers.

Have you ever wondered why it's so hard  just to follow God sometimes?  Why do we have problems in our marriages? Why is it so tough to raise a family? Why do we struggle with our finances when we make good salaries and don't waste money? Shouldn’t it be easy?


Well it’s not easy.  And there is a reason for it, my friend.  I've got some news for you!  Whether or not you have realized it, you are in a fight--a fight for your very life!
You and I have an enemy.  His name is Satan, the devil;  his mission is to Steal, Kill, and Destroy.


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.


He's hunting you down!  


1 Peter 5:8 (HCSB)8  Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.


Yes, you are in a fight.


Have you made preparation for the battle?  


Are you ready?’


Paul tells us that we have equipment to protect ourselves in the armor of God and we have a weapon as well, which is the Word of God.


Ephesians 6:10-18 (BBE)10  Lastly, be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of his power.11  Take up God's instruments of war, so that you may be able to keep your position against all the deceits of the Evil One.12  For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against authorities and powers, against the world-rulers of this dark night, against the spirits of evil in the heavens.13  For this reason take up all the arms of God, so that you may be able to be strong in the evil day, and, having done all, to keep your place.14  Take your place, then, having your body clothed with the true word, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness;15  Be ready with the good news of peace as shoes on your feet;16  And most of all, using faith as a cover to keep off all the flaming arrows of the Evil One.17  And take salvation for your head-dress and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:18  With prayers and deep desires, making requests at all times in the Spirit, and keeping watch, with strong purpose, in prayer for all the saints,


If you don’t use the equipment the way it is designed you can become vulnerable. When you are in a fight you want to eliminate any mistakes that allow the enemy to get the upper hand.  This study will identify some of those mistakes and how we can avoid them. We are going to use Samson as our example of someone who made a lot of mistakes.  We can identify them in our lives and avoid them.


We talked about Samson in our study on the Holy Spirit.  Remember Samson was born to some folk who had not been able to have children.  His parents were told that he was to be special.  


Judges 13:1-5 (HCSB)1  The Israelites again did what was evil in the LORD’s sight, so the LORD handed them over to the Philistines 40 years.2  There was a certain man from Zorah, from the family of Dan, whose name was Manoah; his wife was unable to conceive and had no children.3  The Angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, “It is true that you are unable to conceive and have no children, but you will conceive and give birth to a son.4  Now please be careful not to drink wine or beer, or to eat anything unclean;5  for indeed, you will conceive and give birth to a son. You must never cut his hair, because the boy will be a Nazirite to God from birth, and he will begin to save Israel from the power of the Philistines.”  


Samson's birth was miraculous because his mother had been unable to give birth.  When she was told by an angel that she would give birth, Samson’s mother was also told that he would lead the nation of Israel as a Judge.  In those days, before Israel had kings, God raised up Judges, (deliverers) to rescue the Israelites from their attackers.   Samson was to be one of those Judges.  The angel also told his mother, and I’m certain although the scriptures don’t say it specifically, that his mother and father told him that there were some things that he was not to do.  He was not to drink strong drink, eat unclean things, as defined by the law of Moses, any dead body of any kind, or to cut his hair all because he was set apart for God.


Samson was to be a Nazarite from birth.   


In the Hebrew Bible, a nazirite or nazarite, (in Hebrew: נזיר, nazir), refers to one who voluntarily took a vow described in Numbers 6:1–21. "Nazarite" comes from the Hebrew word nazir meaning "consecrated" or "separated".


Numbers 6:1-12 (NLT)1  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.2  “If any of the people, either men or women, take the special vow of a Nazirite, setting themselves apart to the LORD in a special way,
3  they must give up wine and other alcoholic drinks. They must not use vinegar made from wine or from other alcoholic drinks, they must not drink fresh grape juice, and they must not eat grapes or raisins.4  As long as they are bound by their Nazirite vow, they are not allowed to eat or drink anything that comes from a grapevine—not even the grape seeds or skins.5  “They must never cut their hair throughout the time of their vow, for they are holy and set apart to the LORD. Until the time of their vow has been fulfilled, they must let their hair grow long.6  And they must not go near a dead body during the entire period of their vow to the LORD.7  Even if the dead person is their own father, mother, brother, or sister, they must not defile themselves, for the hair on their head is the symbol of their separation to God.8  This requirement applies as long as they are set apart to the LORD.9  “If someone falls dead beside them, the hair they have dedicated will be defiled. They must wait for seven days and then shave their heads. Then they will be cleansed from their defilement.10  On the eighth day they must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle.11  The priest will offer one of the birds for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. In this way, he will purify them from the guilt they incurred through contact with the dead body. Then they must reaffirm their commitment and let their hair begin to grow again.12  The days of their vow that were completed before their defilement no longer count. They must rededicate themselves to the LORD as a Nazirite for the full term of their vow, and each must bring a one-year-old male lamb for a guilt offering.


This vow required the person to:
  • Abstain from wine, wine vinegar, grapes, raisins, intoxicating liquors, vinegar distilled from such substances, and eating or drinking any substance that contains any trace of grapes.
  • Refrain from cutting the hair on one's head; but to allow the locks of the head's hair to grow.
  • Not to become ritually impure by contact with corpses or graves, even those of family members.


In general there are three types of nazirites:
  • A nazirite for a set time
  • A permanent nazirite
  • A nazirite like Samson


Each one of these has slightly different laws. For example, a permanent nazirite is allowed to cut his hair once a year if the hair is bothersome.  Although Samson was to never cut his hair.  A Samson-like nazirite is a permanent nazirite.


Samson's birth was miraculous and he was sanctified, or set apart to God  he was born for a specific task.  We were born again miraculously and we are being sanctified too  


John 3:3-6 (BBE)3  Jesus said to him, Truly, I say to you, Without a new birth no man is able to see the kingdom of God.4  Nicodemus said to him, How is it possible for a man to be given birth when he is old? Is he able to go into his mother's body a second time and come to birth again?5  Jesus said in answer, Truly, I say to you, If a man's birth is not from water and from the Spirit, it is not possible for him to go into the kingdom of God.6  That which has birth from the flesh is flesh, and that which has birth from the Spirit is spirit.


As people born of the Spirit we must realize that the battle is being waged against us in the spiritual realm, even though we often feel as though we are being attacked physically or emotionally.


Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)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.


We’ll learn from Samson’s mistakes in dealing with his physical enemy, the Philistines, so we can avoid making those same mistakes with our spiritual enemy, Satan.


Chasing the Wrong Things


Samson was the strongest man who ever lived. But even with so much going for him-chosen by God, blessed with supernatural strength-Samson just couldn't escape his flaws. His weaknesses kept getting the best of him.


Judges 14:1-2 (HCSB)1  Samson went down to Timnah and saw a young Philistine woman there.2  He went back and told his father and his mother: “I have seen a young Philistine woman in Timnah. Now get her for me as a wife.”
Samson had a problem with lust.  He went to Timnah on purpose.  The Philistines were enemies of Israel and the angel told his mother that he was to “save Israel for the power of the Philistines”  Then among the enemy he wanted the wrong thing.  The law of Moses which the Israelites were to obey forbid intermarriage with those who didn’t worship Jehovah.  He told his parents that he wanted this Philistine woman.   


Deuteronomy 7:1-6 (HCSB)1  “When the LORD your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess, and He drives out many nations before you—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations more numerous and powerful than you—2  and when the LORD your God delivers them over to you and you defeat them, you must completely destroy them. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy.3  Do not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons,4  because they will turn your sons away from Me to worship other gods. Then the LORD’s anger will burn against you, and He will swiftly destroy you.5  Instead, this is what you are to do to them: tear down their altars, smash their sacred pillars, cut down their Asherah poles, and burn up their carved images.6  For you are a holy people belonging to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be His own possession out of all the peoples on the face of the earth.


What about you?  Men have you ever stopped, while channel surfing or on the Internet stopped or slowed down when you “happened to see” some hot woman?  


What about you women and a “hot” man with no shirts, big muscles and abs?


What happened to Samson was that he was in the wrong place ( in a Philistine town), and then his eyes started to wander and his heart followed (he wanted to marry a non-Israelite woman).  He wasn’t thinking about what his parents told him, or the law of Moses, he didn’t care what was right or wrong he just saw something that he liked and wanted it.


Sounds familiar doesn’t it?  


You may not have a problem with sexual lusts but you may lust after other things like a promotion on your job, a raise, or prestige.  Maybe it’s something material like a big house, a new car, that new entertainment center, that new furniture.  Any and all of these things can start to consume your mind and eventually overwhelm your soul.  You think about them all the time trying to figure out how to get them.


Ephesians 5:3 (HCSB)3  But sexual immorality and any impurity or greed should not even be heard of among you, as is proper for saints.


Get in the habit looking the other way from temptations.   It doesn’t make sense to go looking for trouble.  Practice common sense and good judgment.


James 4:7 (HCSB)7  Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.
Remember you’re in a fight.  This is spiritual warfare. Shore up your defenses.


Follow the Rules or the Roadmap that God has Given us in His Word


Samson was to follow three basic rules:  


1. Don't drink alcohol.
2. Don't touch anything dead.
3. Don't cut your hair.


But for Samson it appears that "Rules are made to be broken."


Judges 14:5-6 (BBE)5  Then Samson went down to Timnah (and his father and his mother,) and came to the vine-gardens of Timnah; and a young lion came rushing out at him.6  And the spirit of the Lord came on him with power, and, unarmed as he was, pulling the lion in two as one might do to a young goat, he put him to death; (but he said nothing to his father and mother of what he had done.)


Pretty cool right?  Samson kills a lion with his bare hands.


When he come back by though he breaks one of the basic rules the one not touching anything dead.


Judges 14:7-9 (BBE)7  So he went down and had talk with the woman; and she was pleasing to Samson.8  Then after a time he went back to take her; and turning from the road to see the dead body of the lion, he saw a mass of bees in the body of the lion, and honey there.9  And he took the honey in his hand, and went on, tasting it on the way; and when he came to his father and mother he gave some to them; but did not say that he had taken the honey from the body of the lion.


Not only did he touch it he dug his hands into it.


Now let’s not judge Samson too harshly, let’s be honest.  Have you ever decided to go your own way even knowing that God has blessed you?  I talked about lust earlier it can make you feel entitled,  “I work hard, so I deserve a little fun.”  “I’m not getting my needs met at home.” “Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.”  If you let these thoughts fester in your mind you’ll break the rules about fidelity and marriage, about not coveting, about not lying, or about putting anything before God.


James 4:1-3 (BBE)1  What is the cause of wars and fighting among you? is it not in your desires which are at war in your bodies?2  You are burning with desire, and have not your desire, so you put men to death; you are full of envy, and you are not able to get your desire, so you are fighting and making war; you have not your desire, because you do not make request for it.3  You make your request but you do not get it, because your request has been wrongly made, desiring the thing only so that you may make use of it for your pleasure.


Follow the rules.  Remember you’re in a fight.  This is spiritual warfare. Shore up your defenses.


Next week we will look at some more flaws of Samson that we need to identify so that if we see them in ourselves we can work of them and the avoid the potential mistakes we may make because of them.

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