ARE YOU PLAYING WITH FIRE?
"But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren." >James 1:14-16
One of the most famous of Old Testament characters is the Israeli strong man named Samson. In children’s picture Bibles, Samson is often depicted as a WWE wrestler with bulging biceps and an imposing physical presence. However, I don’t think he looked like that at all. In fact, I think he may have looked more like Mister Rogers than Mr. T (I just can’t resist the Rocky illustrations). That is why the bewildered Philistines were always trying to find the source of his great strength. It surely wasn’t in his biceps if he looked like Fred Rogers!
The real story with Samson was not in his great strength, but his great weakness. Truly, Samson was badder than Bad, Bad Leroy Brown when it came to a fight, but he was weak as a kitten when it came to controlling his own lusts. Samson loved the ladies. The first words from his mouth recorded in Scripture are these, “I saw a woman ….” (Judges 14:2). Chuck Swindoll called Samson “a he-man with a she-weakness.” That she-weakness ended up destroying his life as his Philistine paramour, Delilah, sold him out for some silver coins. Like a dumb ox, Samson was easily duped by this disloyal strumpet.
He played with fire, and got burned badly. The Lord’s hand of power left him, and Samson the strong man became Samson the weakling. The Philistines gouged out his lustful eyes, bound him in bronze chains, and forced him to grind grain in the prison. They reduced the deliverer of Israel to a lowly donkey. Ugh!
The tragic story of Samson should serve as a warning to us all, especially men in the ministry. Guys, if we play with fire, we will get burned. Harmless flirtation is never harmless. Lustful excursions of the mind and eyes take their toll. Those trips lead off a cliff. Destruction may not come today, but it will come eventually—unless you change course!
Galatians 6:7-8 clearly admonishes us, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
May we be diligent to put to death, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13). May we make “no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts” (Romans 13:14). May we heed the testimony of Samson and determine by God’s grace to not play with fire … because when you play with fire, you eventually get burned.
God is no respecter of persons, but He is a forgiver of sins and a redeemer of souls. In prison, blind Samson repented, and God responded in mercy and used him one last time. Samson died on a positive note, but his life lacked the tremendous impact God had desired for him. As John Greenleaf Whittier once wrote, “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, ‘It might have been.’” Don’t let those words be your epitaph.
Pastor Jeff Schreve
From His Heart Ministries
P.S. I would love to hear your thought on this. Direct questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Jeff Schreve believes that no matter how badly you may have messed up in life, God still loves you and has a wonderful plan just for you. From His Heart provides real truth, love and hope on over 700 radio stations each day, in 149 countries each week on TV, and is always available online. Pastor Jeff takes no income from this ministry. All donations go to furthering the broadcast outreach. As a listener/viewer supported ministry, we thank you for joining with us to help speak the truth in love to a lost and hurting world. Go to www.fromhisheart.org for more information.
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