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Temptation and Growth:

What does the life of Samson teach us?  What spiritual insight might Samson offer us? Whereas many personalities in the Bible model ways should aspire o live, Samson offers an example of what we should avoid.

First, Samson toyed with temptation.  He wasn’t blind to Delilah’s agenda.  Samson was willing to see how far he could go without experiencing failure.  He thought he was clever and in control.  Only too late did he realize he was neither.  In the New Testament, we’re clearly instructed how to respond to the reality of temptation in our lives:  “Flee from youthful passions” (2 Tim. 2:22).  Samson chose to flirt rather than flee.  We would do well to learn from his error in judgement.

Second, Samson made the mistake of confusing his physical power for spiritual strength.  The truth may be summed up like this:  thinking we’re strong is weakness, but acknowledging our weakness makes us stronger.

What is your greatest temptation?  It’s worth the time to consider three or four of your most glaring spiritual weaknesses.  Owning our biggest temptation is the surest defense against them.  When I understand the sins I’m most prone to commit, I can take the necessary steps to avoid any situation that introduces temptation.

Samson did offer a redeeming quality worth admiring.  He was a model for all of us who suffer from personal mistakes.  This is good news!  God may choose to use our weaknesses and mistakes.  As the story of his life drew to a close, Samson experienced for himself the God of second chances.  Judges 16:22 almost twinkles on the page when it says that “Samson’s hair began to grow back after it had been shaved.”  These words describe what was happening not only to his follicles but also with his faith.  in a dark prison, growth was happening.  Along with the length of his hair, the depth of Samson’s commitment to God began to mature.  God redeems our mistakes as we renew our desire to serve him.

In his last act, not an act of desperation but of dependence on God, Samson managed one final feat for God and God’s people.  It’s comforting to know that God never fails even those who fail him.

Ruth Bell Graham, wife of the famous Evangelist Billy Graham, died 2007.  When Dr. Graham visited his wife’s grave for the first time, the words she wrote for her headstone so moved him that he asked a friend to read them to him several times.  The stone reads, “End of construction.  thank you for your patience.”

We’re meant to grow until we die.  Through our seasons of compromise and commitment, God will mature our faith even when we fail.  God wants our strength, but it’s good to know that he will use even our weaknesses.

For reflection:

Looking at your life with the end in mind, how do you want to be remembered?  What are the three or four words you want people to associate with you once your life is complete?  Are you living by these qualities today?

Judges 16

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Excepts from “The Good Book, 40 Chapters that reveal the Bible’s Biggest Ideas”

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