Don't Allow Pride to Take Your Gift
‘When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, “Come back once more; he has told me everything.” So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him. Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him.’ Judges 16:18-20 (NIV)
All of us have great strengths that God has given us or is going to give us. They are the things that make us who we are and give us the power to be Jesus’ hands and feet on this earth. For Sampson in this story, his gift was his strength was empowered by God with one stipulation– he was never to cut his hair. As we see here, he falls into the trap of is own sinful nature leading him to be betrayed by Delilah resulting in him losing his hair, his strength, and the Lord.
All in one instant, because Sampson acted on his flesh and pursued Delilah, he lost everything else in his life that was of true value. He sacrificed so much for so little pleasure. In your life, it may be
something different like attention, greed, happiness, but whatever we seek that isn’t of God is an idol, and He calls us to cast all idols out of our lives. And when idols are present in our lives we are blindly being pulled away from God and we underappreciate all the gifts and plans God has set out for us.
I think we can all truly connect to the story of Sampson because whether you realize it or not, God has given you a gift and at one time or another, you let an idol grab your attention and put your faith and gifts at stake. Sometimes we sacrifice the things about us that make us who we are as a cost for fulfilling one desire. We put years of growth in Christ at the altar of sin without even noticing, and we wonder why life is so unfulfilling or feels impossible.
Sampson got caught up in himself and in the world and forgot about God, and quite often we do the same thing. Through Sampson, we can learn the importance of hold our faith dear and be thankful for the precious gifts that God provides us with. When we are fighting the fight against flesh, it is hard but when we invite God into the mix, He will guide our every step and counsel our hearts through the process. In Him we find strength, and in the world we find failure. Learn to be encouraged by the fact that you will never go into a trail unarmed.
Esther 4:14 (NIV) says “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
God aimed to prepare Sampson for this very moment but Sampson did not let him. Let God strengthen you in your gifts and faith so that way when opposition comes, you are unstoppable and stand on a firm foundation.
Judges 16 continues to say ‘Then Samson prayed to the Lord,“Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.’ (verses 28-30)
Once Sampson had realized what he had lost he came back to God in prayer, realizing that his strength was not from his hair, it was a gift from God that he had been blessed with and so easily took for granted. He asked God to remember him and strengthen him physically, mentally, and spiritually. He had realized his physical strength wasn’t what had helped him conquer mountains and men, but it was the strength of God within him.
Sometimes we just have to come back to the altar like Sampson and humble ourselves before God. When we start giving ourselves credit and thinking we can do things on our own, we have completely lost sight of what our lives are supposed to be. When Sampson humbled himself and became vulnerable with God, God gave him the strength he needed.
Do you need to come back to the altar today? Have you been walking humbly or have you lost sight of God’s blessings in your life? Take some time today and evaluate your heart and ask God to inform your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Ask him to take every thought captive and grow you through each and every gift he has blessed you with. Don’t be deceived, you are immensely blessed. Use those blessings to bless others and to let God grow you.