Wednesday, October 26th, 2016
Suffering (Part 30)
When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, 'Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart.' So the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hand. Then she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him. And she said, 'The Philistines are upon you, Samson!' So he awoke from his sleep, and said, 'I will go out as before, at other times, and shake myself free!' But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him.
Judges 16:18-20 (NKJV)
Samson was tempted by worldly women, and he fell in love with three of them: a Philistine who revealed his riddle, a lady of the night down in Gaza, and Delilah, a greedy seductress, who sold him out for shekels of silver. Therein, Israel's judge, its strongest man, was overpowered by unchecked lust. Samson was sucker-punched by temptation.
If our eyes could see temptation's demons, their grotesquely hideous appearance hidden beneath attractive packaging, we'd run in horror from the gory ghouls. Their razor-sharp teeth make cuts feel painless. We don't realize we're slowly dying until we're too weak to flee the bleed out--unless God intervenes and rescues us.
Actors, models and talent for Christ, temptation's disguises are many. Jesus revealed three in the desert: 1) Foods to avoid even when hungry; 2) Riches and worldly authority; 3) Pinnacle positions in the church.**
Temptations can be personalized, because earth's con king knows your weak spots. Consider some more familiar cons:
4) Fine houses mask insecurity: demons of fear dressed up as comforts that keep you from your true destiny.
5) Fame disguises insignificance: swaggering bullies who make you think you're worthless without the world's applause.
6) Diplomas cover little devils: paper-thin villains with golden ropes that tie you to chairs and desks and pride.
7) Family under demonic grips: strong opinions or clinging chokeholds, keeping your focus on them, not Him.
Therefore, examine your temptations, and once known, avoid them like the plague.
To Be Continued...
* Previous 6-part AMTC Devotion Series, Samson & Delilah: Star Struggles, http://amtcdevotions.org/samson--delilah-star-struggles-part-1-the-storyline
** Satan Tempts Jesus: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+4%3A1-13&version=NKJV
** I believe Satan's 'throw yourself off the pinnacle' temptation can refer to a life of 'reckless abandon' as a saint. But to me, that Jesus is brought to the pinnacle of Jerusalem's temple, and not simply to the top of a cliff... is significant. Far little could be riskier than being in a church leadership position and to use that authority 'recklessly'--which I believe happened in His day, and has been multiplied in ours.
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Suffering series.