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Samson’s Ultimate Downfall

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Samson is remembered for his unbelievable strength and the powerful exploits that he accomplished. Like no one else in the Bible (or since) Samson received from God the strength to tear a lion apart with his bare hands (Judges 14:6), catch and tie together tail to tail three hundred foxes (Judges 15:4), kill a thousand Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey (Judges 15:16), break new ropes tightly bound about him (Judges 15:14, 16:12), remove a city gate and carry it up a hill (Judges 16:3) and bring down the pillars of a house in which Philistine lords gathered to offer a sacrifice to their god Dagon (Judges 16:29-30). But his physical strength amounted to nothing of great significance when it was not under-girded with a spirit of love, power and self-control. Though strong, Samson flaunted his own self-reliance and self-assertion to do what was wrong in the Lord’s eyes.

Samson had received outstanding gifts of strength from God, but he fell far short of holiness, venturing into arrogance, pride and lust. Great strength masked great weakness. Without personal discipline his strength did not serve him, or the Israelites well. Despite his impressive feats, Samson did nothing to contribute to the deliverance of Israel. What might have been an impetus to rally resistance against the Philistines, amounted to nothing except a waste of Samson’s gifts and a failure to bring deliverance to God’s people.

Often the very area in which a person is most gifted proves to be his or her weakness. There is a shadow side to our gifts and strengths. A strong, disciplined mind can become overly competitive, insensitive, uncaring and harsh. A gift of teaching might mask superiority and arrogance.  A gift of speaking might mask aloofness and an inability to relate intimately to others. A gift of compassion might mask judgement, resentment and cynicism. A gift of stoicism (inner strength) might lead to an uncaring and insensitive attitude.

Consider your own gifts and strengths. In what way do you undermine the gifts given by God? They will not glorify God or be used to their full good intent, unless we can harness them to be a source of goodness and blessing for both ourselves and others.

In what areas related to your gifts are your weakest? What has been the consequences of this weakness? Humility and an acknowledgement that all we are and have is from God, is imperative. We must develop a strong hatred towards the sinful attitudes of our shadow side, understanding fully the grief it causes God, and the detriment it brings to both ourselves, and those we are a witness to.

2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Ironically, even the gift of self-discipline that Samson lacked, has a shadow side too. Self-discipline is one of my strengths. I have an enthusiastic, can-do approach to the things that I am passionate and excited about. However, this can result in drivenness and a self-satisfaction in achievements and reaching goals. Life becomes about doing and performance. Pride pushes humility aside and boasting about accomplishments replaces boasting about Christ. However, as Paul impresses upon us, when we remember our weakness and that it is only by His grace that we have received the gifts and strengths that we have, there is no room for boasting in ourselves, but in Christ alone.

We need balance in all things. Balance is like ballast in the bowels of a ship. It keeps the vessel grounded and regulates stability. It maintains the performance of the ship within acceptable limits. So, we must prayerfully ask our dear LORD to keep us balanced in all our pursuits, in all our God-given gifts and strengths. Not operating to extremes but exhibiting a stability and steadiness that allows us to function within healthy parameters.

We have been bestowed with a spirit of power, love and self-control. Unlike Samson, let us choose to use them alongside our God-given gifts, and strengths in a way that brings great blessing to others, and ultimately, glory to God.

Heavenly Father, forgive me for neglecting to use the gifts You have graciously given to me with a spirit of love, power and self-control. I seek to honor You with what You have given. Help me because I can do nothing of significance and value without You. Amen.’

About Jennifer Woodley

Jennifer is an Australian freelance writer who lives in a small rural town in sunny Queensland. She is passionate about encouraging others on their journey with Christ through writing and mentoring. Jennifer is a school chaplain, wife, mother of three adult sons and loving grandma of one adorable grandson. More of her writing can be found at www.inhisname6.com and www.faithwriters.com.

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One comment

  1. Jennifer,
    Another winner! Love your articles, and your segues for the main message.
    Your heart for the LORD shines in all your posts.
    God Bless you~

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