Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The deadly end of flirting with temptation


The binding of Samson - Rembrandt
The binding of Samson - Rembrandt
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Judges 16:4-22

TO CHEW ON: "Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah." Judges 16:4

Delilah was not the first woman to lure sensuous Samson into trouble. His first wife (not named) used whining and wiles in a similar way to get Samson to say more than he should have (Judges 14).

Samson's cat-and-mouse game with Delilah illustrates his vulnerability to feminine temptation and how dangerous it is to play with sin. Three times Samson put Delilah off. Yet even as he did, he crept ever closer to telling Delilah the secret of his strength when he told her:
  • Seven fresh bowstrings would hold him (Judges 16:7).
  • New ropes never yet used would make him weak (Judges 16:11).
  • Weaving his hair into the web of a loom would neutralize him (Judges 16:13).
  • And then he broke down and told her the truth about his uncut hair (Judges 16:17). The story ended tragically in his death (Judges 16:23-31).

There are some lessons for us here in how to deal with temptation.

1. We need to be students of ourselves and aware of our own weaknesses and what situations are likely to cause us to compromise and sin. Samson's irresistible temptation was women. What is ours? Money? Earning the praise of people? Needing to be liked? Fearing to offend? Self-indulgence?

2. We need to resist temptation instead of flirting with it.
How do we do that? The Bible has some good advice:
  • "Take heed to yourselves" ("Be on guard" - J.B.Phillips & Message; "Watch out!" - NLT; "Be careful" - NIV) about our tendency to be led away and distracted from godly things - Luke 21:34.
  • Be warned or forewarned against temptation - 2 Peter 3:17.
  • Prepare for it by putting on the armour of God - Ephesians 6:13.
  • Don't say the first 'yes' to temptation - Proverbs 1:10.
  • Refuse to even put our feet on the path to giving in to sin, let alone walking that path - Proverbs 4:14.
  • Present our body parts to God for His use and not to sin as "instruments of wickedness" (NIV) or "weapons of evil" (J.B.Phillips) - Romans 6:13.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to know myself and the things that tempt me. Help me to be prepared for temptation by keeping myself clothed in spiritual armour. Amen.
 
MORE: Armor of God infographic

The Whole Armor of God - Ephesians 6:10-18


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