Day 84: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 84: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

The focus of our recent devotions has been Samson.  For some he is a Biblical hero, wreaking havoc upon Israel’s enemy – the Philistines.  They hated one another with a passion that contaminated both cultures.  The Philistines eventually bested Samson because Delilah betrayed him.  The Philistines seized him [Samson] and gouged out his eyes… (Jdg. 16:21).  …About 3,000 men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained. (16:27).

Samson could not rely on his own prowess: Then Samson called to the LORD and said, “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” (16:28).  The only other time he called on the Lord was when he was thirsty (15:18).

Samson prayed twice for his own needs.  First his thirst, second because he wanted revenge for his eyes. Samson expected the Lord would hear and respond to his requests of faith.

He had self-sorrow, which is different than Godly sorrow.  Godly sorrow comes from guilt over one’s offenses and leads to sincere repentance.  Biblical repentance always leads to deep self-reflection, then sincere confession of the wrongdoing.  It seemed Samson did not step into this realm. He’s regretful for his condition, and he wanted to punish his enemies. He did not biblically reflect about his own contribution. Therefore, he did not repent.

The Bible is a jarring book, not letting our presuppositions stand if they are in opposition to God’s standards.  Here’s a stunning verse, followed by a stupendous solution: Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom (James 4:9).  Does this shatter your concept of how the Lord expects you to deal with your attitudes?  This sounds the opposite of modern spiritual thought. James followed: Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you (4:10).

Humility, genuine confession and repentance, lead to Godly favor.

Peter conveys the same thought: Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you (1 Pet. 5:6).  Was Samson pursuing humility? “O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” (Jdg. 16:28).  There’s a lot of personal pronouns in that request.  Is that humility?  What do you think?

Samson, by his faith will finally defeat the Philistines, but he did not experience robust emotional, and spiritual health.  Yet the Lord lets him experience a victory, that is outwardly, public and grand, but internally – futile.  Samson did not experience peace.  Jesus promises peace, inwardly: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you (Jn. 14:27). The LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace (Num. 6:26).  This sort of tranquility is settled in a person by the Lord, not circumstances – since He gives it.

The following could be an impressive Hollywood superhero movie. And Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and he leaned his weight against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. (Jdg. 16:29).  Groan…muscles bulging…

The grand finale! And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” Then he bowed with all his strength, and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he had killed during his life. (Jdg. 16:30).  Does Samson die a hero?  Or was he a pitiful soul who failed at spiritual maturity?  Culture thinks a noble hero. What do you say?

There’s nothing wrong with passions, they were given by God. But like anything, when used improperly they can lead to problems: live…no longer for human passions but for the will of God,…time that is past…living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry (1 Pet. 4:2, 3).  In other words, Peter said we used to – party.  Sensuality can be misused – and we did.  Samson medicated pain with pleasure.

The Bible points out that we need to ‘redeem’ our time while here on earth.  Read Ephesians 5:15-21, for a concise definition of a Christian template for life. Knowing Biblical truth can just be an intellectual endeavor, without a corresponding behavior change.  However, truth is a moral matter that demands decisions and obedience about life.  Spiritual truth is not negotiable. “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:31, 32).

Samson’s highest moral good was revenge.  He did not lead the Philistines into any challenge of faith.  He [Samson] shall begin to save Israel from the hand of the Philistines.” (Jdg. 13:5).  Was this a command to fight?  Or could the opposite have been an option?  Could presenting spiritual truth to an enemy have been a strategy?  Samson might have preached righteousness, rather than fighting and cavorting.

Trust me, I’m all for defeating merciless and vile enemies in combat.  I did that.  My exploits did not change them, it hardened them.  To change actions and behaviors one must change philosophical mindsets.  Our enemies in wars do not see their moral failings just because we beat them silly.  The Philistines never came to faith in Jehovah because of Samson’s astounding success against them.  They continued in their worship of Dagon: …when the people saw him, they praised their god. For they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand…(Jdg. 16:24).

Truth frees us from a life of bondage.  Truth comes by “…abiding in my word,” (John 8:31). ‘Abiding’ means to dwell and remain, something that becomes so natural as to be habitual.  One cannot live without the Word, any more than living without eating.  The cost of living a sensual life, while a believer – is great.  The Lord will not allow it, and He will deal with it.  Again, trust me, I know.

For my iniquities have gone over my head; like a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me. My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness, I am utterly bowed down and prostrate; all the day I go about mourning (Ps. 38:4-6).  I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult of my heart (38:8). For I am ready to fall, and my pain is ever before me (38:17).

Is your conscience in a raging frenzy?  That is caused by God!  The solution?

I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin (38:18).  Confession is followed by restoration.  The Lord reintegrates you back into fellowship: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning…  (Lam. 3:22, 23).

Confession is one part of the equation to a fulfilled life.  It is the launching pad for robust spiritual life and health.  Self-reflect, and try it.  It’s not easy just rewarding.  It takes you to the safe place of humility, which is the preparation for receiving mercy from the Lord. He’s not waiting to lambast you, but to reward you with eternal satisfaction.

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for being safe.  Though I’ve failed and fallen, you still reach your hand to me to help me up.  You never tire, or get fatigued with me, rather you give me new mercies every morning, without shame or rancor.  Thank you for having my interests at heart, willing to walk the trials of life with me.  You are ever present, always aware of challenges and you prepare me to meet them with courage and conviction.  I am not overwhelmed by my desires I just surrender to them.  I want victory over them, and only with your help can I achieve mastery over myself.

Then, as I become spiritually strong, confident in your presence, give me greater courage to make my faith public.  Let people note my victory over my desires, let them have an inquiring mind about why I’ve changed, so I get the opportunity to talk about you.  Let my testimony be about my past, then about you as my ally, my faithful encourager who always gives me power and boldness to overcome my challenges.  Thank you for those tests Father, since they are the measure by which I know I’m maturing in my faith.  Let you receive the glory for any spiritual strength in my life.  I pray this in Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

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