High Heels on the Rocks

water-3125113_1280Picture yourself walking along a rocky shore wearing high heels — almost impossible right?  When someone is involved in betrayal or hidden sin of some sort, this is a good way to describe the feelings of those close to them. If you are facing the known or very real possibility that your spouse, a child, or someone else you love, is struggling in an area of habitual sin, I am writing this in order for you to recognize and take active steps that will help you find the remedy for this very difficult situation.

The following thoughts may be familiar to you if you are in a relationship with someone whose heart is bound: “Why is it so difficult to have a conversation of substance? Why does (s)he seem so evasive, unwilling to answer any questions? Why does (s)he twist things and blame me? Why is (s)he so impatient and angry? What’s wrong with me, why am I feeling so frustrated and angry? Why won’t (s)he tell me where (s)he’s been? I feel like I’m going crazy! All (s)he wants to do is watch TV or sit on the computer or cell phone! I feel so alone and isolated. I feel like (s)he is overly controlling of me. I don’t know who I am anymore. What’s happened to us? I’m afraid, why do I feel this constant dread, “ and the list goes on.  If you have experienced similar thoughts, and even think you might be going crazy, take heart you are not alone.  There may be a good reason for your uncertainty, hyper self-examination, and confusion.

What I am writing about is common enough in the world around us; where addictive behavior has become normalized. But for those who profess a relationship with Jesus Christ, living this way is simply wrong. If you are attending church and experiencing this dynamic, intervention is needed. God’s purpose in saving us is for us to glorify Him and this will not happen in this environment. You will simply be going through the motions; showing up at church with your mask, yet dying inside — not to mention the effects this hypocrisy has upon your children.

high-heels-463770__480Let’s go back to the high heels. When someone checks out of life and into their secret fantasy world it creates a rocky road for those around them. Let me give you a few common markers that should help you discern if someone you care for is involved in habitual sin. Please remember, there’s no need to panic; this situation did not happen overnight. God has a redemptive plan in mind for you and your family, but you must act wisely if you wish to see good come out of destruction.

Here are three markers that indicate a major problem:

1)  Vagueness and ambiguity.  When you ask “normal” questions and are met with answers that really don’t answer, but deflect, turn it around on you, or skirt the question — beware.  Someone living with a secret has to cover and protect and this takes effort. The easiest way to cover one’s tracks and to keep ahead of those close by is to keep things vague or ambiguous. Antonyms for ambiguity are certainty, clarity, clearness. When these are lacking in conversation, and you have to pull teeth to get clear and concise answers to your questions, there is a problem.

2)  Blame Shifting.   Someone who lives with guilt and shame will, out of necessity, shift the blame somewhere else. This throws the inquiring person into a defensive position — and as in football, you can only advance toward your goal when you have the ball. When someone has a habit of shifting blame to you when asked a legitimate question, you have a power-play going on. The use of diversion is to remove the question from them and shift it toward you. To combat that, stay focused, and speak clearly, directly, and honestly to them about what you are feeling. Also, take a break for the moment so you can regroup. These are skillful patterns and you’ve likely learned to dance in submission to it. Sin and deception, by nature, work together to create an atmosphere of blaming (Gen. 3:12-13).  Manipulation and control accompany the blame in order to keep those involved off-balance.

3)  Impatience and Anger.  This response reveals internal conflict. When someone is living with hidden sin they feel frustrated with themselves, and very much like a failure.  When a soul is dealing with shame and guilt, the conflict will be pair-707505__480demonstrated. A knee-jerk reaction often occurs when someone gets close to the issue and impatience or ridicule is often used by the offender to control those around them.  If the invader’s threat continues, the reaction progresses to anger; then possibly rage and hatred because as sin progresses the bondage grows.

A few practical examples: “Honey, would you like me to pack a lunch for you?” or “Can I make you some breakfast before you head off to work?” Those are simple, kind, questions, right?  Well, if one day the answer is appropriate like, “Sure, thank you.”  — and another day it’s met with, “Why do you always have to bug me?” or “Why are you so controlling?” or “Can’t you leave me alone!” You have a problem. Depending on the dynamics of the situation and how long this has been going on, you will find yourself wondering, “Why this rotten behavior? What has happened to cause such disdain and this adversarial spirit?“ One day you get a normal response to a routine question, the next day its impatience, anger, and blame. Why? The change from one day to the next can be frightening and confusing.  Without understanding the sin, the cycle, the acting out, you may wonder, what’s wrong with me?  What did I do? You may become convinced that YOU are the problem — when in reality they are dealing with guilt and you become the scapegoat.

These patterns of unpredictability, vagueness, impatience, and anger, have their root. Use whatever scenario you will, and look for the pattern. While you may be repeatedly blamed for the response you receive, begin to recognize what you are dealing with.

Do not take a victim mentality and give up.  You may feel like you are fighting a phantom! It really can be that confusing at times. While this is primarily a “spiritual” battle, it also has physical consequences. Habitual behavior is aided by hormones that rivet the pleasure sensors in the brain; that’s why people have difficulty letting go of their sin. Defense mechanisms are habitual too; they are a part of someone’s life when they live with guilt and shame from their actions.

Note: some habitual sins (addictions) are easier to spot, and can be dealt with before they become deeply embedded in the soul and brain function of the individual. Because lying and manipulation are central to keeping sin hidden, these patterns accompany habituation making it more difficult to detect. While the “user” is deceived, those around them often fall for these manipulative tactics and end up going deeper into the pit of confusion and despair themselves. Sexual sin[1] in particular is most destructive and is growing within churches. Yet, few pastors will speak openly about this particular sin with their congregations, paving the way for help. While there are men’s groups formed to help, often the wives are left ignorant or confused. This failure tends to keep spouses feeling uncomfortable in attempting to get help.

What Can I do?

Climbing that rocky slope in high heels is not easy. I believe a primary reason some never reach out for help is because of the recurring confusion this scenario brings. Because you are already experiencing disrespect, betrayal, and guilt you lack the confidence it takes to move forward.

Many spouses or family members of addicts have experienced the pain of attempting to get help only to regret it. The resulting pent up anger and frustration someone in this situation experiences can make it appear initially (to an inexperienced helper) that you are the source of the problem. While we all have sin issues to deal with, the dynamics of betrayal and abuse feed our frustration. Get help anyway, prolonged abuse causes some to go inward, silent, and recluse. For others, the pressure cooker lid blows and it all comes spewing out. Either response is a common reaction to the inability to be allowed to express your feelings and to be respected as an individual.

girl-1245678__480Gaining clarity and trying to express yourself takes effort and seems overwhelming because you’ve lived in such a confusing world of turmoil. You’ve changed, you don’t like who you are, your sense of normal is gone and it becomes difficult to express yourself. To be sure, Satan is delighting in all of this confusion. The hidden sin not only affects the one choosing to sin but everyone around them. This is why it is so important to get help. Also, even though the initial sin may have ceased, the behavior associated with protecting that secret is now a deep issue in the heart.

The constant emotional instability eventually breaks down our identity in Christ.  Our mind can become clouded and it seems an overwhelming task to confront the real issue. Along with the biblical mandate of submission and respect for authority, there’s enough confusion to keep many quiet. You may even wonder if you have lost out with God and are abandoned. You’re not. You just need a life-saver tossed to you. You will make it if you hold on to the Life-Giver, Jesus, and make the changes needed.

Bringing sin into the light (I John 1:7) is vital. This offers the opportunity for repentance and confession (I John 1:9).  Perhaps this hasbridge-19513__480 already happened on occasion with this person; you must realize that there is a deep, deep stronghold that comes with habitual sin — especially sexual idolatry. Coming out requires much more than confession and repentance. Intensive restructuring with God’s Word and accountability is mandatory. Don’t agree to just let it ride and become the accountability partner; that will not work.

Freedom, found in Christ, comes from walking in the light and hating sin; we must hate sin as God does. Consistent, honest openness and accountability is required. It takes work. Changing the mind and its patterns concerning what is pleasing to God is vital.  Humility is a major factor in overcoming the past, and pride will fight against this all along the way.

boy-1916204__480Action Steps: If you feel sin is present, don’t allow fear and suspicion to rule your heart.  Instead, take steps toward having a conversation about what you are feeling with the one involved (Mt. 18:15-17). If this fails, find one or two to come along and assist you.

In order to prepare yourself:

1) Think biblically: get biblical counsel if you are unable to think this through yourself. Living in High Heels on the Rocks for years will have its effects. The truth presented in love (Eph. 4:15) will be needed to set everyone free, including you.

 2) Act, instead of reacting: God’s Word gives action steps that bring hope. Write out what scripture says about your situation. Differentiate truth from thoughts based on the pain you feel.

3) Pray, instead of panicking: In order to trust God through this process you need to pray and gain power over the enemy, who uses fear to derail us. Reacting will not produce righteous fruit.

4) Exercise faith in God: Trust involves believing God. Responding out of your flesh will increase the confusion, which Satan loves to operate in.  God offers clarity to those who will trust Him.

5) Ask for help — this is so important! Do not try to handle the situation alone. There are plenty of resources available to you; there are caring people who can help. Start with your pastor, church leadership may need to become involved to enact biblical discipline. Glorifying God, and freeing yourself and those you love are worth it.

Remember, Satan wants to destroy you, your spouse, and your children, but God wants to give you abundant life (John 10:10).  Bringing sin into the light is the first step to freedom.

[1] 1 Corinthians 6:18 (KJV)  Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

For further help, please go to the Resources Tab.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

There’s Room for You

Christmas AloneAs we consider Christmas, I’d like to remind you that there is room for you close to God’s heart. He desires a relationship with us and awaits your reciprocal desire for Him. His extension of love by giving Jesus Christ as our deliverer is the greatest expression of love He could show.

Christmas alone 2This time of year can feel cruel to many people. A time when love, laughter, and Christmas cheer is promoted, many feel lonely and isolated. There are so many stories that could be shared as to why, yet I’d rather focus on how to remedy this condition.

I received a Christmas card telling of someone dear to me who is facing consequences for their addiction to gambling. It is heartbreaking to see how families of those habituated to some life-dominating problem are drawn into the sad drama of someone else’s poor choices. We feel helpless, and if untaught, victimization can settle in. As a friend or family member, we may want to standby and spectate, or facilitate–further complicating the problem.

DENIAL

What can I do? Step 1 is to stop denying that there is a very real problem that may need some tough love and boundaries placed. You can make a choice for yourself.  These good choices can help you get out of God’s way so that the other person can see their need, and this “love” may bring them to the end of their trail. This may sound hurtful but it works similarly to the process of salvation with God. Until someone comes to the end of their human abilities and resources and states “I give up, help me!” they will not become a true believer. When denial ends, then salvation can begin. This soul-transaction only occurs for those who desire it and are desperate enough to humble themselves and cry out to God to save them.

A word of caution concerning boundaries. Boundaries can be misused and turn into a cruel form of punishment if not properly handled. Having a mentor/counselor who can objectively help prevent further complicating issues is a good idea. Boundaries are not to be used to alienate someone, rather they are designed to increase your ability to love one another. A great resource on understanding boundaries are the various boundary books by Henry Cloud & John Townsend.  “We do not set boundaries to anesthetize our life, we set them in order to build love, honesty and freedom in our relationships.” ~ Henry Cloud.

Desperation or InspirationDESPERATION

Often times the spouse, family member, or friend of someone struggling in relationships prolongs their own journey toward freedom by not understanding their part in the process. They hold on to offenses rendered and become bound in unforgiveness and possibly contempt. But no matter what offenses have come to you, it is not worth missing out on a relationship with your Heavenly Father, who loves you dearly.  I pray that at the apex of your heart’s expression of pain, you will break and fall at His feet and allow Him to help you. That is the entire reason for which Jesus came. Giving you, your family members, friends and all, the possibility of being set free from what is dominating the heart. Inspiration from God is a better choice than desperation.

My own sin keeps me separated from God and others. We are in constant warfare between heaven and earth in the spiritual realm (John 10:10). Can you identify? I truly can. Jesus, while sinless, faced battles with Satan and He told us this would be part of our journey too. Those who’ve been enlightened through God’s Word can recognize this truth. Those who live without knowledge or desire for God are bound and cannot discern why. The angry tumult of the soul affects all people at some point, yet many do not understand what they are experiencing. Receiving forgiveness is needed and then, in turn, forgiving others is necessary; the Holy Spirit will enable you to forgive as you grow in Him.

As a result of the miracle of Christmas, we can truly forgive—and what a powerful miracle that is! Christ’s coming and His subsequent death for our sin, His victorious resurrection back to life, and then giving us the Holy Spirit to live within us makes this all possible.

Christmas GiftAnytime we face a difficulty in life it is God’s opportunity to bring us to Himself. Have you found this to be true as well?

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” These words are recorded in John 16:33 and you may wonder what Jesus was really saying. To understand this relationship, we must have a proper perspective and see that we were not created to dwell here alone, but rather in relationship to our true Father now and for eternity. The Father’s desire is closeness and oneness with you; our gift from Him is comfort and peace. He provides everything needed for that to happen, yet so few choose this relationship. Why?

Our fallen nature works against submission to God. We, through self-will and our sin-nature, oppose God. It’s our choice to humble ourselves and walk with Him, and this is contrary to everything we understand from a humanistic perspective. We strive to do this on our terms, by self-effort. This results in someone or something other than God sitting on the throne of our heart and His rightful place is given to another.

DISCOVERY

Our human perspective is to live for ourselves and our own pleasure, naturally. When Christ comes to invade our world, many are offended by that, reject Him, and suffer the consequences; temporal and eternal. But those who will become like a little child and believe that He is who He claimed to be and are willing to humble themselves to receive Him, they gain true abundance in this life. This, in turn, provides freedom from sin, including addictions — which are a false source of comfort or relief.

Christmas Bible and CoffeeGod’s Word is the primary source from which understanding and oneness with God comes. Anyone struggling with loneliness will find themselves filled with peace once a relationship is developed and the power of God’s Word is applied. It works every time I am tempted toward dwelling in loneliness.

This Christmas, will you Make Room in your heart to receive Him? Are you willing to lay your life down, just as He did for you? The abiding joy He gives, the peace that passes all understanding, and God’s love will overtake the inner turmoil. Pray and ask Him for help you overcome the obstacles in your heart. There is room at the cross for you… will you come?

Photo Credit: Google Images

Music Link: Make Room (feat. Matt Maher) Casting Crowns

The Poison of Porn

Listen to the Program (Recorded)

October 10, 2019  The Poison of Porn

Pornography is shattering marriages, families and even churches.  To highlight this danger, Jim began by mentioning a story from LifesiteNews.com.  It mentions that in 2016, people watched more than an accumulated 500,000 years of pornography through a particular site.  That’s roughly 12 porn videos for every man, woman and child on planet earth. They also reported that the number one top viewed video on that site had 7 million views in one given week.

Joining Jim to discuss this topic was Nancy Demary.  Nancy is a certified lay biblical counselor involved in discipling, mentoring and counseling.  She is the former director of Citizens for Decency Through Law to help those impacted by pornography.

It used to be that porn was confined to the pages of magazines behind a store counter.  It’s not that way anymore. As Nancy pointed out, pornography has exploded, has become pandemic and is everywhere.

She also explained that Satan is looking to steal, kill and destroy human life.  On the other hand, Jesus came to pay an incredible debt to spare us from the expense of sin.  This means there’s always hope because God has provided the way of escape from such sin.

Nancy believes we need to present the beauty of sex to our children the way God created it.  It’s a gift to us within God’s boundaries. In that context there are the physical hormones that bind a man and woman like a mother is bound to her infant through the nursing experience.  In the same way, a husband and wife are bound together for life through the sexual relationship. Step outside of those boundaries and you are inviting in that which wasn’t intended and we thwart God’s beautiful gift.

How does Nancy feel pornography is impacting the church?  Is there a physical component that causes porn to become habit forming?  What help does the Bible provide on this issue to help people break free?  These questions and more, as well as comments from listeners, are part of this important discussion. (VCY America)

 

 

Flee Sexual Immorality!

guy w phone

I was fearful, afraid to broach the subject, so nervous inside, my stomach filled with acid, my heart pounded and I wondered how I could possibly confront this. I have been through this so many times before; previous attempts at trying to deal with the problem have failed. But what IS the problem?! It’s so elusive; I can’t quite put my finger on it. I’ve been told I’m a bit crazy, suspicious, going overboard… “relax; maybe some medication will help you chill out a bit“. Why try? Avoid– that’s it! I’ll just lay low and pray and hopefully, time will fix all of this. Yes, don’t think you have to do everything. Lots of people have problems… you’re blowing things out of proportion. Remember last time you said something and it turned into a huge war? The kids think I’m going crazy too. What’s wrong with me? Do I have a mental problem? Maybe I am going crazy? Help…

These thoughts are common among those in relationship with someone who has a secret. Secrecy is what keeps sin alive.

1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee from sexual immorality… Are you lashing out in anger at those around you when asked a question? Are you isolating, turning inward? Using your device (phone) in order to avoid others? Do you see your indifference toward life; toward others? No depth in meaningful conversation, have you become unthankful, unholy, defiled? Have your self-centered lusts blinded you? This warning is written in love for your soul, urging you to flee and become free.

Galatians 5:19-21 (ESV) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

fist

Spouse, parent, child… UNDERSTAND that fits of anger are normal for those who continue to harbor a hidden sinful life. When you press on something that touches the secret of one whose heart has been damaged, get ready for push back, blame and skilled manipulation. Some have honed this so well they can intimidate you into thinking they are innocent in the midst of their fits. They want you to back off, acting like you are the cause for their anger. Remember, they are responsible for their own anger and steps to healing. Satan loves this drama and scornfully laughs, delighting in the deceptive work of his hands.

family standing on brown grass

IDOLATRY: Someone who continues to indulge in selfish pleasure rather than serving God, and their family, is an idolater. A sexually impure person is covetous. Short of repentance, they will face judgment and reserve their place in hell forever. Think of that; a person who is willing to be forever separated from God and those they love! Why? Because they loved their sin more!

So, what can I do? First, PRAY for someone caught in the web of sexual immorality; ask God to give them godly sorrow (delineated in 2Corinthians 7:9-11) so they will repent. Prayer will also give you spiritual authority to stand strong upon God’s Word while walking through the battlefield you’re in. It will give you the ability to love their soul while hating the sin they’re involved with. Secondly, speak the truth in love, confront with God’s Word (Ephesians 4:15). Don’t coddle sin in any form; sin must be destroyed, completely rooted out and revealed; brought into the light (I John 1:7). Like the serpent it is, the head must be severed allowing the twisting body to die. The only way someone will become free is to hate the sin the way God does.

Ephesians 5:5 (ESV) For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

It is heartbreaking to see families torn apart by sin; it is happening all around us. Whether you’re the one who’s been hiding sin or the betrayed party(s), respond to God. God will avenge all unrighteousness. Rather than hold unforgiveness in your heart, get before God and ask Him to help you, and receive godly counsel on how-to walk-in forgiveness. It will be a hard road, but worth it. Whether the marriage survives infidelity or not, forgiveness will still be your issue to pursue.  Betrayal in any form is painful and will greatly affect you if you do not come to a place of forgiveness and wholeness.

Romans 12:19 (ESV) Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

The Book of Proverbs says that a fool only expresses their own opinion and does not want to listen to wise counsel. In Proverbs, chapters 4-6, there is strong counsel about staying away from situations that will lead to sexual sin. What we allow to enter our hearts, and then ponder, think about and entertain, will determine our actions. That is why we are told to guard our hearts. Proverbs 4:23 (KJV) Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

EDUCATION on SEX:

Masturbation is sin, no matter what your own thinking, school sex-ed class, or a therapist may tell you. Sexual pleasure was created by God for a husband and wife only and within the covenant of marriage. Self-sex will corrupt you in several ways:

1.  You are deceived in thinking it’s harmless and you become a deceiver to your spouse by engaging in self-sex. If you are single, you are developing a wrong view of the gift of sexuality, it was not designed for idolatrous self-gratification. For others, they resort to this for self-soothing but find it to be further bondage, entrapping them in their past suffering.

2. Sexual intimacy involves giving; when you’ve trained your mind to be a taker/receiver of pleasure only, this will grow and take you down a very dark path (read below). You’ve changed the purpose of sexual relationship and will pay a great price for that.

3. You betray your spouse by not sharing sexual intimacy with her/him. The hormones God designed for bonding within marriage are crucial to the success of being one; physical and spiritual oneness is the only way to truly know God’s perfect plan. When one party brings a “stranger” into the marriage bed it becomes defiled. “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” Hebrews 13:4. You end up “bonding” to the images you watch and you cannot serve two masters. You WILL be mastered by the images unless you renounce and flee from your sin.

4. You become spiritually impotent. Your compromised position will give your enemy (workers of darkness, demons) a foothold in you, forfeiting the authority of God in your life. This impotence will be seen in a lack of biblical leadership and the inability to love your spouse.

5. You’ll become physically impotent. You will need perverse sexual interactions in order to fulfill your lusts. If you are sexually habituated, you have perhaps unknowingly rewired your brain. You’ve addicted yourself to porn and your body no longer functions as God designed it to. (Good news is that you and change the wiring, see RESOURCES)

6. You will reap what you sow. Read Matthew 5:27-30, Hebrews 13:4, Romans 1:26-27, 1Corinthians 6:18.

There is HOPE. God has wonderfully designed us with hormones for sexual relationship, but when taken outside of the boundaries He established, these work against you. This is where sowing & reaping comes to bear. By restructuring the physiological brain, you can either become free or go deeper into destruction. By habitually indulging in pornography, people turn into devils, monsters of iniquity and many do not understand how they got there. God will not be mocked, flee as He warns. God sets captives free. But it takes action on your part.

Sin is incremental by nature, the downward spiral over time takes people to places they never imagined they would go. Ongoing sexual sin takes a soul into the places we see in our nation’s headlines. It should not be difficult to put two-and-two together: childhood sexual abuse, human sex-trafficking industry, rape, serial murder, sexual abuse of boys and girls in religious circles and the film and music industry… the wretched list on parade is endless. This downward spiral draws habituated people into one of three main areas of abuse toward others: sodomy, bestiality, and pedophilia — a sexual lust for children.

Statistics indicate that anyone who sexually molests children, first addicted their brain to pornography. As the physical brain changes so does the desire for more deviant stimuli to get the same “high”. You have a choice. The temptation to lust after pre-pubescent children in order to get your fix is diabolical. Flee! Satan delights in shame and the destruction of innocents. You become his fool; a pawn in his hand. You become a self-centered idolator and lose genuine concern for the well-being of others, choosing to satisfy the wicked lust that drives you. Why continue being tormented when Christ offers you freedom? The mind differs from your brain, it is “seated” in your heart according to scripture. This means you can change your mind, which will determine your actions and set you free from spiritual bondage. You can change your brain, once you decide to change your mind.

Look where sexual immorality has taken you and what you are doing to those around you… it affects everyone; no one is an island. …and getting married will not solve your problem, it will only pull more people into the pit with you. You alone must choose.

Just as the fool has said in his heart, “there is no God…” (Psalm 14:1), someone who professes to know Jesus Christ and continues in sexual sin, is like the proverbial fool. One day the revelation will come on the deception they lived under and what the pleasure of sin delivers (read Proverbs Chapter 4 & 5). Sin changes everything!

Let us all wake up and turn from any known sin in our lives, large or small. Fornication (pornea) of any kind will bring consequences, if not sooner, then later, as it did in my life. Satan, the master deceiver, comes along making shame and guilt appear larger than Truth and God’s forgiveness. His goal is to entrap people and finally, with glee, usher them into Hell for eternity. 

If we could see into the spiritual realm active here on earth, it would be astounding to know what our loving Father is constantly protecting us from! We must gain a healthy reverence for God and face the reality of what His inspired Word says about sexual immorality. Hate the sin and stay far from it! Become grateful, thank Him, fear Him, renounce your sin and repent with godly sorrow. He desires to set you free.

For further learning on overcoming sexual immorality go to RESOURCES.
Photo Credit: Canva, Family/Rodolfo Quirós/Pexels.

Where Does Your Strength Lie?

Anyone familiar with the account of Samson’s life will see that he was physically very strong, but of weak character. That flaw brought him to a place of becoming sport for the Enemy. His weakness, a desire for women, took him outside of God’s permitted covenant. Because he chose rather in indulge in his own passions; hedonism cost him dearly — betrayal, mocking, suffering and death were the results of his choices.

Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand. And it came to pass, when their hearts were merry, that they said, Call for Samson, that he may make us sport. And they called for Samson out of the prison-house; and he made them sport: and they set him between the pillars.” Judges 16:23, 25 KJV.

Lust and Pride
Let’s look at his life for a moment. The scripture tells us in Judges Chapters 13-16 the account of his conception announced by the angel of the Lord, up through his death under the rubble as he pulled down the pillars of the house of the Philistines. It displays for us a man who was given over to the desires of his flesh and involved himself with Delilahwomen he had no business marrying, nor toying with. Delilah, his infamous wife, ultimately was able to discover where his strength lay. After much prodding and testing, she was given the secret to God’s power in his life. The enemy works like that; Satan is relentless in pursing people to “…steal, kill and destroy.” (John 10:10).

What about you? Have you traded God’s secrets with the world? Are the words and insights God bestowed upon you at some point in your life still precious? Or have they become common, even to be mocked at? Has the name of God become vain for you, using it other than in reverence or praise? Are you playing games with your desires? Look around, you too will find yourself ultimately used as sport for the enemy’s camp.

What Happened?

It can be hard to understand how someone who once loved God can become someone who ends up mocking Him. It all happens so incrementally, many do not realize they are spiderwebbeing lured into a trap. As Samson lay on Delilah’s lap, his strength was taken from him. He put himself in a place of being worn down and finally gave up and gave away the precious gift of God he received as a child. This scenario is being repeated by many who have been entrusted with gifts by God, yet are taken captive by the snare of Satan. “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2 Timothy 2:26.

In the book of second Timothy, Paul, as mentor to young Timothy, gives guidance on how to instruct those who oppose themselves and end up ruining their lives. He begins Chapter 3 by telling him what the landscape will look like. 2 Timothy 3:2-5 “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

You may be frustrated with what you see happening around you. I’d like to encourage you to believe that God is just and He is faithful to speak to those going astray. Yet, He will not violate their free-will. So you must pray. You can be assured He is at work in the midst of poor choices.

Humble Yourself
Will you trust our Heavenly Father who knows all? Pray, and live your life fully for God. He will show you when there is opportunity to speak the truth in love to those headed for destruction (Ephesians 4:15). The Holy Spirit will tell you when to hold your peace and allow consequences to do the speaking. Remember our love is naturally limited, but God’s is abundant! He is at work continually, drawing people unto Himself.

Samson is a good example of a young man with great purpose and destiny; yet his choices side-tracked him. In the end God used him, but the testimony of a life well-lived for God’s glory was absent. Don’t come up short, living for yourself, rather live for God’s glory and at the end many will see and know that you chose His life over your own pleasures. And the rewards you’ll receive will be manifold on earth and in Heaven.

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