The New Testament describes Samson as a man of faith. It mentions neither his failures nor his great strength. Though he possessed great physical strength, he was a moral weakling who followed his own selfish desires and ignored God. Do you remember his story? He was the man who foolishly loved Delilah?
It seems that after the first three episodes of betrayal, Samson would’ve known not to trust Delilah. But like many of us, Samson thought that giving into manipulation was an expression of love. He chose to please Delilah and to get what he wanted from her, rather than to obey God and deliver his people. Delilah chose to use her relationship with Samson for her own gain. Most of us have experienced the pain of being used, and we have undoubtedly used others. We’ve also known the searing agony of being betrayed.
It will accomplish nothing to look at Samson and think about what he didn’t accomplish. Likewise, it does little good for us to become depressed over what might have been. Samson shows us that as long as we have life, we have hope. It’s never to late to surrender your life to God and allow him to redeem you and restore what you’ve lost. In spite of his failures, Samson is listed as a champion of faith in Hebrews 11. In spite of your failures, you, too, can be a champion of faith as God continues to transform your life.
The Bible tells us that all have sinned and gone their own way. No matter how far you’ve gone in the wrong direction, however, when you turn around God always welcomes you back. Are you living beyond your means? Have you given in to the world of internet pornography? Maybe you’re failing your wife and kids, crushing them with your anger or solitude. Is your free time filled with television or video games?
God is ready to welcome you back. His arms are open, and his promises are sure–he will transform your worst failures into a blessed future, if you’ll ask him to.
There is hope for you. God is gracious and will forgive you, no matter what you’ve done or failed to do. He will even turn your past around and create a new life’a life of hope, peace, and ongoing relationship with him. But you have to take the first step. It’s a paradox of our faith: seek God and He will find you! Whether it’s the first time you’ve sought Him or you have strayed over and over, He’s there with His arms wide open!
Do you feel like your being swallowed up by life? Fasting can be an effective means of keeping you from being consumed by your surroundings. Daniel’one of the leading Jewish young men taken into captivity by King Nebuchadnezzar’undertook several disciplines in order to maintain his faith and identity. His decision to fast was one of the most visible ways by which he avoided being fully absorbed into that culture.
Daniel did something in particular that you might find helpful. He frequently practiced partial fasts in which he abstained from certain items but not from food altogether. A partial fast is a limitation of food or drink but not a complete abstention from them. A good way to develop the discipline of partial fasting is to begin with a fast from lunch one day to lunch the next. You can choose to give up soda or certain types of food you’d normally eat during this time. Instead of eating, take time to pray and read your Bible.
A normal fast can often be more disruptive to daily life’and that’s a good thing at times. But at other times you may sense the need to support your prayers or spiritual activities with fasting, but feel the need to sustain your food intake. In such times, you may give up certain items’and these don’t have to be limited to food. How about fasting from video games, Internet surfing, or television?