Samson

Steve Arterburn

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.

Gideon

Steve Arterburn

Regardless of your humble beginnings, God can lead you to a glorious future. But there’s a catch.  You need to be transformed according to his perfect plan.  And you’ll need both faith and courage as you allow him to make the most of your weaknesses, to transform your deficiencies into strength, and to turn your misery into mission.  

Take for example another man’a man named Gideon.  When you first meet Gideon in the book of Judges, he’s discouraged.  He’s a young man with little self-respect.  His clan was the weakest in his whole tribe, and he was the least in his family.  He’s first seen threshing wheat in a winepress, hiding the little food he has from his Midianite oppressors.  An angel appeared and called to him, ‘Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!’  Gideon certainly didn’t look or feel like a mighty hero, but God knew his potential.  By the end of the story, Gideon had become the deliverer of his people.  His first step toward success was to see himself as God saw him’a ‘mighty hero.’  Then Gideon was able to hope in the possibility of freedom.

No matter how weak or unworthy you are, God is able to transform you into a mighty hero of faith.  Just as Gideon was changed when he trusted God to make him into a powerful man of God, you too will be changed when you allow God’s strength to empower you in your areas of weakness.

Warfare Prayer

Steve Arterburn

Are you facing a strong temptation?  Interpersonal conflicts?  Difficult circumstances?  In the Bible the apostle Paul uses the analogy of armor and warfare to teach about the equipment that’s essential for standing against temptation and spiritual attack.  

First, he encourages you to put on the belt of truth.  Satan is the father of lies.  He’s constantly trying to deceive and trap you.  In contrast, all of your armor is held together by truth, which comes from the Father of Truth.

Next, you need to put on the body armor of God’s righteousness.  Though there are many levels of meaning to this phrase, the primary one is that you’re forgiven and accepted through faith in Jesus Christ alone.  You’re not protected by your own righteousness; you need the righteousness of God.

Next, you’re called to put on the shoes of peace and carry this Good News to people everywhere.

You’re also given a shield of faith to protect you against Satan’s accusations and persecutions.  Prayer leads to faith.  It keeps your vision clear when circumstances cloud your way.

The helmet of salvation is next on Paul’s list.  In addition to protecting the wearer, the helmet identified a soldier’s allegiance.  You belong to the company of Christ.  

Finally, you’re armed with the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.  The sword is your only offensive weapon.  

God never leaves his men behind in battle.  Read Paul’s warfare prayer from the book of Ephesians 6:10-18 for help.