The story is told of a man of immense strength. I’m not just talking inner fortitude or strength of character, but raw unadulterated physical power. The kind of strength that rivals that of the mightiest of men, that separates a lion from its life and brings the house down, literally, upon the heads of its enemies.
This man, Samson, was the stuff of legend, but he was a real man. For all his prowess as a fighter and reputation for lifting heavy weight the counterbalance on his life was a decadent smorgasbord of weaknesses – the kind that can cripple giants. And even giants of the faith.
Many men, and women too, sought to discover the secret of Samson’s strength. His parents had been told that his hair must never be cut and Samson honored and protected this covenant into his adult life.
Along with this he was to consume nothing from the vine and avoid anything or anyone deceased. But Samson’s main weakness was that he had a penchant for pushing the limits (read testing the boundaries) of his covenant with the Lord – and that soon ran him into trouble.
When those who wanted his downfall plotted against him they strategically sent in the kind of secret weapon the man couldn’t resist. Weakness in a twist of irony won the inner battle and his resolve melted away into the warmth of a lady’s lap. The secret was out. And they cut his locks. And as expected, the man who ripped a beast apart with his bare hands was now no more than a lamb himself. A mere shadow of his former self, vulnerable and convicted.
He had taken his strength for granted, got careless with the gift God had given Him and now found himself out of purpose and at the mercy of the very foes from whom He was to deliver His people. The hair was the last straw. He had already eaten honey from the body of a lion he’d killed, and was spending an inordinate amount of time in vineyards and at feasts for a man who was called to separate himself from such.
Perhaps because it was a vow He was born into and not one he chose for himself, He resented its restrictions. Perhaps He thought himself invincible – too sure and too secure in His superhuman strength – or maybe he just lost focus, pursuing the things that pleased him. One can only speculate about Samson … but we can each make assessments of ourselves by asking – Where does my strength lie? And am I doing anything right now to jeopardize it?
It might be that your strength is found in having an extra half hour in the morning to spend with the Lord, but late night stints on social media are robbing you of that.
Or maybe your strength and that of your home is in meaningful quality time with each other, but an overbooked schedule is detracting and distracting you from that goal. Or your strength might be in a peaceful, grateful state of mind but you are allowing people’s negativity to invade your space.
As we enjoy the Christmas season and approach a new year with genuine expectation, let’s resolve to do all we can to preserve the areas of strength God has afforded us. And, if we commit into His hands our weaknesses, He promises to lend His own perfect strength and superior grace to help us manage them (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Think of it as the gift that keeps on giving.
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