The Burden of Sanctification

Opening Prayer: 

God, help us to turn our attention to Your Word and let it speak to us about Your desires for our life.  Help us to give weight to what the Holy Spirit has for us in our life with You.  Amen

 

Read: Judges 16:13-16, NIV

Delilah then said to Samson, “All this time you have been making a fool of me and lying to me. Tell me how you can be tied.” He replied, “If you weave the seven braids of my head into the fabric on the loom and tighten it with the pin, I’ll become as weak as any other man.” So while he was sleeping, Delilah took the seven braids of his head, wove them into the fabric and tightened it with the pin. Again she called to him, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and pulled up the pin and the loom, with the fabric. Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when you won’t confide in me? This is the third time you have made a fool of me and haven’t told me the secret of your great strength.” With such nagging she prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it.”  

 

Reflect: 

Samson grew up knowing that he had been called out to be God’s chosen man who was to deliver Israel from the Philistines and that he was to be a judge over God’s people.  His problem was that he never applied for the job.  He really wanted to take up a different line of work.  While we do not know what that might have been, it is clear from his repeated attempts to have relationships with Philistine women, that his desired line of work did not involve fighting them.

Some commentary writers have speculated that the reason he was reluctant to give up his secret about his hair to Delilah was because he wanted to give up on answering the call that God had on his life.  This explanation has great appeal.  Samson, for whatever reason, was attracted to women who Jews were supposed to avoid.  He wanted to identify with the enemies of Israel and God.  In giving in to Delilah, he was just continuing down the road he was already on.  She merely encouraged him in his rejection of his role in God’s plan.

 

Apply: 

As Christians, we are called to be in this world, but not of it.  The term for this is sanctification.  We are set apart for a holy purpose.  This call on our lives is a lifetime commitment.  It is not something we can do off and on or only on weekends.  It is a 24/7, 365-day job that goes on year after year until we are called home.  In order to do this, we have to die to self and live for Christ.

In order to succeed with this way of life. there are a few simple techniques that we can practice.  We have to take time out of our daily life to renew our relationship with God through prayer and Bible study.  We have to avoid doing things that we would not want to do if Jesus were at our side.  We need a few close Christian friends with whom we share our life and to whom we can be accountable.

There is a saying that “if you spend your time with lousy people; you will get lice”.  The spiritual wisdom of this saying is easy to see.  This makes it all the more odd that we are surprised that we must be careful about our choice of friends.  It is too easy to think we have the strength to resist changes in our heart from bad associations.

On this last point, Delilah was an enemy of God and Samson. For whatever reason, he allowed her to talk him into his own defeat.  Even if that defeat was ultimately used by God to turn the tables on the Philistines, it is still true that Samson’s choices led to tragedy for him and his family.

 

 Closing Prayer: 

God, help us to be true to our calling.  We rejoice in the commitment we have made to live for You and be used by You for Your purposes.  Forgive us when we fall short and help us to get up, dust ourselves off and continue on with a life lived for You.  Help us to form healthy and helpful relationships with other people.

Terry Schneider