May 6

Judges 16:20 (NIV) 20Then she called, "Samson, the Philistines are upon you!" He awoke from his sleep and thought, "I'll go out as before and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had left him.

Samson had walked the fence of serving the LORD and serving his lusts until it finally caught up with him. The flesh lusts against the spirit and the spirit against the flesh. Eventually one must win. Samson could not see that flirting with evil would cost him so much. He'd been shown mercy by God again and again and thought that it would never end. This time he crossed the last line. "My Spirit will not always strive with man," the Lord said. Delilah conned him into telling the source of his strength. Did he really think he would get away with it again, or was he hoping he would be normal so that he could know if she genuinely loved him? Whatever was going on in his mind, he thought he was still anointed when he woke.

What a warning this is to us! We go on flirting with disaster, compromising with evil and then we jump up thinking the anointing is still upon us. We go out to battle and find we have no strength. His eyes were put out. That was symbolic of his spiritual blindness. He labored for years for the enemy, another symbol of the spiritual reality.

Finally when put on display at a feast to the enemy's god, he gave himself in one last act of service to God. What a price he paid to see in the Spirit. What a price he had to pay to be free from bondage to the enemy. Still, his death took a greater toll upon the enemy than his life. God gives second chances.

Consider: Flirting with evil will eventually extract a painful price. Quit now!

May 6

Luke 9:61-62 (NIV) 61Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family." 62Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."

To follow, to be a disciple of Jesus, is the highest calling anyone can have. In the passage for this evening, a man asked to become one of Jesus' followers, "but first...". Once the realization has come to us that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, there can be no "but first". It is comparable to saying, "I know that You are my Creator to Whom I owe my very being, but there is a portion of my life that I wish to remain lord over." "I will make you a close second to my parents", or whatever is of primary importance to you.

There can be all kinds of affairs in a marriage. We usually interpret it as unfaithfulness with the opposite sex, but a woman can have an affair with money, with her children, or with her parents. The more common affairs with men are their work, position, possessions, or vacations. The man in the text above wanted to become a part of the bride of Christ, but wanted to keep his love for his parents first. Is it possible that you are being unfaithful to Jesus? Imagine how that breaks His heart.

The plowman had to keep his eyes fixed far ahead in order to keep the row straight. If he looked back, the oxen would pull in whatever direction was easiest, and the row would end up a curve. In our life in Christ, we dare not look back on the things that were once first in our lives. The old loves must stay in our past to plow straight. Service in the kingdom of God demands a forward view into eternity.

Consider: Keep your eyes on the goal. The glorious future ahead is incomparably greater than anything we valued in the past.