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The He-Man with the She-Weakness | What Not to Do With Your Life

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
November 4, 2022 3:00 am

The He-Man with the She-Weakness | What Not to Do With Your Life

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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November 4, 2022 3:00 am

In any marathon, the runners who jump out in front at the beginning are rarely the ones in front at the end. In fact, if a person isn’t careful how he runs, he probably won’t finish first and may not finish at all. Today on A NEW BEGINNING, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how even the strong can be brought to weakness. It’s a lesson on spiritual integrity and resisting those things that can derail our faithfulness to God. Pastor Greg begins by directing us to our Scripture text.

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A New Beginning is the daily half-hour program hosted by Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Southern California. For over 30 years, Pastor Greg and Harvest Ministries have endeavored to know God and make Him known through media and large-scale evangelism. This podcast is supported by the generosity of our Harvest Partners.

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Today's episode of A New Beginning is brought to you by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God.

Learn more at harvest.org. And while you're there, browse our library of free e-books designed to help you grow in your faith. Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending. It's important to start our Christian life well with a strong foundation.

But coming up today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie says it's even more important to finish well. You decide how your story is going to end spiritually. God says, I said before you death and life, blessings and curses, choose life that you might live. God wants you to be a spiritual success.

But if you self-destruct, that's not on God, that's on you. This is the day when the lost are found. This is the day for a new beginning. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. Again, you hear all the angels are singing. This is the day, the day when life begins. In any marathon, the runners who jump out in front of the beginning are rarely the ones in front at the end.

In fact, if a person isn't careful how he runs, he probably won't finish first and may not finish at all. Today on A New Beginning, Pastor Greg Laurie points out how even the strong can be brought to weakness. It's a lesson on spiritual integrity and resisting those things that can derail our faithfulness to God. Pastor Greg begins by directing us to our scripture text. The book of Judges. And I'm going to talk to you about one of the most paradoxical, interesting characters in the Bible.

His name was Samson. And the title of my message is, The He-Man with a She-Weakness. One of the things that I have found in life is it's just full of surprises. There are unexpected pleasures and blessings that come your way. And then there are things that happen that are tragic and sad. Some things that happen are downright inexplicable.

I've also been amazed at how God has changed lives. I've been amazed at people that I thought had tremendous potential. I thought they are going to make their mark on the world. And they're going to just be a dynamic force in the hand of God. And they were for a while until they crashed and burned. Then there's other people that I thought, I don't know if they're ever going to amount to much of anything. And God put His hand on them in an amazing way.

And they achieved in an incredible way. You know you look back at high school and you think, oh that person is going to really succeed and that person will fail. You know and you think about all the geeks and the nerds. Those people are crazy.

They'll never amount to anything. Now we call them boss. We don't call them geeks and nerds. And by the way this is a really good time to be a geek or a nerd. Because all of us need a geek in our life right.

Because of all the electronic gadgetry and everything else. But lots of surprises in life. And here is a story of a guy that had everything. God's hand was on him in an amazing way. He had the potential to be one of the greatest leaders in the history of Israel. He was actually a judge over Israel. Back in these days Israel was ruled by various judges. And so God had put His hand on this man. Samson to be a great judge. He had an amazing beginning and a tragic ending.

I wanted to just tell you something. You decide how your story is going to end spiritually. You say no God decides.

No actually you decide. God says I said before you death and life, blessings and curses, choose life that you might live. God wants you to be a spiritual success.

God wants you to touch this world. But if you self-destruct that's not on God. That's on you. You might say well no it's on the devil. Well yeah he plays a role. But he can't take control of you.

You have to cooperate with him so you decide how things are going to ultimately turn out. Let me ask you this question. What would you write for your obituary? Because one day your life is going to be summed up in a paragraph on a program that will be handed out at your memorial service. Nobody will care about how high you climbed in your profession. Nobody will care about what kind of car you drove or how much money you made.

They'll talk about what kind of person you were. Because when it gets down to the bottom line it's not about the duration of your life. It's about the donation of your life. You know we all want to live long lives and there's nothing wrong with that so carry on Keo people.

And all you tofu peeps go for it. But you know the point is the bigger issue is the donation. Not just duration. The impact that your life has on others. Well Samson's story could have been one of the most epic in all of the scripture. But instead it turns out to be sort of a story of what not to do with your life. The life of Samson shows that you can have a good beginning but not necessarily have a good ending. That's why Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 7-8 the end of a matter is better than its beginning.

Example. Let's say we're running a race and you have the first place position for five out of six laps and then on the sixth lap you collapse. And maybe another person had a bad start but they finished the race and even won the race. What matters is not just starting well you got to finish it. Because if you don't finish well all that effort has effectively been in vain. It was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow the great poet who said quote great is the art of beginning but greater is the art of ending.

End quote. So Samson his life is in many ways a tragic failure but his life is also a reminder that God gives second chances. Aren't you glad God gives second chances? How many of you have ever needed a second chance in life?

Yeah. How many of you never have needed a second chance you're just so awesome. Okay I'm glad no one raised their hand because everybody needs second chances and third chances and fourth chances. So let's kind of learn a few things from the life of this incredible character. Point number one he had a great beginning.

He had a great beginning. He had superhuman qualities. Physically no one was stronger than Samson. He was kind of like a superhero.

People love you know the marvel universe the DC universe and all these characters. Well Samson was the real deal. He was more powerful than the Hulk and he was smarter than Dr.

Strange. And the thing is he was a real guy. Now of course we always think of Samson and his long hair. So you immediately think of you know Conan the barbarian played by Arnold Schwarzenegger from California right. That's how he used to pronounce California when he was our governor.

It's hard to believe he was a governor. He actually was. But that's how we think big massive muscular guy long hair. Well maybe that's right.

Maybe it isn't right. I mean the long hair was there for sure. And the reasoning of the long hair is he had taken the bow of a Nazarite and part of the bow of a Nazarite was to never cut your hair. The power was not in his hair. Thank God for that.

Otherwise there's no hope for people like me. The power was in his commitment to God that was symbolized by his long hair. That's why his hair mattered. But the Bible never says that he was like you know a muscular dude. We think he was. But actually it's interesting the Bible doesn't say he was and to the point we're told in Scripture that Joseph and David were very built physically but we're not told that about Samson. But we are told about Samson is the Spirit would come upon him. So it makes me wonder what if he was some scrawny little guy. You know and all of a sudden the power of God would come on him and he would do these amazing beats. You know maybe he was muscular and buff.

I don't know who cares really. But he had this long hair which was a symbol of his commitment to God. And not once did he feel the agony of defeat.

For 20 years he experienced the thrill of victory. And I think that's where the deadly complacency began to set in because he thought no one's going to beat me. Well look the devil is evil. The devil is wicked. The devil is perverse.

But I'll tell you something the devil is not. He's not stupid. And he knows how to bring people down. And so he's going to watch you for a while. He's going to observe you. And he's going to try to find your vulnerability.

Your Achilles heel. So Satan watched Samson thought well I can't beat this guy in the battlefield because he picks up a bone on one occasion and kills a thousand Philistines, his enemies. On another occasion he picks up the walls of a city and carries them for a few miles.

Another time he got into a fight with a lion and ripped its jaws apart. So you're not going to beat this guy on the battlefield. So the devil thought I know how to get this guy. I'll get him in the bedroom. It'll be a sneak attack and he won't know what hit him.

So the devil came up with a hack to put a serious virus in Samson. Pastor Greg Laurie will have the second half of his message in just a moment. Hey everybody what are you doing this weekend? I'd like to hang out with you at Harvest at Home. When is Harvest at Home? It is a time of worship and Bible study exclusively designed for people that are viewing in from all over the place. So you can be a part of our extended congregation at Harvest at Home.

Join us this weekend Saturday and Sunday for Harvest at Home at Harvest.org. Well we're just getting started in our study of the great fall of the strong man Samson. Pastor Greg titled his message, The He-Man with the She Weakness. Judges chapter 16. I'm going to read verses four to nine. By the way I'm reading from the New Living Translation. Afterward it happened that Samson loved a woman in the valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah and the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said entice him and find out where his great strength lies and by what means we may overpower him that we may bind him to afflict him and every one of us will give you 1100 pieces of silver.

That's a lot of money. So Delilah said to Samson please tell me where your great strength lies and how you may be bound so I can afflict you. Samson said if they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings not yet dried I'll become weak like any other man. So point number one was you had a great beginning. Point number two is temptation comes in attractive packages. I'm sure that Delilah was a very attractive woman for sure.

They didn't hire a homely woman and temptation if it's going to be tempting needs to be appealing and so that's how he'll come to us. Remember when our first parents were in the garden of Eden and and they were standing at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil they saw the forbidden fruit and I don't know why but people say you know when Adam and Eve ate the apple. The Bible never says they ate an apple.

Where did that even come from? Apple? It says it was forbidden fruit.

I mean I don't know about you. I don't even like apples that much. Nectarines I might be tempted. Peaches perhaps but I don't think it was a peach or a plum or an apple. I think it was a piece of fruit you've probably never seen before. It probably pulsated with light.

It probably had its own theme song. I don't know. A lot of special effects around that piece of fruit where you just go what is that? And so they're drawn to it because the devil knows you like eye candy. He knows you like things that are appealing and we read in the Bible when the woman saw the fruit was pleasant to look at.

Then she ate. So you know the devil brings along Delilah. She's an attractive girl and he's looking at her and for temptation to properly work its magic there must be a desire on our part. Point number three. For temptation to succeed we must be a willing participant. Let me say that again. For temptation to succeed you must be a willing participant because sometimes people will say the devil made me do it.

Really? I don't know about that. I mean the devil may have tempted you but the Bible says a man is tempted when he's drawn away by his own desires and is enticed. So the tempter needs cooperation with the temptee. That's you. You have to check out what he's offering. You have to be interested in what he's selling. And so we cooperate in this.

We must participate in this for it to work. And so here comes the devil with his temptation and Samson begins to sort of nibble at the fruit if you will. And I'll give Delilah credit. And by the way her name Delilah it means delicate right. So if he was a muscular guy think of this big guy like maybe six four you know. And this tiny little attractive girl he looks at her like what is she going to do to me. Oh yeah if you bind me with fresh bow strings it would have never been dried. I'll be like any other man like no matter what she did she could never overpower me because I'm so strong.

But she told him what her intentions were. Look at verse 6. Please tell me where your great strength lies so I may afflict you. Wow. That brings us to the profound insight hashtag sin makes you stupid. Right. It makes you stupid. Tell me how I can afflict you. Is this a healthy relationship.

Should I engage with this girl or should I terminate this conversation right now. But I think the reason he thought he could handle it is because he was so strong in other areas. And the Bible says pride goes before a fall. You tell me any person who's fallen into sin I don't care what kind of sin it is. It always starts with pride. It starts with me saying oh I'll never do that. Oh I'm too strong to fall there. Oh I've got this one nailed.

This isn't a problem at all. Careful pride goes before a fall and you're going to set yourself up for the kill. And so he thought he could handle it. And he thought he could overcome it. Point number four moral compromise makes us vulnerable. Moral compromise makes us vulnerable. If Samson had not had this sinful relationship with Delilah to begin with he would not have been in this mess. And this is usually how people fall.

They think they can handle it. His first clue should have been Delilah worked at super cuts. Why are you hanging around with this girl. So that brings us to the sad twist in the story. Judges 16 verse 15. Then Delilah pouted. Uh oh.

Secret weapon. She pouted and she said samsipu. That's implied in the Hebrew by the way. No it isn't.

I just threw that in. Here's what she really said. Samson how can you say you love me when you won't confide in me. You've made fun of me three times now and still haven't told me what makes you so strong. So day after day she nagged him until he couldn't stand it any longer. Finally Samson told her a secret.

My hair has never been cut. He confessed. I was dedicated to God as a Nazarite from birth.

And if my head were shaved my strength would leave me and I would become weak as anyone else. Delilah realized he finally told her the truth. She sent for the Philistine leaders and said come back one more time.

She said he's told me everything. So the Philistine leaders returned and brought the money with them. And Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap. And she called in a man to shave off his hair making his capture certain and his strength left him. Then she cried out Samson the Philistines have come to capture you. And when he woke up he thought I'll do as I have before and shake myself free. Here's a powerful verse.

Don't miss it. But he didn't realize the Lord had left him. He didn't realize the Lord had left him. So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes and took him to Giza where he was bound with bronze chains and made him grind grain in the prison.

Wow. What a sad story. If Samson had been running a race he just fell and he fell hard. In fact he fell so hard it looks like he would never get up again.

But again he set this scene for his own fall. He was compromising. Anyone that asked you to compromise your faith is not someone you should have a relationship with. If a girl or a guy says you've got to prove your love to me by going all the way with me having sex with me get out of that relationship immediately. That's not proving love at all. Or if you love me someone might say cover for me. If you love me tell a lie to protect me.

Whatever it is. So she's basically lulling him into this relationship and I find it shocking to find that he was comfortable enough to fall asleep in her lap. Talk about sleeping with the enemy.

How could he be so stupid? But again sin makes you stupid. Pastor Greg Lorry has more to come in this message called The He-Man with the She Weakness. A powerful lesson on the destructive potential behind the temptations we face.

And he has a closing comment for today in just a moment. Well, Pastor Greg, we're excited about the new film on the life of Johnny Cash and we'll tell our friends how to see it in just a moment. But when other people see the life of Johnny Cash, they see country music or they see the crazy things he did that made the newspapers or, you know, they see the man in black. They see an entertainment icon.

Yes. But you see something more. What is it you see? Well, I see a man just like us. You know, that's what I love about Johnny Cash is he was authentic. He was real. He was flawed. He was brilliant.

He was extraordinarily talented and he was very godly. I mean, who else could be friends with Willie Nelson and Billy Graham at the same time? Who else could play at a Billy Graham crusade on Monday and then be headlining a Vegas venue on Friday? The answer to that is Johnny Cash. So Johnny Cash is a contradiction.

He's an enigma. He's a person we can relate to. So folks know that I've written a book on Johnny Cash called Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon. But listen, now we have a brand new documentary film on Johnny Cash opening in a theater near you. It's going to be a Fathom event. So a Fathom event is basically when this organization Fathom will book hundreds of theaters around the United States for an exclusive showing of something.

So you will be able to go and see this movie, hopefully in a theater near you. And you can see the spiritual story of Johnny Cash. There's been other documentaries made about cash and they're great. But we decided to approach it from a spiritual angle, hence the subtitle, the redemption of an American icon. Yes, we tell the story of the rise and the fall and the rise again of Johnny. We look at his career.

It's ups and downs. We look at his spiritual ups and downs, but it is a redemptive story. And there's some amazing people that participated in this documentary, folks that we interview that talk about how they knew cash or what they knew of the spiritual life of cash. People like his own son, John Carter Cash, his sister, Joanne Cash.

Not only that, but we have interviews with Tim McGraw, Winona Judd, Marty Stewart, and Cheryl Crow and others. So many people wanted to be a part of this because they admired Johnny. They loved Johnny. He made such an impact. And I think it's really a mistake to define Johnny Cash as merely a country music icon.

Oh, he was that. But in a way, Johnny had a musical style that was all his own. Everybody knows when a Johnny Cash song is playing, he appealed to multiple generations. My grandparents loved him. My parents' generation loved him. I loved him. Kids today love him.

And people are discovering him for the first time. So you want to see this film. This is a cutting edge, brand new, beautiful film produced by the Irwin Brothers. Of course, the Irwin Brothers brought us that Jesus music documentary.

They also brought us I Can Only Imagine. I Still Believe, Woodlawn. And next year, the brand new feature film, Jesus Revolution, that's based on my life in the Jesus movement. So this is a film you don't want to miss. It's probably going to be showing in a theater near you. And we want to make tickets available for you to see Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon.

Yeah, that's right. It's coming to theaters across the country. Contact us right away as we have a limited number of tickets available. And it's such a joy to make complimentary tickets available to those who support us with a generous donation. Claim your tickets and invest in Harvest Ministries by going to harvest.org.

When you support this ministry, you make it possible for us to reach unexpected people in unexpected places with an unexpected message, as we're doing with Johnny Cash, the redemption of an American icon. Again, it's a Fathom event and you'll find the dates on our website. Tickets are limited. So contact us today. Go to harvest.org or call 1-800-821-3300.

That's a 24 hour phone number 1-800-821-3300. Well, Pastor Greg, an important date is coming up on the calendar and I know you wanted to comment on that. Yes, I do, Dave. We have an opportunity as American citizens to have our voice heard. In fact, it is imperative that our voices are heard. Jesus told us to be both salt and light in our culture. He said, let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

Our light shines to the good deeds we do in the name of Jesus and our proclamation of the gospel. But he also said we are to be salt. Salt in the first century when Christ made this statement was used for many purposes, but one of them was it was a preservative.

They would rub salt into meat to stop the rotting process. So really when Jesus says we are to be the salt of the earth, it means we as Christians need to do what we can to stop the spread of evil and work toward the extension of God's kingdom. Listen, when we vote, we can stop the spread of evil. Politicians are not going to bring a spiritual awakening.

Only God will do that. But I'm looking for candidates that line up with what I believe is a biblical worldview. That means that I'm looking for a candidate who is pro-life. I'm looking for a candidate who wants to honor what scripture says about the family and the man and the woman together in marriage as God has presented it and so much more. So I urge you to get out there and vote.

Don't let this one slip by. Your voice matters. Let your light shine and be the salt of the earth.

Be a good citizen and get out there and vote. God bless you. Well, next time Pastor Greg offers strong encouragement for anyone who's ever stumbled in their walk with the Lord. Good insight for new believers and veteran Christians alike. But before we go, here's Pastor Greg with some closing comments.

The Bible asks the question, can a man take fire into his heart and not be burned? When I was a little kid, I used to like to set army men on fire. I was like a junior pyromaniac and I would do this when my mother was gone, working somewhere. I'd get out my army men. I had these little bags of army men. They were all green and they were in various positions. One guy had the binoculars, right? Another guy kind of had the machine gun. Another guy had the rifle.

Another guy was laying on the ground. So I would take the guy with aiming the rifle because he was the best to light on fire. I would light the tip of his gun on fire and he'd start burning and he would just be kind of melting slowly. Then he would turn into a little puddle, a burning puddle.

I thought that was so amazing. One day I was doing it and I was lighting him on fire on newspaper, which is a bad idea. I was just a kid, right? All of a sudden the newspaper catches on fire. So I'm running around the house with this newspaper with burning plastic on it and I threw it into a trash can, a rattan trash can. It catches on fire. Oh man.

I was able to get the fire up, but that's how sin works. I'll just, I'll just do this little thing here. You know, I'll look at just a little bit of porn here.

I'll just kind of have this sexually suggestive conversation here where I'll just play around with this area over there where I'll just cheat a little bit in this other area and I'll be able to handle it. And all of a sudden it's a stinking wildfire. And you're saying, how did that start? It started by you lowering your guard and making a compromise. So sin makes you stupid. A New Beginning is a podcast made possible by Harvest Partners, helping people everywhere know God. If this show has impacted your life, share your story, leave a review on your favorite podcast app and help others find hope.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-09 19:32:46 / 2022-11-09 19:38:49 / 6

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