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 Disciplining Our Bodily Passions by Zac Poonen


In Chapter 13 of Judges, we read of the family of Manoah that did not have any children. The angel of the Lord appeared to them one day and told them that they would have a son, and that he should be brought up as a Nazirite. Samson was born. The Lord blessed him and the Spirit of God began to move upon him (13:25).

But unfortunately, we read that Samson backslid – very early in his life. Whenever he saw a pretty woman, he just could not control his lusts. He would forget all about his calling to serve the Lord and would go after that woman – whether she was a Jew or a Gentile made no difference to him, so long as she was good-looking! This was his weakness throughout his life. God used him no doubt. But he had a tremendous weakness for pretty women – like many a preacher today. Samson’s behavior stands in great contrast to Joseph’s. Joseph lived before the Law was given and had much less revelation on God’s ways than Samson had. Yet he stood true to God repeatedly – and has therefore been an outstanding example for young men for thousands of years. Samson, on the other hand, has been an equally outstanding warning to all men for thousands of years!

We read in Judges14:5,6, “Samson went down to Timnah and a young lion came roaring towards him and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily so that he caught the lion and tore the lion to pieces.” Like we would tear up a piece of paper, Samson tore up that lion to pieces. And he was so humble about it that he didn’t tell anyone – not even his father and mother. Samson knew that it was the power of the Holy Spirit that had enabled him to do that.

In verse 10, we read that his father went down to meet the Philistine woman whom Samson liked and got Samson married to her. This was a direct disobedience of God’s Law that had clearly commanded that the Israelites were never to marry non-Israelites. Samson’s was an up-and-down life – like the sine wave – sometimes up but mostly down. We read in Chapter 16:1 that he went down to Gaza. He saw a harlot there and liked her and committed fornication with her. When he was caught, he pulled out the gates of the city and walked off with them! Later, he met another Philistine woman called Delilah and fell in love with her (Judg.16:4). God must have spoken to his conscience many a time. But he would not listen. He probably rejoiced in the fact that God was USING him – just like many do today. Many will come to the Lord in the last day and remind Him of how He had used them in various ministries. But the Lord will cast all of them into hell fire, because they lived in sin in their private lives (Matt.7:22, 23). If we keep on rejecting God’s gentle warnings to our conscience, we too can destroy ourselves like all those preachers.

Samson finally put his head on Delilah’s lap and revealed the secret of his strength to her. She cut off his hair promptly and that was the end of his ministry. What a tragedy! A man who was such a mighty deliverer was enslaved to his own lusts and passions. Paul says in 1Corinthians 9:27, “It is possible for me to preach to others and still be disqualified myself, if I don’t keep my body in subjection.” The Living Bible paraphrases that verse as, “making my body do what it should do, and not what it wants to do.” That means that we are to make our bodies eat what it should eat and not what it wants to eat; sleep as much as it should sleep and not how much it wants to sleep. We must control our eyes so that they look only at what they should look at and not at what they want to look at. We must control our tongues so that they speak what they should speak and not what they want to speak.

If we don’t control our bodily passions, we may preach wonderful messages and yet be cast out by the Lord in the final day. So much depends on our disciplining our bodily passions. That is the message we get from the story of Samson who had a wonderful ministry that blessed so many people. But finally, he himself was disqualified. So many great preachers have fallen a prey to pretty women. Don’t be impressed by the gifts that such men exercise or by the vastness of their organisations!! A leader falling into sin is a far more serious thing than an ordinary believer falling into the same sin – as we see in Leviticus. To whom more is given, from them more is required as well.

If you are not faithful in your relationship with the opposite sex, don’t dishonour God’s name by trying to be an elder or a leader. Don’t fool the people that you are a holy man of God when you are living in sin. God will expose you publicly one day if you continue to live like that. You may think you are clever enough to hide your sin. But you are not clever enough for God. He will expose you more than you have ever been exposed thus far.

In Chapter 16, we read of how Samson lost his power and how his eyes were blinded. When preachers go after women, this is what happens: They lose their spiritual vision. They cannot see clearly any more. They may still be evangelical in their doctrines and be able to preach eloquently. But their spiritual vision would have gone.

Samson became a slave. But praise God, he had enough sense to acknowledge his sin toward the end of his life. He repented and finally destroyed many Philistines in his death (Judg.16:23-31)..

Samson’s story is the story of two lions – one on the outside and one inside his heart. He could overpower the external lion, but he could not conquer the internal one. This teaches us that the lion of sexual lust is far stronger and more to be feared than any external lion. What would you do if you saw a lion running towards you in a forest? You would turn around and run. Do you do the same when you see the lion of lust coming at you? The Bible exhorts us to “flee from immorality” (1 Cor.6:18). That is the only way to overcome it - don’t go anywhere near such temptation. Don’t go anywhere near a woman who tempts you. Avoid flirtatious women like you would avoid hungry lions.

Samson lived under the old covenant. So no-one can make Samson’s story his excuse for falling into immorality today. Samson did not have the New Testament, he lived prior to Calvary’s cross, he had no Example as we have in Jesus today, and above all, he could not receive the Holy Spirit as an Indwelling Helper as we can. The way into the most holy place of fellowship with the Father was not yet open in those days. Samson did not have the blessing of godly fellowship either. All of these we have today. So we have no excuse for living in sin.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2013/8/2 16:03Profile
PQ
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Joined: 2009/12/6
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 Re: Disciplining Our Bodily Passions by Zac Poonen

Thank you for sharing Brother Greg.

pq*


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PQ

 2013/8/2 16:58Profile
davym
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Joined: 2007/5/22
Posts: 319


 Re: Disciplining Our Bodily Passions by Zac Poonen

I have found that if we consistently ask our Saviour for help on this issue, He is only too willing to strengthen us to overcome. It is imperative we allow Him to strengthen us and not neglect prayer ever. Thanks for posting the article.


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David

 2013/8/3 7:58Profile





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