“…but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.” James 1:14
Friend to Friend
I love spinach. I love it in salads – especially with grilled salmon, goat cheese and pine nuts. I love it on a turkey sandwich with whole grain bread, a thick, juicy slice of a sun-ripened tomato and sharp cheddar cheese. I love spinach sautéed with EVOO, garlic, butter and a pinch of sea salt. Straight up, I guess I’m just a ‘spinach’ kind of girl. Anyone with me?
Now that we’re clear on my love for this wonderful, dark green leafy veggie, imagine my disappointment when I was told by the evening news that I had to throw out the two bags of fresh spinach in my refrigerator! There has been an e-coli outbreak that has been linked back to some manufacturing plants in
Initially, there were several minutes that I stood in my kitchen wanting to ignore the warnings. I was tempted to resist the news reports as being valid. I thought to myself, “I’m sure MY bags of spinach are just fine. I hate to waste all of that money. Spinach is good for me…this is ridiculous!” But, alas…I threw out my spinach. I heeded the warning. The risks weren’t worth the rewards.
My spinach dilemma caused me to think about spiritual issues. There have been many times in my life where I have sensed a warning in my soul that I believe was prompted by the Holy Spirit. Each time we are faced with such a warning, we are also faced with an opportunity to choose our response to it.
From birth, Sampson was favored by God. He was given exceptional physical strength that was purposed for God’s plan. Over the years, Sampson grew somewhat feisty and complacent. Much to his detriment, he chose to go his own way and lean on his own strength. He used his gifts for his own selfish purposes and amusement.
The Bible shows that Sampson was warned several times, through circumstances, about the deceitfulness of his betraying wife, yet he failed to heed the warnings. The deceptive ways of Delilah were just as toxic as the deadliest of e-coli strains…but once again, Sampson chose his own way over God’s way. The results were painful, humiliating and, ultimately, fatal. Delilah’s betrayal caused Sampson to be taken prisoner and beaten. His strength, along with his dignity, was stripped away from him.
After some very nasty torture by the Philistines, Sampson, in his last moments prior to death, recognized his need for God. He cried out to the Lord and was instantly redeemed. God heard his repentant heart.
Did you know that the New Testament book of Hebrews, chapter 11, lists Sampson in the hall of faith? I was amazed and encouraged to see that! This story beautifully displays the truth that now matter what temptations we have given in to, no matter what warnings we have failed to heed and no matter what compromises we have made – it is never too late to turn back to God.
I may have to wait a few weeks until I have my next spinach salad, but I’m so thankful that I can turn to my LORD for help every minute of every day.
Holy Lord, not one of us is above temptation - least of all me. Please help me to recognize and heed the warnings you whisper to my soul. Grant me the courage and strength to run from temptation and resist the enemy’s attempts of deception in my life. Thanks for Your Word that guides each of us when directions seem unclear. In the name of Jesus, amen.
Now it's Your Turn
· Is there something you are trying to hold on to that God has been nudging you to throw away? Consider obeying Him today and trusting that HIS plan for you is even better than your plan for you.
· Is there a temptation in your life that you are flirting with? If so, run in the opposite direction – heed the warnings of the Holy Spirit in your heart – and pray that God would strengthen you in your areas of weakness.
· Have you given in to temptation? Do you need to confess it right now? God is waiting with arms of grace open wide.
I’m living proof that God can use anyone. Sadly, I’ve made some extreme mistakes in my life and have failed Him countless times. But the hope here is that no matter what we have done or what mistakes we have made, God can restore us and use us for His purpose. I hope you know that today.
For more on today’s topic see Gwen’s CD, Because
Girlfriends in God, Inc.
Originally published Friday, 06 October 2006.