Read Judges 16:1-20
But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. Genesis 4:7
Like a loving parent, God wants our hearts and minds protected. When we interpret life’s challenges as God’s neglect and our unmet desires as God’s withholding, we distance ourselves from Him, become our own protectors, and satisfy our desires in our own way. In doing this, like Sampson, we cut the relational strands that unite us with God.
Sampson cared more about sex than God’s desire to free His people or his own freedom over sin. What started as visits to enemy vineyards end up in Sampson’s sleeping with the enemy.
Sampson’s life teaches us that God’s sheep should not be living in the pig pen. There are dangerous places that moms don’t let their kids visit, play, or stay. Once our thinking is off, so follows our behavior. Sampson began his descent by placing himself in a lifestyle of temptation. By giving into his lusts and desires, godly character never developed. As a result he was eventually drained of any strength or ability to resist temptation, and was captured and imprisoned by the enemy.
It’s easy to believe that our thoughts and actions are far from Sampson’s cesspool thinking and lifestyle. Those were my thoughts until my husband presented a plan for investing a sum of money. Concerned about the current shaken economy, I began to pray asking God if this was a wise investment plan. Instead of receiving guidance on investing, I sensed God was targeting a heart issue, namely did I trust Him. I realized my mind was lodging a visitor…worry also known as fear.
I find myself sleeping with the enemy anytime I allow my mind to repeatedly dwell on the injustices I’ve experienced. This includes repeatedly turning over and over in my mind offensive or hurtful words spoken by others or actions of others carried out against me. I’m sleeping with the enemy when I’m unable to release thoughts of regret, guilt, and shame. Oh how I hate the enemy repeat thought cycles with their shouldas, wouldas, if onlys, and why didn’t I. These harlots of the mind imprison and rob me from the peace and freedom Christ purchased.
Although Christ purchased our freedom, living free isn’t easy and doesn’t come without a battle. The negative thoughts that breed ugly emotions need to be resisted. Injustices come, think about Joseph’s life, but God uses them to develop godly character in us.
Christ came to save sinners. Calvary alone makes us saints, not our behaviors. Your sins don’t disqualify you from His love, they identify your need for it and for His forgiveness and empowerment to equip you to conquer sin.
When enemy thoughts come, determine to follow God’s instructions for thinking identified in Philippians 4:8. Redirect destructive thinking by redirecting your thoughts to:
- Whatever is true (thinking on the truth is thinking on Jesus, who is the truth)
- Whatever is noble (exalted moral or mental character, admirably high quality, excellent)
- Whatever is right (thinking about what is fair and just)
- Whatever is pure (thoughts free of contamination)
- Whatever is lovely (that which is charmingly, exquisitely, or morally beautiful, a beauty that appeals to the heart and mind)
- Whatever is admirable (things worthy of praise or approval that deserve a good reputation)