Written by Vinnie Tumia
I didn’t think I would ever learn to ride a bike as a kid. My ego and knees could only handle so many kamikaze crashes. My uncle Bob was my hero. He would run behind me, holding onto my ugly banana seat up and down the road, always speaking encouragement as we went. One time I realized his voice was strangely distant. When I peeked back, he wasn’t there! Boom! He had let go, and I didn’t even know it!
There are times that independence is healthy, and there are times that it is deadly.
“And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.”
Samson had an air of invincibility. In his little world, many times when he was at the bottom of the dog pile he somehow still won. He grew cocky by accepting credit for what God was doing. Samson was a self-centered leader who lost his moral compass. But he had a quick wake-up call.
Samson made his most significant and final compromise when his weakness with women brought him into the lair of deadly seduction. In a moment of self-inflicted vulnerability, he revealed his God-given secret to a sweet talker. Samson fell asleep in the enemy’s lap, and she cut his hair. When he woke up, he found a crowd of Philistines antagonizing him. He rose from the couch, expecting to muscle them as he had in the past (“I will go out as at other times before”).
Because of his past successes, Samson assumed he could live however he wanted, and God would still empower him to victory. However, he quickly discovered that God was not at his beck and call. Samson was so calloused that he didn’t even realize “that the Lord was departed from him”.
While we cannot lose the presence of God as Samson did, we can live outside of His power. Compromises with our sin and weaknesses bring us into the lair of self-reliance. Like Samson, we walk with swagger assuming God is towering behind us to scare off any threats. Then in the most inconvenient moments, we realize our sin has “minimized” His power and masked His presence in our lives.
Our unseen enemy convinces us that we can live in sin and still fully expect God to bless us. Hopefully, we learn from Samson before facing our enemy alone.