What can we learn from Samson’s story about self-control? So often we are tempted to give up what we really want in the future for what feels good now. How can we look to God in these times instead of ourselves, so that we can exhibit the last fruit of the Spirit, self-control?Support the show (https://www.centralaz.com/Give)
Well, welcome everyone to central. So glad that you're here. And my goodness y'all look very good. Give yourselves a hand. I must say, y'all look really good this morning. I'll tell you what, I'll tell you what my name is Tyler and the young adults, pastor for central, and just honored to share the message with you guys today.
[00:00:17] And we're closing out our credentialed life series, this summer series, looking at the fruit of the spirit. We're going to dive right into. And this is the scripture that we've been reading every single week, kind of starting us off. It's Galatians 5 22 and 23 says this, but the holy spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives.
[00:00:37] Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control. There is no law against these things. Now we're closing out our series today. So we're taking the last one and that is. Control self-control I don't know if you're you got this one figured out you're really good at self-control, but I truly believe we can learn a lot today and we're going to be in the book of judges.
[00:01:03] So if you have your Bible, feel free to grab that. If it's on your phone, your tablet would have you make sure to go to judges. And I'm going to actually explain a little bit about the book of judges. Now, the book of judges comes it's the seventh book of the Bible. You have the first five, that's the Pentateuch, that's the Torah, the law all written by Moses.
[00:01:22] Then there's Joshua and Joshua was, was the successor of Moses. And so the walls of Jericho, all of that leading the Israelites. And then we find ourselves in the book of judges. Don't think of judges like a courtroom judge, Joe Brown, judge Judy, not judges like that. Okay. These are political figures that have been chosen by God to oversee the people of Israel.
[00:01:45] Now in this season for the Israelites, I mean, there's some judges here that did pretty good. Some judges that were pretty bad and they honestly just continue to sin. God, and they actually were oppressed by others. Enemies of God. I'm just going to give you some context of the entire book of judges, because the culmination of it is found in just the very last line.
[00:02:08] This is judges 2125 says this in those days, Israel had no king and all the people did, whatever seemed right in their own eyes. Okay. If that gives you some context of how they lived their life, that was exactly what was. They just chose to do whatever they wanted to do. And there were the Philistines and they were being oppressed by them at this point in time.
[00:02:32] Now we're going to be jumping into in judges. Now, the judge that we're going to look at today is Samson. Now, I don't know what comes to your mind when you think of Samson and maybe be like, oh, that's like the whole of the Bible. And just like really strong. And you know, if you can picture him, he kind of looks like nothing like this, but I mean, just really, you know, big and strong and whatnot.
[00:02:51] And he's one of the. Of Israel. And we're going to actually look at his early life, how it all came about. Now, this is in chapter 13, verse one says this again, the Israelites did evil in the Lord's sight. And so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines who oppressed them for 40 years. In those days, a man named Manoah from the tribe of Dan lived in the town of Zuora.
[00:03:18] His wife was unable to get. And they had no children. The angel of the Lord appeared to Manoa's wife and said, even though you have been unable to have children, you will soon become pregnant and give birth to a son. So be careful, you must not drink wine or any other alcoholic beverages. You must not eat any forbidden food.
[00:03:36] You'll become pregnant and give birth to a son. And his hair must never be cut for. He will be dedicated to God as a Nazarite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistine. So this is Samson's calling even before birth. He set aside as a Nazarite to do incredible things for God. He has so much purpose right here.
[00:03:58] Right now. An angel actually comes to his moms and says, this is what's going to happen. This is incredible. Now as a Nazarite, you can't cut your hair, you can't drink wine. You can't touch anything. Unclean. This is what you must do to be a. Now we see Samson kind of decides to do his own thing, and that's just who he is.
[00:04:19] And you might be saying, why would we be talking about Samsung when it comes to self-control? Well, he's the poster child for someone that's terrible at it. Okay. His lack of self control is outrageous. And so we're going to find ourselves in chapter 14. Now, verse one, Samson has grown. Now he's a young man, and this will be.
[00:04:40] One day Samsung was in Timnah. One of the Philistine women caught his eye. When he returned home, he told his father and mother, a young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her, go get her for me. Okay. Samson, his father and mother objected isn't there. Anyone in our tribe of the Israelites that you could marry, they ask, why must you go to the Philistines to find.
[00:05:05] But Samson told his father go get her for me. She looks good to me. Okay. That's how Samson rolls, I guess. And so they did just that he goes over there and he's on his way to meet her. And he gets attacked by a lion. Okay. And I kid you not, you know, scripture says that the spirit of the Lord came upon him and he ripped, he had all the strength.
[00:05:27] He ripped the jaw of the light in half. Just go whoosh, lion's dead. He goes about his business. So he finds this gal. He likes her everything's going good. And then we'll pick up verse eight later, he returned to Timnah for the wedding. He turned off the path to look at the carcass of the lion and in the lion, he found a swarm of bees that had made honey in the carcass.
[00:05:53] He scooped out some of the honey into his hands and ate it along. That's just nasty. Okay. That's gross. Like let's be real. Okay. You can't make this stuff up now as a Nazarite you are not supposed to do that. You're not supposed to touch anything. Unclean. He's just going about as busy he's like, oh yeah. I remember that lion that I killed.
[00:06:12] That was cool. I want to go look at the deadline, like, okay man. And then he sees this honey in there. He scoops it out, starts eating it and he's not supposed to touch anything. Unclean, no corpse, no dead bodies. No, nothing. But Samson just does what Samson wants to do. He sees it and he acts upon it. That is just who he is.
[00:06:34] A former professional football player talk show host and author Emmanuel Ocho has an incredibly wise. And side note, his brother, Sam Ocho. He also was a professional football player. He's currently a sports analyst and he's actually speaking at our men's conference, elevate that weekend in, in October.
[00:06:53] Make sure you register for that. It's going to be incredible. Okay. So here's the quote. The reason why most people fail is because they're willing to trade what they want most for what they want. Now, let me say that again. The reason why most people fail is because they're willing to trade what they want.
[00:07:11] For what they want now, man, I wish Samson understood this quote. I wish he, you know, applied this to his life early on, because so much of what Samson did. He just forfeited his calling for what? A gal for some gross honey. I mean, he just said, no, I'm gonna actually going to do this. The purpose that the plan, what would I want most, I'm actually going to trade that for what I want.
[00:07:41] And it's easy for us to criticize. Sam sent to look at him and say, look at all these things that he did do that he didn't do. This was not okay. And it's easy to do that because he made many, many mistakes. He failed time and time again, but we actually do the same thing. We trade what we want most for what we want right now.
[00:08:01] And there's a few things in our lives. That few areas that we do this in, let's just start with. Health. Okay. Health. We all know we should be healthy. We all know that we should be, you know, somewhat fit and, you know, exercise, get the blood flow in and everything like that, that we're around for our kids or around for our grandkids, you know, that were in good health.
[00:08:24] Like we understand that that's a good thing to do to eat right. But donuts. I mean, come on. Right? Like donuts, I mean, sprinkle a little bit of bacon bits on a maple bar. Let's go. I mean, seriously. Okay. But like we trade what we want most and we understand health is a good thing, but they were like, but I want that now.
[00:08:44] Like have you ever had stuff, Chris pizza? I mean, that is straight from Jesus. That's good stuff. Okay. Oreos, you put them in the milk. I just let my Oreo sink down to the bottom of the cup and then drink it. Sorry. That's a confession. I'm vulnerable, but that's real. I know it might be gross. It's delicious.
[00:09:00] Try it. But anyways, we forego on all of those things of what we want most for what we want. Now. What about finances? What our finances. We know we should save money. We know we should be generous. We know we should help pay for our kids to go to college. All these things, we able to buy things and provide.
[00:09:19] We know that that's a good thing to do that we manage our finances, that we steward everything well, but shoes, I could just buy a lot of shoes right now, you know, and they're online and they're on sale. So I got to get them now, like shipping is free. I got to get it now. And we just say, well, these shoes, I really like these shoes.
[00:09:38] I get that. I should save money. I get that. I should have this and be generous and, and whatnot. And like, yeah, I get that. I'll be broke later. But right now I got good shoes. Right. Well, we want most, we so many times trade for what we want right now. What about relationships? Right. We want good relationships with people.
[00:09:57] Maybe you're looking for that spouse and you want to have an incredible relationship and all of that, but you date someone new every day. You're like, yeah, that's not working out. And you're just like, well, I want this now. And let's do this. Let's do that. But what most we trade for what we want now. Now I'm the young adults pastor.
[00:10:17] So I got to talk about studying or I'll study, right? You're like, yes, I got to do great in school and get good grades and get a good job and get my master's and all of that. But when it comes to actual studying, like I could play video games instead. That would be nice. Just play some video games procrastinate.
[00:10:35] Maybe I'll pray for that a one day, right on test day. And then I'll be okay. Everything we find. And we realized, oh, I probably need to actually study. That's what I want most, but I find myself getting kicked out of school because I just forgot to study. And this was playing video games. We do this all the time.
[00:10:55] And why is it, why do we do this? What simple temptation is the enemy of self control. Temptation is the enemy of self-control. Paul puts it this way in Romans. I don't understand myself for what I want to do. Right. But I don't do it instead. I do what I hate. He says, I know what's right, but I never do that.
[00:11:24] I do what I hate. Why do we do this? Well, the focus is on ourselves. If we're speaking like this, right. I mean, honestly the biggest temptation is to make life all about ourself. To make it all about me, all about me. And so truly this is what happens. We end up worrying about the wrong stuff. We're so fixated.
[00:11:46] We're so focused on not messing up and keeping myself in check and understanding self control enough to where I got to figure out how to be good. I gotta be good enough and do this and do that. We ended up messing up. We end up failing because our focus is on ourselves. That's not our calling. Our calling is to abide is to remain.
[00:12:10] John 15 four. These are the words of Jesus remain in me. And I will remain in you for a branch, cannot produce fruit. If it is severed from the vine and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. How do you have the fruit of the spirit in your life? You have to remain in Jesus.
[00:12:34] Now let's pick up on our story of Sam. Now at this point in time, you know, Philistines, bad guys, Israelites, good guys. And God has called Samson to overtake the Philistines and he does a few cool things, has a few cool victories and battles. He literally kills a thousand Philistines. Jaw bone of a donkey.
[00:12:57] Okay. That's pretty wild. And he kind of beats his chest about it and he's like, I'm the man. I got this. He's ripped off huge doors of a city. Samson's just doing his thing. Okay. Now he's also gotten mixed up with this gal named Delilah. Start in that point here, just a moment and Delilah, see the Philistines have gotten to her and they said, Hey, we're going to pay you money.
[00:13:18] If you can figure out the secret to Samson's strength, because we can subdue him, we can overtake him and we'll stop killing our people and things will be good. Okay. So the Laila wears him down and he finally shares his secret. We find ourselves verse 17, chapter 16. Finally Samson shared the secret with her.
[00:13:38] My hair has never been cut. He confessed. If I was dedicated to God as a Nazarite from birth, let's pause there. This is the first time we see in scripture, the story of Samson that he admits that he's been dedicated by God, that he is a Nazarite that he has been chosen by God. He finally says, this is who I have always been.
[00:14:05] He says, if my head was shaved, my strength be gone, it would leave me. And I would become as weak as anyone else Delilah realized he had finally told the truth. So we said, so she said for the Philistine rulers, come back one more time. She said free finally has told me the secret. So the Philistine leaders returned with the money in their hands, Delilah with the money.
[00:14:27] She load Simon, Samson to sleep with his head in her lap. Then she. Then she called and Amanda shaved off the locks of hair in this way. She began to bring him down and his strength left him. Then she cried are Samson. The Philistines have come to capture you when he woke up, he thought I will do, as I've done before I will shake myself free, but he, I didn't realize the Lord had already left him.
[00:14:53] So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes. Then they took him to Gaza where they bound him with bronze chains and forced him to grind grain in the prison. But before long, his hair started to grow back.
[00:15:15] What breaks my heart here? The fact that Sampson didn't even realize the Lord had left him. That's how distant he had become with God. He didn't even realize his strength was gone because he was not close with God. The tragedy of all of this is that Samson was chosen by God, but did not abide in God and watch this catch this it's it wasn't that Samson kept losing control of himself.
[00:15:43] It's that he was losing closeness.
[00:15:48] He was losing closeness with God. It wasn't that he was just not able to control himself. And what kept tripping him up? How come he kept messing up? What was it with Samson that he kept on failing? What was it? It was his eyes. It was his eyes. Right. The woman caught his eye. She looks good to me. He went and looked for the lion carcass.
[00:16:15] He saw the honey scooped it out. It was all about what he saw, whatever he saw, he acted upon right then right there. And what did the Philistines take from him? Scripture tells us that they gouged out his eyes, such a gruesome act. I wish I had a visual, like I need an illustration to, let me, let me see.
[00:16:39] Let me check. What do I got? Oh, perfect. No way. That's amazing. Wow. I tell you what, I don't know why his ears gone, but anyways, um, they gouged out his eyes, right? They're gone. Samson's blind. They took his eyes. And as we close out with the story of Samson, we see he's now. He's blind. There's this huge festival that's going on 3000 Philistines are there.
[00:17:19] Sampson talks to one of the servants and he says, can you kind of post me up near these pillars? And then Samson does something he's never done before we catch up verse 28, then Samson prayed to the Lord. It's the first time recorded that we even see him praying to God. One time. He cried out to God for some water.
[00:17:43] He was really thirsty after killing a bunch of people, but it was all just about himself off what he could get from God. It was never a prayer. Just to talk with God Simpson, pray to the Lord Sarvis. Sovereign Lord. Remember me again? Oh God. Please strengthen me one more time with one blow. Let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two.
[00:18:07] Then Samson put his hands on the two center pillars that held up the temple, pushing against them with both hands. He prayed, let me die with the Philistines and the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he ended up killing more people when he died than when he had his entire life.
[00:18:29] Another way of saying that God used him more in this last final act of this selfish act. Then throughout his entire life. Wow.
[00:18:44] Samson finally remembered who he was. He finally remembered whose he was, that he was called that he was chosen, that he had a purpose and, and they took his eyes the first time Samson could actually see God was when he was. When he was stripped away of everything that caused him to stumble. And he was in a state where he could be humble.
[00:19:13] He was positioned, have a selfless act and do something for the glory of God and not just himself. Samson, finally, God, he finally understood. He finally realized he could do nothing without God. This time he displayed self controls. When he realized it wasn't about him, he has a moment. Clarity. We all need that moment.
[00:19:40] We all need to be able to see how God sees us.
[00:19:46] Couple of weeks ago, I went on vacation. I took my two little boys. I have a one-year-old and a three-year-old. My wife was on another vacation with some of her friends, some for gals. And I went to Idaho where my parents live. And so I literally went on a flight with a one-year-old and a three-year-old and just me.
[00:20:01] I don't recommend it. Okay. Feel free to ask me afterwards. I'll tell you all the horror stories anyways. We get there and it was a great time. It was so fun. But my oldest, my three-year-old realized, oh, mommy's not here. It's just dad. And so he decided to test me. He pushed all my buttons. He was going crazy.
[00:20:20] This guy was terror. Okay. I was like, who are you? What happened? Like, I feel like he was possessed. Like he would just, was really going for it. And this one time at bedtime, I was trying to get him to like go to bed. And he was just going nuts, throwing his clothes everywhere, throwing his toys. I was like, what.
[00:20:36] This is crazy. He was trying to break me that night. Okay. He was really drying. And so finally he ends up hitting me and I'm like, oh no, no, no, no, not today. You don't hit dad. That's not okay. Okay. He's allowed to hit anybody. I was like, this is not, this is not a thing. So I take him. One of the guest rooms.
[00:20:53] And I started disciplining him and timeout, all this is happening. And my parents were like, you got this. I'm like, I don't got this in any ways. We're there. And I'm like, Evan, Evan's what's wrong, man. What's going on? He's just like freaking out. And he's on, he sit on the bed and I got my knees down. I'm kneeled over the bed and there's this huge mirror in there.
[00:21:11] And one of those floor mirrors and he's just mad. He's just like foam at the mouth mad. I'm like, I don't know what's going on here. And the mirror was behind me. But he could see out of the side, he could see himself in the mirror, how he looked towards me and the distance there was between himself and myself and something clicked.
[00:21:41] He starts crying. It's a little heart starts to break. Cause he realized this. I don't, I don't like what I see. So we had a decision. He had a choice to make, I could keep doing this. I could keep trying to control everything or I could just get close to my dad. So he just literally jumped this leaped into my arms and just squeezed around my neck starts crying.
[00:22:05] I'm so sorry, dad. I love you. I'm so sorry that I'm so sorry. I love you. I love you. He's crying. He's crying like snot. And I'm crying and I'm like Evans. It's okay. It's okay. And he goes, dad, dad, dad, you don't understand. I go, what do I understand? He goes, I saw myself in the mirror and I didn't like what I saw.
[00:22:23] I said he had a moment of clarity and he realized I need to stop trying to figure everything out myself. I need to just be close with my dad. And he was like a perfect angel. The rest of the. Because he realized I never want to do that again. That did not look good.
[00:22:52] So church close out this message. We can either let our sinful nature called the shots or the spirit of God, depending on which one we choose, the results are clear, and this is why self-control. Has nothing to do with yourself, but everything to do with Jesus might seem counterintuitive. How can self-control not have anything to do with yourself?
[00:23:22] It does. It has everything to do with Jesus, who he is. Ultimately every fruit of the spirit has nothing to do with us and it's everything to do with Jesus. We can't keep focusing on chasing the. And saying, yeah, I gotta be really good at love and joy and peace and patience and kindness and goodness and faithfulness and gentleness and self control.
[00:23:42] No, no, no. We need to let the spirit, it lead us. We need to remain in him. The fruit will follow. I guarantee it will be our credential. My prayer is that when people describe Christians, they use these words, not because we're chasing after those words, but we're in close proximity with Jesus and the spirit is working through us and people understand there is something different about them.
[00:24:17] Those are credentials. And let me leave you with the best news. This is the best news and the pressure is off. We realize that Jesus has done all of the heavy lifting. This is the verse right below the one that we've talked about each every week, Galatians 5 24 says this, those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their passions and desires of their sinful nature to the cross and crucified them.
[00:24:53] Crucified them there. We can either follow our sinful nature or Jesus, how the holy spirit leads us. And because there were crucified there and Jesus was on the cross dying for you. And for me covering all sin of all mankind, past present, future sin. And when he said it is finished, he meant it. He meant.
[00:25:16] He said it is finished. Death has no more sting. We become overcomers. This is huge for us. We get to live this life or being led by this, the spirit. This is the life that people will say. Okay. Something's different about them.
[00:25:35] I have purpose. I have been chosen. You've been chosen. You've been. To live this life being led by the spirit, not going back into the sinful nature and saying, Ooh, I'm gonna try this and I'm gonna do this. You don't got to worry about trying to make yourself good enough. God is all ready, paid the price by sending his son for you.
[00:25:56] For me, he's already paid the price. Come on. Somebody he's already paid the price. He's already done it for you. So we get to live. These lives, this credentialed life, living in the city.
[00:26:13] People will say, man, something happened to those people that were at that series, that credentialed life series, those nine weeks something's going on in the valley because central said, yep, we're going to lean into this. Not by anything I'm trying to do, but by remaining in Jesus, that's why self-control has nothing to do with your.
[00:26:39] But everything to do with Jesus. So I encourage you. Stay close to him. Let's pray. God. You're good. God, thank you for your love. Thank you for your grace. Thank you for making a way for us, that we can live. These lives, the life that you have bought the life that you have paid for, you took our place. Took on our shame, our guilt, our pain, you died for us and you rose again.
[00:27:15] So we could live, let us live this life being led by your spirit and let the fruit of our life be evident to all around us so people can see you through us. We love you. God, we give you all the glory all the honor, all the praise in this place. And everyone said in Jesus name. Amen. Love you.