Flee and Pursue

The book of Judges tells us the story of Samson, a man of incomparable strength. He tore a lion apart with his bare hands, caught 300 foxes, slew 1,000 men with the jawbone of an ass, tore the gates from the city wall, pulled down the pillars that held up a vast house, thereby killing 3,000 people, and had a weakness for women.

Chapter fourteen tells us that his first wife deceived him, enticing him with tears for seven days, until he finally gave in. I can’t imagine my husband letting me get away with that now, but I do remember using that method of manipulation a few times myself during the early years of marriage. Again in chapter sixteen, we read about yet another woman, Delilah, who for the love of money, sought out to discover the source of his strength.

And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death; that he told her all heart. —Judges 16:16-17a

The story of Samson who’s secret to strength was that of his hair, may well typify the power we have when God is on our head, but I see that it also illustrates the power that persistence holds to weaken our strength. Even the strongest of men become weak when faced with temptation time and again.

Speaking of which, my sister and I did a pretty good job of weakening the strength of our parents. This is probably why our family was familiar with the “222” tablet. 222 was like an aspirin with a shot of caffeine—great for headaches. My mom would pop one of those in her mouth, and my sister and I could pull each others hair out all day. And yes, we usually did, which is probably why Mom and Dad were well stocked.

I have a 222 for you today too, but instead of popping this one in your mouth, pop it into your thoughts:

2 Timothy 2:22, Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

That verse stands out to me, because of the 2-fold solution if offers in fighting temptation:

  1. Flee
  2. Pursue

If only Samson had a bottle of those resting by his bedside, he might have fled from the women who persisted to trap him, and pursued a woman strong in faith and devotion.

Are you fleeing the habits that have caused you weight gain? Have you stopped strolling down the potato chip isle, put the chocolates out of site, and cut down on cola?

Good, and while you’re doing all of that fleeing, I hope that you also vigorously pursue better choices as well.

It’s about balance. ie. Here’s what I’m giving up… Here’s what I’m adding in…

If an alcoholic quits drinking, but doesn’t join a support group, cling to the Lord, or make drastic life changes that will keep her on track, she’s walking alone on a slippery slope. Fleeing is only half of the solution, pursuing is the other.

Likewise we need to pursue better choices if we hope to make lifestyle changes. Pursue the rich things in life such as goodness, love, knowledge, self-control, perserverance, and above all, a Christ-like character. All things that nurture our Spirit.

That’s where we’ll find the source of our power—that’s where we’ll find our strength!

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. —2 Peter 1:5-7

©2008, Darlene Schacht

*We advise that you always consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program.

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