Wednesday, March 30, 2011

40 Days of Lint, Day Nineteen: While You Were Sleeping

A lot can happen while you’re sleeping. In the movie by that name, Sandra Bullock falls in love with her previous heartthrob’s brother while he is asleep in a coma. Even though he previously had no clue of her affection for him, his family convinces him they should marry. But by the time he sees what a terrific girl she is, it’s too late.

A couple years ago something happened to us while we were sleeping. Someone came and stole thousands of dollars worth of tools out of our work trailer. When the crew showed up, they discovered the broken lock and alerted Kelly. There was a lot of angry stomping around the house that morning! For the next week every time one of them went to grab a tool and found it missing, they boiled all over again.

What would happen, however, if someone stole your most precious possession and you didn’t notice it was missing? What if you woke up and your husband, wife, or kids had been kidnapped, yet you went about your business oblivious of the fact that they were gone? People might question just how much they meant to you in the first place. That’s what happened to Samson:

“With such nagging [Delilah] prodded him day after day until he was sick to death of it. So he told her everything. ‘No razor has ever been used on my head,’ he said, ‘because I have been a Nazirite dedicated to God from my mother’s womb. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as any other man.’
"When Delilah saw that he had told her everything, she sent word to the rulers of the Philistines, ‘Come back once more; he has told me everything.’ So the rulers of the Philistines returned with the silver in their hands. After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. And his strength left him.
"Then she called, ‘Samson, the Philistines are upon you!’
"He awoke from his sleep and thought, ‘I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the LORD had left him.
"Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison” (Judges 16:16-21, author’s emphasis).
While Samson was sleeping, his enemies stole the most precious thing he possessed – the empowering presence of God. He didn’t lose it in that one little nap, though; he’d been giving it away for some time. Samson gloried in his gift of superhuman strength. His long hair symbolized that he had been dedicated to God since birth, but his life did not demonstrate the same dedication. He valued God’s blessing so little that he gave away his secret to a Philistine prostitute. When God left him completely, he didn’t even miss Him.

This can happen to us as well. Several times throughout the Bible we’re told to “wake up.”  Wake up and get to work while we still can (Romans 13:11). Wake up and let Christ shine His light in our lives (Ephesians 5:14). Wake up and revive our dying faith, because Jesus will come like a thief in the night (Revelation 3:2-4).

How can we stay awake? One extremely important step is to set up an alarm system. After our robbery we installed an alarm system. That way if someone comes to steal again, we’ll be alerted to the danger. Making ourselves accountable to godly friends is a great way to keep from falling asleep spiritually. When the enemy tries to sneak up on us, they can sound the alert. Delilah didn’t do this for Samson because she was the enemy! Samson was foolish enough to take naps at her house. She wore him down with nagging then lulled him to sleep while his enemies hid nearby to pounce on him.

Like Samson, we may think what we do in private is hidden, but the truth always comes out in the end. Better to share our struggles with a faithful friend who will alert us to danger, not a worldly influence that will lull us into spiritual slumber. It’s a rude awakening to suddenly realize we’ve pushed God away bit by bit and we’re in enemy hands. The happy ending to Samson’s story is that he cried out and God strengthened him one more time before his death. How much good could he have done in his life, however, if he hadn’t fallen asleep in the first place?

Lint Removed: Sleeping on the Job
Cleaning Process: Protect Your Source of Strength

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