Search and Rescue

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” – Luke 15:8-10.

World famous Cellist, Yo-Yo Ma, had just finished playing a concert at Carnegie Hall. He took a cab, placing his cello in the trunk. The cello, made in 1733 by Antonio Stradivari was worth approximately $2.5 million. The taxi driver who took him to the hotel after a performance, pulled away from the curb with the instrument still in the trunk. What followed — an all-points search for the rare instrument — was CIA type stuff. After three nerve-racking hours, the cello was safely returned.

We all misplace things. Glasses. Keys. The shopping list you just had in your hand. But everything changes when what you have misplaced or lost track of has great value to you. If you really value something, you will look for it until you find it. I’m sure Yo-Yo Ma was freaking out wondering if an irreplaceable cello would ever be found.

The woman in Luke 15 has 10 coins, which are worth about 10 day’s wages. To her, each coin is quite valuable. We can imagine the heart of this woman skipping a beat and her gasping with shock when she learns the coin is missing. Has she mislaid it or dropped it? Has someone taken it? Where could it be? She must find that coin. The search is on. She looks through one area and then she looks again. She looks all over the floor, under the mats, even in the pottery vessels. Then when she is starting to panic, she sees a small glimmer. There it is. She picks up the coin and a smile crosses her face. She looks at the coin and says,“I thought you were gone, never to be found.”

When you read these three parables, you realize just how inclusive God is. He loves not only the righteous, but also the unrighteous. He loves not only the respectable who have never really strayed away, but also the rebels, those who have thumbed their nose at God and wandered away. God is passionately concerned for each one of us, whatever we may have done. The good news is that although we maybe lost, we are never lost from the love of God.

We in turn should be equally passionate for the lost – as God gave His all for us, so we too should give our all to others. We as a church exist not to meet the needs of its members, but rather to meet the needs of those who never darken it’s doors. We need to be shepherds for the 99 and evangelists to the one. Think about in terms of how you respond to newcomers to the church. In the light of this parable we should be more concerned about speaking to newcomers than speaking to our friends. Are we?

Think about this parable in terms of how much effort you go to, to invite friends and neighbors to church: for this parable is not about allowing people to join us, but rather being pro-active and going out and inviting people to come and be part of God’s family.

This parable encourages us in God’s singular devotion to loving mankind enough to go searching for the lost. These three parables reveal God as a searching Father, looking for the lost, actively seeking them, and rejoicing when they are found.

As the church, we are called to be a part of the search and rescue team for those who are far from the heart of God. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What things are you passionate about?
  2. What was Jesus’ passion?
  3. What does it mean to have a passion for the lost?
  4. Pray and ask God to prepare our non-Christian friends to hear about Jesus. Pray about who to invite to church this week.

Lost and Found

“So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.” – Luke 15:3-6.

There was a song written by Joni Mitchell called Big Yellow Taxi which included the lyrics: “Don’t it always seem to go. That you don’t know what you’ve got. Till it’s gone.” It seems that when we lose something the value is intensified. When we lose something, we seem to value it more.

I don’t know what you are like when you lose something. But my guess is that if you lost something of great value, then you would want to find it again. Perhaps a favorite piece of jewelry, or a precious family heirloom, or a child. If you have lost a child, even for a few seconds, you know the anxiety and panic that grips you.   

In the three parables of Jesus in Luke 15, something of great value was lost. A sheep, a coin, a son. The sheep was valuable to the owner. It represented economic value, it was part of the owners livelihood, essential for his income and provision. So finding that one sheep was a risk worth taking. The coin was valuable to the woman. One silver coin may seem to us a modest sum, but who knows what her net worth was. That coin may have represented a tenth of her estate. The son was valuable to his father. I don’t think we need to say anything more about how precious children are to their parents.

We do not have to look to deeply into this passage to see what Jesus is getting at here. Something of great value was lost. Every person is precious in God’s sight, they are of value to him, they matter to Him. And because they matter to Him, they matter to us.

Do you remember the criminals on the cross: “Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left.” (Luke 23:32-33)  One criminal mocked Jesus: ”…So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!” (Luke 23:39) But the other asked to be remembered: “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)  Jesus assured him that he was valuable and that they would meet up later in paradise.  Lost people, even bad people matter to God. I guess the question to ask is just how much do they matter to us.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why were “sinners” attracted to Jesus? Why did the Pharisees object to Jesus associating with sinners? How do see this happening in our world today? In other words, what are some people groups and places that Christians might be criticized for being with or going to?
  2. How do these parables surprise our notions about God? How do these parables surprise our notions about lost people? How do these parables surprise our notions about ourselves? 
  3. How do we attract “sinners” in the right way? 

Everybody Matters

Then God said, “Let us make human beings[a] in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth,[b] and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” – Genesis 1:26-28. 

People matter to God. Just look at the details that went into making us reflected in Genesis 1:26-28. We see that God made us in his own image. That means we reflect God somehow – when you look at someone, anyone, you see an idea of who and what God is. A desire to love and be loved, an ability to create, the gifts of imagination and so much more. We have been tarnished and battered by sin, but that does not alter the fact that each and every person you and I come into contact with bears the image of God upon them. Bill Hybels, pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago, said, “You’ve never locked eyes with anyone who does not matter to God.”

Psalm 139: 13-16 tells us: “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

Not only did people matter to God in the beginning and during David’s time – they still do. God is with us, all of us, and we matter to Him. Jesus Christ didn’t die on the cross for church budgets, church programs, church attendance figures, technology or sound systems. Jesus didn’t die on the cross for the number of satellites, or cutting edge programs or parking-lot size.

Jesus died on the cross for people. People who attend the church and people who do not. For you and me and for the people we struggle to like. It was the value that God places on people which drove Jesus to the cross and which kept him there through all the pain and suffering that was involved. People matter to God.

I believe God is asking Northstar to continue to make room for more people, to reach beyond our walls and accept all kinds of people. God wants us to strengthen our foundations, but lengthen our ministries to reach the world around us.

This is the purpose of the church. This is why we do what we do at Northstar. God’s heart is for the lost and for the coming generations. The reason we need to be concerned about church growth is because people matter to God. That is the reason we don’t pull back and say we are large enough. To say that is to say we don’t care about those outside of our church. Because we do care – we want to win more people to HimWe do this because people matter to God and they matter to us. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Read John 3:16 and 2 Peter 3:9. How do these verses reflect God’s heart for people?
  2. How did this message change your perspective of how much people matter to God?
  3. Pray this week that God would give us new ideas and new strategies to reach the lost in our area. Pray for people in our communities to come to put their faith and trust in Jesus.

Faith, Flaws and Folly: Samson Series Summary

“How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight.” – Hebrews 11: 32-34.

Ask someone who was the strongest man in the Bible and the likely answer will be “Samson.” And why not. After all, I can’t see a 98 pound weakling killing 1,000 men in hand-to-hand combat armed with only the jawbone of a donkey, A weak person could not rip a lion’s jaws apart with his bare hands. Samson was strong and weak at the same time. 

Samson was to be “dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth” (Judges 13:5), yet he continually broke his vow. The Spirit of God came upon him many times, giving him great strength to fight the Philistines. But at the same time Samson had the flaws and folly of a womanizer, a man who sought vengeance, a man with little self-control and a man that constantly took steps away from God. Samson’s life illustrates that giving into temptation leads to sin, and that God will not let us escape the consequences of our sin. 

We can also see how God will use even a sinful man to enact His will. Samson willingly went into situations that led to sin, but each time, God used him for His glory. God created Samson  “to rescue Israel from the Philistines.” (Judges 13:5). Despite Samson’s sin, God’s will would not be thwarted.

Even though God’s will is unstoppable, Samson still experienced the consequences for his sin. When he met Delilah and she begged to know the secret of his strength, and he finally told her. “When she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the Lord had left him.” (Judges 16:20). He had gained confidence from previous violations which appeared to have gone unpunished, but his continual willful disobedience had reached an end and he had to face the consequences of his actions.

The lessons we can learn from Samson’s life are that if we willingly and repeatedly walk into temptations which lead to sin, we will suffer the consequences of our disobedience even though God still uses us to accomplish His will. In the end, Samson understood the true source of his strength, but he never understood his true purpose. God’s will was done, but the many blessings Samson might have seen were never realized.

Samson made mistakes. However, he did eventually yield to God’s great purpose for his life and finished his life praying for God’s help to accomplish it. We can learn from both his mistakes and from what he did right.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the one thing that sticks out to you from the Samson series?
  2. What thing in your life would you change after hearing this series?
  3. What does this series teach you about God’s providence?
  4. What can you do this week to push down the pillars in your life that are inhibiting the work of God? “

A Pillar of Strength

“The Philistine rulers held a great festival, offering sacrifices and praising their god, Dagon. They said, “Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!” When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy to us! The one who killed so many of us is now in our power!” Half drunk by now, the people demanded, “Bring out Samson so he can amuse us!” So he was brought from the prison to amuse them, and they had him stand between the pillars supporting the roof.” – Judges 16:23-25.   

It must have been some party. They had reason to celebrate. A formidable enemy was in their clutches. So the Philistines assembled at Gaza, giving praise to Dagon their god. They got liquored up and called for Samson. They wanted entertainment and Samson’s humiliation was the main attraction for the jubilant party-goers. The Bible does not tells us the details, but it would seem that they probably threw things along with insults at Samson. It must have been an enjoyable spectacle for the Philistines, this blind enemy standing before them.   

Samson’s humiliation was cruel, but fitting. It was Samson’s eyes that got him into so much trouble. Samson’s eyes were gouged out. Samson’s strength was used for his own purposes and glory, and now he was powerless to do them harm as he had often done. Samson thought himself invincible; now he was nothing but a subject for ridicule. Samson’s disobedience had finally caught up with him.   

Yet, ironically, Samson seemed to see things more clearly than he had ever seen them before. He then prayed, “Sovereign Lord, remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” God answered that prayer. Samson was positioned in such a way that he was able to exert pressure on both main supports. When these two supporting columns gave way, the entire building collapsed. The roof and supporting beams, along with the 3,000 people standing on the roof, came crashing down upon those assembled below. More Philistines were killed through Samson’s death than he killed during his life.

Have you ever wondered what pillars in your life you need to push down? You’ve got a pillar of pride in your life: “I can handle it.”  Push it down. You’ve got a pillar of anger in your life: “I’m mad at the world;  I’m mad at myself.”  Push it down.  You’ve got a pillar of bad relationships in your life.  So pray and ask God to help you commit to better behaviors. You’ve got a pillar of debt in your life.  Work to reduce it with God’s help. If we want to be closer to God then we need to push down the pillars that get in the way of God’s purposes daily.  

Here’s the first pillar you need to push down: give up your life.  Give it up to the one who has already given up His life for you. Give it up to the one who showed His love for us by dying not just for friends but for His enemies. Give your failures to him and say, “Jesus, forgive me for the things I have done wrong.”  Then you let him lead you.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What pillars exist in your life that need to be pushed down? How do we go about pushing those pillars down?
  2. What talents do we have that God can use in His church?
  3. How can we help others push down the pillars in their lives?
  4. What can we do this week to be more available to God?

Looking Up When You Are Down

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. “We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit.” We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9. (TLB)

The book of 2 Corinthians is basically about trouble, Paul’s physical weakness, and overcoming failure. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 talks about inevitabilities as a Christian: Are we under pressure? Yes. Do we get confused sometimes? Yes. Will we face criticism? Yes. Will we get knocked down sometimes? Yes. 

That’s life, that’s reality, that’s the truth for every follower of Jesus. If you thought anything different, you will eventually see the truth of these statements. Being a Christian doesn’t mean getting a free pass through life. Far from it. We fall short of the mark. But that does not mean we have to stay down when we are down. We need to pick ourselves up. “We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit.”

The 2nd Corinthians passage ends with:“We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.” (TLB) Now those words express the exact thought and meaning of what the Apostle Paul is trying to get across to us. Paul was knocked to the ground many times, but he was never permanently grounded. Through all the trials, struggles and failures God always gave him the strength to get up and get back in the race.

There was a big difference between Paul’s outward circumstances and his inner peace. Outwardly “pressed on every side by troubles,” inwardly “not crushed or broken.” Outwardly “perplexed,” but inwardly “not giving up or quitting.” Outwardly “hunted down,” inwardly “but not abandoned.” Outwardly “knocked down,” but inwardly “being able to keep going.” When faced with defeat, we too can have the inner strength through Christ to turn failure into victory.

Samson at the end of his life had experienced humiliating defeat at the hand of his enemy. Some of us may feel the same as he did. We feel that we failed and as a result were a failure. The good news is that while you may be at the end of your rope, you are not at the end of your hope. You may be down in the deep clutches of remorse, but you don’t have to stay there. Through Christ you can get up again and go on. When we are at our worst, God is at His best. When we are down, God is up. When we can’t, God can. When we are at wit’s end, God begins to work.

The Bible is full of examples. Adam was down, but God lifted him. Jacob was down, but God lifted him. Joseph was down, but God lifted him. Moses was down, but God lifted him. David was down, but God lifted him. Peter was down, but God lifted him. And Samson was down, but God lifted him in the end.

C.S. Lewis had this to say on the subject: “God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality. He knew it already. It was I who didn’t. In this trial He makes us occupy the dock, the witness box, and the bench all at once. He always knew that my temple was a house of cards. His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.” ( A Grief Observed)

Discussion Questions:

  1. When you are down, how do you normally react? 
  2. Is failure the principal reason we are down sometimes?
  3. What can we do this week to to look up when we are down?

The Unknown Fear

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong..” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10.

Why do people fear failure? We view failure as a Waterloo. We see it as the plague of plagues and as the worst thing that could happen to us. Perhaps the greatest problem is we associate failure through the lens of how other people view us. The idea that they may not hold us in high regard can be responsible for us holding back, instead of moving forward.  All because we fear failure.   

As a result, the fear of failure has many people in neutral or paralyzed or playing the game of cover up. We ignore our mistakes and hide our sins because to admit them would be to admit that we are a failure. People don’t get married because they fear the inevitable bumps in the road. Others refuse to tackle a job or take on a responsibility for fear of failure. Still others fail to be generous because they fear the future and its possible failures. But as we learned in the life of Samson, failures can and do happen. And Samson was not alone in that regard. 

When Abraham should have stayed in the land and trusted the Lord, he fled to Egypt because of the drought. And this was by no means the last of Abraham’s failures. Moses, in trying to help his people, ran ahead of the Lord and killed an Egyptian. When David should have been out in the field of battle, he stayed home and committed adultery with Bathsheba and then plotted the murder of her husband. Peter, in spite of his self-confidence and his boast, denied the Lord. 

There is a fundamental pattern and principle here. Sometimes God must engineer failure in us before He can bring about success in us. I want to say something up front. This is not to make excuses for sin or to place a premium on mistakes or failure. This does not mean that a person must fail before they can be a success, but our failures, whether in the form of rebellion or just errors, oversights or good-old-fashioned blunders, can become tools of learning. The point is, we must never think that God cannot use us because of past or present failures.

The bottom line is we can grow through failure if we remember that: First, we are accepted in the Lord on the basis of grace, not our performance. Second, we are human and, as a result, we are not now perfect nor will we ever be. God still has a plan for our lives. And third, God is not through with us yet, and we need to be ready to do His will without fear of failure.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How might someone’s past failures keep them from moving on with their life? How does fear of failure sometimes keep people from doing what they know to be right? Why are people so afraid of failure? Is failure always a bad thing? Why or why not?
  2. Have you ever been afraid to try something new because you were concerned about the possible consequences? When is this kind of fear healthy? When is this kind of fear unhealthy?
  3. What steps do you need to take this week to reduce fear in your life?

Failure Is An Event – Not A Person

If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small. Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.” – Proverbs 24:10-12.

It was Gene Kranz, flight director of Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle missions that was reported to have said, ”Failure is not an option.” Most men would agree with that assessment because men don’t want to fail. Not even once. We want to measure up and be admired, but to do that we have to be successful. Unfortunately, most people who fail end up with regrets, not admiration. This regret takes the form of: “I wish I had” or “I should have done” or “Why didn’t I?” 

Samson was the poster boy for “shoulda coulda woulda.” Samson’s story reminds us that man’s greatest fear is failure, and his greatest pain is regret.  So in life, failure is an event, an occurrence, not a person. No matter how badly you’ve messed up in your life, you probably could not match Samson. Samson failed individually, but he also failed a nation. Most of us will never take down a nation with our failures. But we will fail. To see failure in the light of the Spirit is to let failure contribute to one’s growth in Christ.

The key is to not let the failure define you. And, don’t internalize a failure until it starts to ferment into regret. Own it. Learn from it. Pain can be a great teacher. As C.S Lewis said, “Experience: that most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” Just because you’re down doesn’t mean you’re out. Not by a long shot. Even in our failures, God can still accomplish His purpose. It’s through our weaknesses that He shows himself strong.

When we fail, the important thing is to get up, confess it to God and, where necessary, to the person whom we have hurt, if we have hurt someone, and ask for their forgiveness. Then we need to forgive ourselves as God forgives us, and learn from the experience. Remember, too, it’s not God’s goal to make us good but to make us whole, and the more whole and mature we become, the less we will act out in harmful ways—and the less we will fail.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” (Hebrews 12:11-13)

Discussion Questions:

  1. How did Samson respond to failure? What would you have done differently?
  2. What regrets do you struggle with? How have these regrets affected you and your relationship with Christ?
  3. How have you seen God accomplish His purposes in the midst of your failures?
  4. What steps can we take this week to better deal with our failures?

Near at Hand

“…Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.….” – James 4:5-8.

God puts dreams in our hearts and writes a destiny for our lives. If we trust Him enough, if we have faith, we will find ourselves on a journey toward the fulfillment of that dream. But sometimes that journey is strewn with thickets and thorns. Some of it may not be our doing, but some of it, as was the case with Samson, is our own doing. God allows the path to be difficult because He is intent on refining us to be the person He intends us to be. Unfortunately, in difficult times it is easy to take a few steps away from God.

Samson took more than a few steps. In much of his life’s journey he was doing what he wanted regardless of the fact it was leading him away from God. But what about us? What happens when we are in the desert dying from a lack of thirst? Or when a lion rises up against us? Or when enemies constantly plan our downfall? We often find ourselves at a decision point. Do we trust and lean into God? Or do we take a few steps away?   

The tough times are when we need to step toward Jesus. It was James, the brother of Jesus, who wrote to the believers in Jerusalem, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (James 4:8). If we draw closer to God, he will reciprocate and draw closer to us. Drawing near to God is spending time with Him, worshiping Him, praying and talking to Him, inviting Him into every aspect of our lives. Many times God uses situations and difficulties to get our attention and stimulate our thirst for Him. What appears to be a painful or desperate situation is often His invitation to draw near.

We can fail, as Samson, and still draw closer to God if we seek forgiveness. With an attitude of humble repentance, we can enter into a more intimate relationship with God. However, if we find ways to rationalize and continue doing the same sin, we will inevitably take some steps away from God. Sin always blocks our ability to know the Lord.

If you have allowed weakness or failure to pull you away from God rather than toward Him, it is not too late. Our enemy wants to put as many steps between you and the Lord that he possibly can. Don’t let the enemy win the battle. Instead, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7).

Discussion Questions:

  1. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” What does that promise mean to you? What does it mean in our daily lives?
  2. What causes us to take steps away from God? What causes us to take steps toward God?
  3. How do we draw near to God?
  4. What can we do this week to take a few steps toward God? 

Disobedience Will Eventually Cost You

“The Israelites had traveled in the wilderness for forty years until all the men who were old enough to fight in battle when they left Egypt had died. For they had disobeyed the Lord, and the Lord vowed he would not let them enter the land he had sworn to give us—a land flowing with milk and honey.” – Joshua 5:6. 

If you follow Jesus for any length of time and you seriously pursue a strong relationship, you will eventually have to make a choice: will you follow Him in obedience? There is a cost of following Him, and sometimes that cost can be heavy.

We will all be confronted with the choice to obey, or ignore the opportunity for obedience and take a few steps away from God by compromising or making bad choices. The story of Samson is found in Judges 13-16. Chapter 13 begins with the words, “Again the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight…”  After this, they were oppressed by the Philistines for 40 years. Samson, a natural leader in that day because of his strength, was appointed by God to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines. But over time small missteps led to large consequences leading to Samson’s eventual humiliation. At the end, God forgave Samson for his disobedience, and gave Samson his strength back one last time to defeat the Philistines. The lesson Samson learned the hard way is that disobedience will eventually cost you.

Each of us has probably come to God with hat in hand asking for forgiveness for some act of disobedience, realizing we have no plausible defense nor excuse for our actions/decisions. After all, it is easy to compromise at first. It can even be fun. We will deal with the price tag on our act of disobedience at a later date. But here is the truth. Disobedience is serious business. Whether we disobey with the cost hidden or the price tag in full view, the ultimate consequences will be very real and very experienced.

The cost of disobedience is high. And it will eventually cost you. Many times it is not easy to follow and obey the Word of the Lord, but how much better to suffer for the sake of obedience, than to suffer the consequences of disobedience. “But if we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God in this way. Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:31-32.)

If you have disobeyed the Lord in some area of your life, take the steps needed to restore the relationship. God will always forgive and restore us as He did with Samson. Continuing on in disobedience is a serious mistake in the life of the Christian. Samson “paid the fare” of disobedience, and so will we when we step away from God. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why do you think Samson failed to be Spirit-led in his life?
  2. Led by the Spirit: This is essential to being developed into the person God created us to be. How do you think about the importance of the Spirit’s work in your life? How much of your life do you think you can handle on your own?
  3. The Spirit leads us and shapes us to be more like Jesus so others can see Jesus through us. In what ways does the Spirit lead you?
  4. What can we do this week to let the Spirit shape our character to be more like Jesus?