10
May

The Making of a Warrior

The church in the midst of a mighty spiritual war, and the world has had enough of wimpy saints. The devil knows his reign of terror is almost over, so he’s doing all he can to discourage God’s people from doing their jobs. He is more aware than some so-called Christians of the nearness of Christ’s return. Millions of souls are at stake. We no longer need mere foot soldiers; it’s time for true warriors to emerge. A warrior isn’t made in boot camp— basic training is the minimum requirement for any good soldier. But the warrior’s heart is revealed in the trenches— or the front lines— in the heat of battle.

We live in perilous times. Our nation cries for men and women of stature, with moral backbone. Modern day Christendom craves true heroes and heroines who will persevere until the Last Victory— warriors in the glorious army of the Risen King. The story of Samson is a powerful study of the making of a warrior (Judges 13-16). Samson had some great strengths, but he also had some disappointing weaknesses. His earning of “warrior” status eventually took him to his death; yet, his life and perseverance continue to hold great lessons for anyone desiring to be a mighty warrior in God’s army.

A Warrior Knows His Strengths And Weaknesses

Now Samson was a man of normal stature. He wasn’t built like Goliath, nine and a half feet tall. Samson was born a normal man from typical parents of the day. And Samson honored his mother and father, as was common in that time. Typically, he demonstrates needs, desires, and passions Samson became hungry and thirsty like ordinary men— and he loved women too. By all outward appearances, Samson was destined to be ordinary, going through life trying to get his needs met.

But God never relies on outward appearances. He made plans to use Samson as a mighty warrior. The message of his birth was hand-delivered to Samson’s mother, who had been barren, by an angel. The angel also told Samson’s mother he would have a special oath to God. “And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a

Nazirite to God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5).

As he grew older, Samson realized his strength lay in keeping the Nazirite vow and in the Spirit of the Lord. He was not to drink wine, take unclean food or cut his hair. Samson also admitted he was able to defeat wild animals with “nothing in his hands.”

When facing an enemy, we come to battle with nothing in our hands that we can bring. As ordinary men and women, our only hope, our strength lies in the power of God. Thankfully, it’s “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 3:9) God can make warriors out of very ordinary people who know the source of their strength. Samson’s power was on a direct hookup to God: “And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him” (Judges 14:6).

We may not have taken the Nazirite vow for special, divine empowerment, but as Christians, we have been blessed with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. He has sent His anointing to yank us out of the ordinary realm and drop us into the extraordinary; yet, Christians must keep their vows to God and rely on His power.

A Warrior Is Always Ready To Fight

I love one thing about Samson, he was always ready to fight. And a good warrior is always ready for a scrape with the enemy. Our enemy, in case you didn’t know already, is the devil— not your husband, your wife, your pastor, or the guy next door. The Bible tells us: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:14).

Samson was not afraid to take on wild beasts. He slew the lion with his bare hands as the spirit of the Lord came upon him (Judges 14:5-6). The Spirit of God gave this ordinary man supernatural strength, and he tore the lion apart. Samson also took on men. Again, the Spirit of the Lord came upon him mightily, and he took out 30 men, 1000 men, and the entire Philistine army. No enemy intimidated this man, because he had confidence in his God.

WhenIwasjustaladinmyfirstyearof high school, I was confronted with the school bully. He was one year older and much taller than I was. Every time he saw me coming, he’d knock my books out of my hand and send them flying all over the hallway. He was so big, I was afraid to fight him. Next time he passed me, the same thing happened. Just like a coward, I said, “Pardon me for running into your hand!”

The bully would laugh and shake his head. I would walk away defeated. If I saw him coming, I’d walk on the opposite side of the hall. It was a sad and frustrating situation. Well, I took that abuse until my junior year— two long years.

One day, I was looking in the mirror, talking to myself. “Schambach, you sure are a good-looking dude. Look at your muscles! You could take that bully.”

“Yeah!” I agreed.

“Next time that bully knocks your books out of your hand, tell him you’ve had enough!”

“Yeah!” I was getting pumped up.

Well, the next day came and on my way to my first class, guess what student I saw coming down the hallway— Mr. Bully. My heart started beating faster and faster. He slowly walked past me. Nothing. Just when I was letting out a long “Wheeeew,” he slapped me from behind alongside my face.

“That’s it. I’ve had it,” I yelled. (Everything within me was saying, “Schambach, shut up.”)

“Well, I’ve been wondering when you’d get the guts to face me, Schambach. It’s about time,” he said.

My heart was pounding, but I didn’t take much time to think. I closed my eyes and swung with all my might. There were two hits— my hitting him and his hitting the floor. What? I couldn’t believe it! All this time, the guy had a glass jaw, and I didn’t know it. I took all that harassment for two long years, and I could have whipped him all along. I had been the victim of intimidation.

Now listen. I am telling you a story about before I was saved. I don’t advocate fleshly violence as a Christian. But, this incident taught me a lesson. I refuse to let the devil intimidate me. He has no power over me. He’s already defeated. My elder brother, Jesus Christ, destroyed him 2000 years ago.

A Warrior Shares His Spoils

Now, what good would a warrior be to his family and friends if he didn’t share the spoils of battle? Winning is not only about the fight— it’s about the victory. After Samson killed the lion, he returned to find a swarm of bees and honey in the carcass of the lion. Samson took some to his mother and father. When Jesus destroyed the enemy, He started distributing honey— the honey of the Gospel— to every one of us. We are children of God. We accepted that honey; we’ve tasted that honey. No wonder the Bible says taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8).

As warriors, we must continue to distribute the sweet Gospel. Take it to your family. God said He would save the household. Don’t let the devil have one member of the family. Don’t’ let the drug culture have the children. Christian warriors have the best trophies to display— people whom they have helped find deliverance from bondage to drugs and alcohol, healing for the body, salvation from sin, and freedom and peace in exchange for oppression. Every time the church doors are open, a true warrior should walk through the doors with a new trophy.

A Warrior Is Disciplined

But herein lies the weakness of Samson. He was strong in his exploits, but weak in his daily lifestyle and service. The first order of boot camp is learning the importance of total submission to authority. Young warriors-in-training must eat, sleep, run, sit, walk, work, and rest at the command of their superior. Following orders to the letter can mean life or death for a soldier and his troop.

Samson had a problem with this. He followed rules half-heartedly. He kept the long hair as part of the Nazirite vow to God, but married a pagan woman and slept with prostitutes. Samson tried to mix the flesh with the anointing.

This sounds familiar. Many churches try to do the same juggling act. “Christians” will go to church and maybe pay their tithes, half-heartedly. But they are still married to the world— one foot in the world and one in the church. They still go places with their worldly friends. They still talk like the world and still have worldly desires. Where is the discipline?

God has laid out the rules in His letter — the Bible. Men of God tell the church members from behind the pulpit what is expected from a warrior of God. A warrior must come out from the world and be separated— “..do not be conformed to this world” (Romans 12:2). “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). It is not an easy path to follow. A warrior in the kingdom must be submissive to authority and must exercise self-control.

Let’s face it. Samson’s problem was his flesh. He loved women— the wrong kind of women. Once the devil finds your weakness, he’ll come at you with both barrels. The Philistines enlisted help from the most beautiful woman they could find— Delilah. What’s your Delilah. The devil knows. Samson did not want a woman from his own people. His father and mother tried to counsel him against it, but those in the flesh do not listen to anyone in the Spirit. Young people think they have to go out to the dance hall or the bar to find a mate. Then they wonder why they have marital problems. Find a spouse in your church— one that is saved, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Ghost.

But Samson gave in to the flesh. He loved the Philistine women. And, Delilah’s goal was to discover the secret to Samson’s strength. His enemies wanted to reduce him back to an ordinary man, and because of a lack of self control, Samson allowed them to do just that. To be a warrior, the flesh must die. Some have to die daily, like Paul. There are many temptations pulling at our flesh — lust, anger, adultery, greed, hatred, and homosexuality. A warrior is self- controlled— or should I say God- controlled— for the sake of victory, but there are too many flesh-dominated Christians. Satan cannot touch Christians strong in the Spirit. If he is able to reduce you to the ordinary man of flesh you once were, he has gained control. All the strength may not be lost at once. The power of God may leave gradually.

The Philistines followed Samson to a harlot’s house. When he left at midnight, he picked up the gates of the city— 3800 pounds— and went 26 miles toting them on his shoulders. The enemy bided their time. All his strength was not yet gone. You don’t lose it all at once. And many Christians have mastered the art of appearing to be on fire for God. But the heart will be discovered eventually.

Samson had been playing around with temptation so long, that he forgot the danger. He finally let his last guard down and told the secret to his strength — for fleshly desires. He woke up one day and shook himself, only to find his strength gone, his eyes gouged out, and his body bound.

When the Church loses its eyesight and can’t see sin, everything goes. Become blinded to the truth, and the devil will not be happy until he can tie you up onto a wheel grinding corn, just like Samson. Many church folks are going around in circles— going around that wheel with Sunday School, morning worship, evening service, women’s missionary meetings, servitude, frying chicken for the bishop. There’s no anointing, no Spirit; just routine. The devil’s got Christians so tied up they can’t do what God has called them to do. Going to church is important; servitude is important— but God has so much more for His warriors to accomplish.

The devil stripped Samson of his strength, his joy, his power, his liberty — he lost it all. Samson had to learn an important lesson the hard way. Warriors must always prepare for the worst. They must not only know themselves; they must know their enemies. Samson relied too heavily on brute force. He underestimated the power of the flesh and the cunning of his enemy. Remember, the enemy doesn’t always come crashing through the front door. Sometimes he sneaks in the back door. Your enemy will never give up. Delilah just kept on working on Samson until she wore him down. She kept asking, enticing, pleading— any trick she could use. The devil’s got a bag of tricks. And he will try every one of them on you. You don’t have to carry it. You are a child of God.

The Holy Ghost is your Security. Through the power of the Spirit, you have wisdom, discernment, and overcoming power. Listen, Christians must prepare for the temptations. Practice seeking God’s wisdom. Keep prayer in your daily life. Read the Word. These tools give the warrior ultimate power over temptation.

A Warrior Gets Back Up After Defeat

Samson was a warrior downed because of his own foolishness. But the story wasn’t over. The last chapter in Samson’s life speaks of the comeback. This is a good lesson for the Church. No matter how far we’ve fallen, there’s always a way back. God knows how to reclaim what is His.

Samson finally became more concerned about the defeat of the enemy and the glory of God than the desires of his own flesh. His flesh was ready to die at last. Physically, Samson was a mere shell of his former self. He was blinded and broken. Emotionally, he was broken as well. But to God, this was only a temporary condition. Samson’s hair was growing back. He was renewing his oath to God and getting ready for a revisitation of God’s Spirit. When the Church is ready to crucify the flesh, we will see a revisitation of the Spirit like never before.

The enemy gave Samson his opportunity. The devil will always slip up and play right into God’s hand. Three thousand Philistines gathered to worship the false God, Dagon. They decided they would make sport of their defeated foe, Samson. (The world points fingers at Christians who have fallen. They count us out. But it’s not over.)

When they brought Samson out, he was strategically placed between two pillars — the pillars that supported the entire temple. Samson was in tune with God when he positioned himself with his hands on the pillars. He cried out one last time for God’s strength. God rewarded Samson. As the Spirit again came on Samson mightily, he pushed down the pillars and the entire temple, killing all the people in it, including himself. “So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life” (Judges 16:30).

The devil might have knocked some Christians down, but the Church is not out of the fight. Take the mandatory eight-count and get back into the fight. The last chapter has not been read. The Church is coming back. As a warrior, Christians can challenge the power of Satan. The demons will cower when a warrior uses Christ’s name. When a soldier has received the power to put the devil where he belongs.

I spent five years with a man of God by the name of A.A. Allen. When he cast out devils, I watched and learned. Then one day, he told me it was my turn. A woman came into the tent that had had a demon cast out before. But if a soul is not filled with the Holy Ghost, the Bible says the demon will go back into the same spiritual house and take with him seven more spirits more wicked than himself. When this woman returned, she had company.

I prepared for battle— took her into the prayer tent with 12 preachers and 10 singers. I laid hands on that woman and prayed like Brother Allen did. I stood like Brother Allen did. The devil spoke through the woman: “We are not coming out!” (Don’t play Sunday School when you meet the devil.)

I beat the chair, stomped my foot. The devil said, “I’ve found a home here and we are staying.” I laid hands on her, screamed, hollered until 3 a.m. All the preachers left and most of the singers. Finally, I felt a resurgence of my spirit; it felt like someone put a cloak of anointing on me. Suddenly, I began to talk to that devil in a different way. I told him how Jesus Christ had defeated him 2000 years ago, stripped him, and rendered him powerless. The demons did not like that. I kept on talking louder.

The devil has no business in the Christian’s life. Put him where he belongs. “In My name they will cast out demons” (Mark 7:16). Know what happened? The devils came out. She started talking in tongues and was filled with the Holy Ghost. Do not let the devil bluff you out of your position in the army of the Almighty.

You may be going through a trial, going through the fire. Be encouraged. God is just getting ready to use you. Some must go through the water, some through the flood, some through the fire, but all through the blood. When a Christian goes into the fire, he is never alone. Christ is already there. Don’t give in to the flesh. Exercise self- control. Endure hardness as a good soldier.

By: R.W. Schambach

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