Samson's 7 Lessons for How to Survive the Anointing

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The word "anointing" has been used and abused by charlatans and schemers, but the word is thoroughly biblical. It's when God fills a person with His Spirit for the purpose of using him or her in a mighty way. In the time of Samson, Israel was in bondage, and God anointed Samson as a judge and a deliver. God's anointing is absolutely necessary to accomplishing His will. Make no mistake, our families and our nation need more men and women anointed by God (watch more here).

First John 2:20a says that all true believers "have an anointing from the Holy One." In Acts 10:38a, we read that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power." The word "Christ" actually means "Anointed One." Ironically, the more anointed a person is, the more the world will hate them. The world loves the darkness of sin and depravity. People of the world lash out at those truly filled with God's Spirit. Truth is offensive to those caught in darkness. Even Daniel warned of a time when Satan will "wear out the saints of the Most High" (Dan. 7:25b).

Francis Frangipane made a brilliant point about this: "This battle to wear out the saints may be rooted in conflicts with children or spouses; perhaps it is some unresolved issue or division within their churches. ... Like a skilled and masterful thief, the enemy daily steals the joy, strength and passion of Christians, and many do not even realize what they have lost or how much." As you can see, it's absolutely crucial for believers to survive the anointing. Here are seven lessons from Samson's life that can help along the way.

1. Survive the anointing by knowing who to run to when pressured. Judges 16:16 says that "Every day [Delilah] nagged [Samson] with her words and pleaded with him until he was tired to death." When he was beaten down and worn out, "he told her all his secrets and said to her, 'No razor has touched my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I were shaven, my strength would leave me, and I would become weak and be like all other men'" (Judg. 16:17). His power was not in his hair but in his consecration to the Lord. The same holds true for us—spiritual power is found in obedience and consecration.

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When we are continually pressured and pressed, we often run back to sin—back to anger, alcohol, porn, pills, doubt, unbelief and on and on. Where do your feet take you in times of despair? Run to the strong tower and build on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ! Proverbs 18:10 says that "the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe."

2. Survive the anointing by guarding your heart. In Judges 16:18, we read, "Delilah saw that he had told her all his secrets, so she sent for the Philistine rulers, saying, 'Come up this time, for he has told me all his secrets.'" Then she lulled him to sleep and called for a man to shave his hair. Samson should have fled her presence once he noticed her deception in prior encounters. Sin lulls us to sleep via compromise and complacency. Sin fascinates, then assassinates. You can't defeat your demons if you're still enjoying their company! Guarding your heart means guarding your emotions and decisions as well as your time. Choose your words and friends carefully, and spend time doing things that build you up spiritually, not things that pull you down.

3. Survive the anointing by staying humble. You'd be amazed at what God does with humility, and equally amazed at how much pride blocks His blessings: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Pet. 5:5b). "[Delilah] said, 'The Philistines are upon you, Samson.' Then he awakened from his sleep and thought, 'I will go out as before and shake myself free of them'" (Judg. 16:20). He thought, I can handle this; I got this. I'm Samson, the mighty man of God, but "He did not know that the Lord had left him" (v. 20).

In the Old Testament, the Spirit would completely withdraw from a person, but in the New Testament, we can quench and grieve the Spirit within. Is there an area where compromise has entered in because your guard is down? Then humble yourself today, and turn back to God.

Like Samson, the passion we once had for the purity of God's Word can easily be exchanged for the pollutants of the world. Pride destroys both our relationship with God and our genuine fellowship with other believers. It damages our prayer life as well. A pride-filled Christian does not pray—really pray—and seek the heart of God. But a deep prayer life exposes facades and crushes hypocrisy.

Pride also destroys spiritual power and hinders the infilling of the Spirit. It affects our home life as well. In short, everything God calls us to be is compromised. In time, we may find ourselves in the same spiritual condition as Samson: "He did not know that the Lord had left him."

4. Survive the anointing by staying focused on the goal while waiting on God. In verse 21, we read that the Philistines took him and put out his eyes. They bound him, and he became a grinder in the prison. Spiritual eyesight keeps us focused in the right direction, which is why clouding our vision is one of the enemy's favorite targets: "You will grope at noon, as the blind man gropes in darkness, and you will not prosper in your ways" (Deut. 28:29a).

When we focus on the goal of fulfilling God's call and set our sights on Christ, it's difficult to knock us off-course. Loss of spiritual eyesight often leads to the prison of bondage and shame. Here was Samson, God's chosen vessel anointed by the Holy Spirit, who now finds himself bound and hopeless. When we are "a grinder in the prison," we are barely hanging on as we go through the motions. But don't give up—an incredible transformation appears in the next verse.

In verse 22, we read these wonderful and encouraging words: "Yet after it had been shaven, the hair on his head began to grow back." As Samson no doubt repented and prayed and trusted again in God, his strength came back. The same holds true for us. Wait on God, pray and seek His face. Waiting time is not wasted time (listen to more here).

5. Survive the anointing by remembering who you are even when others taunt you. Samson was brought into a large arena to be taunted by the Philistines. They laughed and jeered at his apparent defeat. Tauntings come during seasons of victory and defeat, during mountaintop experiences and low valleys, when you're doing God's will and when you've fallen. Expect them, and prepare accordingly by remembering who will see you through: "Through many dangers, toils, and snares/ I have already come/ 'tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, / and grace will lead me home." Enemies of God will always taunt us, but that's all they can do. God always gets the last word.

6. Survive the anointing by calling on God. "Samson called out to the Lord, 'Lord God, remember me, I pray! Please strengthen me just this once, God, so that I may get full revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes!'" (Judg. 16:28). To get back on track, simply cry out, "Oh, God, remember me." This cry, God will hear. Watch this sermon clip to be encouraged in this area.

7. Survive the anointing by knowing where to put your hands. Samson took hold of the two pillars which supported the temple, and he braced himself against them. Then "Samson said, 'Let me die with the Philistines!' And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the rulers and all the people who were in it" (Judg. 16:30a). The Bible notes that "at his death he killed more than he had killed in his life (Judg. 16:30b). Like Samson, you too can recapture your focus, renew your strength and finish your race. In times of despair, put your feet on the neck of the enemy and pull down the pillars of bondage and sin through heart-wrenching prayer and deep repentance: "Oh God, remember me. Strengthen me to fight again!"

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Southern California. More can be found at ShaneIdleman.com, and free downloads of his books are available at WCFAV.org. Visit him on Facebook and subscribe to his new podcast.

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