Art Schlichter was a star quarterback for Ohio State and the fourth pick in the 1982 NFL draft. He was considered a “can’t miss” prospect, but his gambling addiction spiraled out of control. Within a year, he was nearly one million dollars in debt to his bookies who threatened to expose him to the NFL, or worse. He went to the FBI who arrested those who threatened him; however, he ended up being permanently banned from the NFL. His is only one of many stories about gifted athletes who failed to reach their potential due to a series of bad choices.
Samson was also a man who had great potential and opportunities. God chose him to be a judge of Israel in order to deliver his people and lead them into greater godliness. But Samson lived most of his public life in pursuit of self-serving gratifications. God had forbidden Israelites from intermarrying with heathen people. However, when he saw a daughter of the Philistines, he instructed his parents to make arrangements to marry her. They protested, but Samson insisted saying, “…she pleaseth me well” (Judges 14:3). The ordeal ended in disaster when this woman exposed the secret of a riddle Samson presented to her people. Samson left in disgust, and his fiancée was given in marriage to his companion. In anger, Samson slew a great number of the Philistines, who in turn sought to take his life. Samson then violated his Nazarite vow by using the jawbone of a dead donkey to slay his attackers (Judges 15). Later, Samson immorally went in to a harlot (16:1), then again chose a heathen woman, Delilah, as the object of his love. This again ended in disaster. Delilah revealed the secret of Samson’s physical strength (16:4- 21), and had his head shaved. His strength, unbeknown to Samson, left him. His enemies put out his eyes then imprisoned him while they demanded physical labor from him. Sadly, Samson is an example of spending much of life in self-centered pursuits, and making bad choices, with only intermit- tent service to the Lord. Samson invested much of his time in things with no eternal value that resulted in unfulfilled potential and wasted opportunities.
Are you like Samson in largely pursuing self-serving goals, making bad decisions in companions, only occasionally serving the Lord, and investing too little in things of eternal value? If so, right now is the time to reverse that trend. By God’s strength, start making good spiritual decisions today.
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