“So he told her everything …”

— Judges 16:17, niv

Have you ever relied on your own abilities to accomplish something, only to fall flat on your face? One of the dangers of self-reliance is our tendency to flirt with temptation. Samson’s trouble began this way. Samson was the strongest man who ever lived, but as he trusted in his own strength, he was weak when it came to resisting temptation.

One day Samson was in enemy territory, a place he should not have gone, when he met Delilah, the woman who caused his downfall. When the Philistine lords realized that Samson loved Delilah, they asked Delilah to lure Samson into telling her the secret of his strength. The Philistines wanted this secret so that they might subdue Samson. So she pursued his secret. On three separate occasions, Delilah tried to extract from Samson his secret, and each time he revealed a secret, she had the Philistines act on it. But he had deceived her each time, and the Philistines couldn’t overwhelm him. After the third attempt, Delilah was very upset, and she said to him, “You have mocked me these three times.” At length, because of her persistence, Samson told her the truth: “If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me.” So as he slept, the Philistines cut off his hair, and Samson awoke weak and helpless. The Philistines gouged out his eyes and forced him to do the work of a beast of burden. His life, which began with great promise, had come to tragedy. However, God answered one more prayer for him. Samson’s hair grew back, and he gained enough strength to destroy the Philistine temple and all the lords within it. He died in this last heroic act, but in his death he killed more Philistines, who had oppressed Israel, than he had in his entire life up to that point.

We see that in spite of his great strength, Samson lacked moral discernment. He had never shown strong moral character. He fell into a trap that even a schoolboy might have enough sense to avoid. When we have faith in ourselves, we lean against a broken reed. But when we trust in the Lord and flee temptation, we won’t be an easy target for Satan, as Samson was.

Are you leaning on faith in yourself for anything? If so, give it to God. Trust in His strength alone to help you resist temptation and to achieve all He has designed you to accomplish.

“Character is destiny.”
Henry Luce