Relationships are not that complicated. At least, it shouldn’t be.

But it CAN get complicated. It gets complicated when self gets in the way.

Tara Parker Pope of the New York Times wrote an article entitled “The Happy Marriage is the “Me” Marriage. 

She says that what used to be about supposed to be a move from ME to WE turns full circle back to ME.
If the marriage doesn’t interest me anymore, then I bail out.

In Judges 16, Samson went to the Valley of Sorek and fell in love with a lady named Delilah.

Now, is there anything wrong with being in Sorek? Actually, none. But what we might not know, Sorek is a valley where the vineyards of the best choiced red grapes are found. Those are the ones used to make wines.

As a Nazirite, Samson had a covenant and commitment not to drink wine. Together with this was the commitment to not let a razor touch his hair and to never touch a carcass of a dead animal.

Being Sorek was not wrong, but it wasn’t wise. The number 1 answer people give when asked the question why there are doing what they’re doing is “why, there’s nothing wrong with what I am doing!” Sometimes, it no longer is about what is wrong or right but what is wise.

It wasn’t wrong for Samson to be in Sorek but it definitely wasn’t wise.

COMPROMISE

Sin never starts full blown. It usually starts with small compromises here and there.

It’s rarely a blowout but usually a slow leak.

Samson disregarded his parents’ advice when told not to marry a Philistine, scooped honey from a lion’s carcass though he knew he was violating his commitment and slept with a prostitute.

You see, the decisions we make today impacts how we live our lives tomorrow.

PASSION

Singles ask me, “How far is too far?” Kiss? Making out? As long as it’s not sex, it should be fine.

But let me submit to you that this is the wrong question. It is not how far is too far but how far away from sin can I go so that I do not hurt and offend God?

It boils down to this… More than a battle of purity, it is actually a battle of passion. If we are so passionate about our relationship with Jesus, we will pursue His will and purposes in our lives, desiring not to offend God.

Remember, Jesus paid the penalty of death for the very thing I am about to do.

Love desires to benefit others at the expense of self, because love desires to give.
Lust desires to benefit self at the expense of others, because lust desires to get. (Ed Cole)

PLAYING WITH FIRE

Proverbs 6:27 says, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?”
Guess what, it is not possible to play with fire and expect not to get hurt.
If you find yourself in a temptation, FLEE DON’T FLIRT!

He couldn’t say no to the temptation because what could not be bound on the outside by ropes was already bound on the inside by sin.

What he didn’t know was that the Lord had already left him. (Judges 16:20)
This is probably one of the saddest verse in the Bible.

Sin will take you farther than you want to go,
keep you longer than you want to stay
and cost you more than you want to pay.

Samson realized this. However, it was a bit too late.

SECOND CHANCE

Thankfully, God is a God of second chances… and third… and fourth… and fifth…
God allowed Samson to redeem himself. After some time, his hair grew back. With it, came his strength.
Samson showed up in a feast, pushed the pillars and killed 3000 Philistines. More than he ever killed in any battle.
Samson died, paid for the consequences of his sin.
But there was One greater than Samson who died not for the consequences of His own sins but your sins and mine.

Relationships don’t need to be complicated. It only does when it becomes about self.

But, when it moves from SELF-CENTEREDNESS to SELF-SACRIFICE, you see the things actually work out.

It’s not THAT complicated.

 

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PHOTO CREDIT: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rr_msw/

You might remember this line from the movie Apollo 13. The space craft was in the verge of disaster and so were the lives of the astronauts inside it.

It was in this framework that Dr. Howard Hendricks mentioned the problem in leadership we have in the church.

There is a lack of leadership in the church that eventually spills out into society.

The greater problem he presents is that unfortunately, we have people who are in positions of leadership yet one thing is lacking – CALLING.

Houston, we really have  BIG problem.

Dear leaders, this is a moment for us to assess why we are where we are today.  If we are in ministry today because we don’t have anything else to do or we feel stuck because we thought this is what we were supposed to do and realized we while be somewhere else, then something has to change.

We need to ask ourselves certain questions.

1. Do I remember a specific moment when God clearly spoke to me about His call in my life?

I don’t mean an audible voice like with Moses and the burning bush. I mean a real sensing in your heart that you just know it was God who was speaking to you.

Career is what you’re paid to do. Calling is what you’re made to do.

2. Do I still have the fire as I used to have?

Passion is hard to explain yet easy to spot. You just know.

Bill Wilson once said, “If people don’t know what your passion is, then you probably don’t have one.”

3. Do I know where I’m headed?

No one really knows exactly. Abraham left Ur without really fully knowing where he was going. However, there was a sense of direction and confidence that I am going the right way.

Vision. Passion. Direction.

If we have none of that, then we need to go back to Houston for some recalibration.