In this second post in our series on the Surprises of An Anointed Life I want to discuss the experience anointed people have with the enemy of their souls. This experience is pictured in the life of Samson as it related to his experience of the Philistines. In a nutshell, we see that the oppressor is surprisingly enticing and cruel.
We hear too often of people who have served the Lord for many years (and often with distinction) who become enticed by the oppressor, and then feel the stab of his cruelty. Such was the case with Samson.
Samson was set apart, even before his birth to be a deliverer for Israel. He was to lead Israel to freedom from the oppression of the Philistines. Yet we see Samson was not so clear on this calling, in fact he found the enemy rather desirable. This attraction to the enemy first came immediately on the heels of the Lord’s call to duty. The last verse of Judges 13 states, “And the Spirit of the LORD began to stir him…” The first verse of chapter 14 states, “Samson went down to Timnah and saw there a young Philistine woman. When he returned, he said to his father and mother, ‘I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.’
As the Holy Spirit began to stir in Samson, another passion began to began to burn in his heart. It was a forbidden passion which meant compromise with the enemy. This fascination with the Philistine ladies carried on through life with Samson and ultimately led to his death. Though Samson was anointed by God, he was enticed by the enemy in powerful and destructive ways. We are wise to take heed to this lesson.
Just because we have been set apart for God, anointed to ministry it does not mean that the oppressor will be unattractive. If you are anointed by God, it does not mean that you will not have any attractions to the enemy. We have weaknesses for things we ought not to have weaknesses for. We have temptations we know ought not to be temptations. Anointed servants are not free from temptations that are common to man. We would do well to be on special alert after times when the Spirit of God has been stirring in our life. This was true in the life of Jesus. After his baptism when the Spirit came upon him, he was led into the wilderness where the Evil One tempted him severely. We seem vulnerable to the enemy’s attraction as the Spirit of God has been stirring in our hearts.
This attraction however pays bitter dividends. As Samson gives into this attraction he places himself in the hands of Philistine cruelty. Reading the Bible account of his life reminds me of the prize fight. There is a punch-for-punch feel to Samson and his battle with the Philistines. There is a rhythm. Samson strikes, the Philistines strike back, Samson strikes, the Philistines strike back. The rhythm that runs through the story, the cruelty of the enemy rises to stop any of Samson’s deliverance activity. So it is with those who have been anointed to minister for the Lord. As God works in us and through us to advance his kingdom, Satan with strike back and often will do so viciously.
If he can’t entice us he utilizes cruelty. We may find ourselves feeling like we are in a heavyweight prize fight and we are taking as good as we give. There are times when the enemy will bring overwhelming forces against anointed servants. The enemy pulls out all the stops when it comes to bringing down anointed servants.
Perhaps one of the most disturbing and discouraging factors in this battle with the enemy is that he finds willing accomplices among those we are called to serve. They work together to bring an end to anointed ministry. Judges 15:9-14 chronicles the deal the Israelites made with the Philistines in an effort to bring to an end Samson’s ministry. Samson’s own people willingly tie him up and hand him over to their and Samson’s oppressors. This dynamic is a reality for many of God’s servants. The very people who would be expected to stand with them and cheer them on become the people who tie them up and hand them over to the enemy. This experience has severely tested many of God’s servants, some have been broken by this reality and have turned back from their calling.
In my years of ministry, I have had days when I was astounded at the evil one’s dirty tactics. Satan will stop at nothing to derail anointed servants of the Lord. I have mistakenly thought that Satan was our enemy but that he would play by certain rules of decency. I thought there were some strategies too evil for Satan. I have found out differently.
As you carry out your calling be aware that your enemy is surprisingly enticing but also cruel. You may have times when you are powerfully drawn to the enemy through his ideas or rewards, yet remember that the sweet enticements come with a cost. They are a doorway to the enemy’s cruelty and efforts to stop your ministry.