ODJ: Sorrow and Selfishness

August 22, 2017 

READ: Judges 15:1-11 

They said to Samson, “Don’t you realise the Philistines rule over us? What are you doing to us?” But Samson replied, “I only did to them what they did to me” (v.11).

In Andrew Wommack’s book Self-Centeredness: The Source of All Grief, he writes, “The reason we are so easily hurt or offended is that we are still alive to self and full of pride.”

Samson definitely was easily offended when he didn’t get his way (Judges 15:1-6). As one of Israel’s last judges, the powerful warrior overcame many Philistine attacks, but pride and lust ultimately led to his downfall (13:24-25, 14:1, 16:1,4). We get a glimpse of his arrogance when a Philistine girl catches his eye and he demands that his parents “get her” for him (14:1-3). Samson also regularly allowed his temper to go unchecked. He disregarded his parents’ counsel and his selfishness eventually led to the death of his wife and her father (v.19, 15:1-7). And when the people of Judah tried to reason with him, Samson’s ‘eye for an eye’ response only further reinforced his selfish reputation as he said, “I only did to them what they did to me” (v.11).

Samson boasted of his killing sprees and openly slept with a Philistine prostitute (Judges 16:16). And sometime after being captured and blinded by the Philistines, he prayed that God would destroy them, thus repaying them for their actions (vv.1-30).

God did bring good out of Samson’s life, but his overriding focus on self also led to much heartbreak. Although I’ve also been offended and hurt in life, I’ve come to realise that “my old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God” (Galatians 2:20). True greatness is found when we recognise Christ as the source of our lives: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27 niv).

—Ruth O’Reilly-Smith

365-day-plan: Luke 18:1-14

Read Proverbs 13:10 and James 4:10 to see how pride leads to conflict and the importance of being humble. 
If an emphasis on “self” is your driving force, how have your relationships been affected? How can you begin to shift your focus away from self-reliance to reliance on Christ? 
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