FARGO - I'm an engineer; wired to observe the realities of this world. For 50 years I've witnessed this reality: Men tend to trail behind women when it comes to spiritual intensity. I've seen many families where mom is active in her faith and local church but dad isn't. It's very rare that dad is active and mom is not. Having worked with teenagers for years, it's common for teens to step away from faith when dad isn't actively engaged.
As a pastor, I have a burning desire to help men grow spiritually. When a man grows spiritually, there's a significant positive ripple effect in the lives of his family, business and neighborhood that lasts for generations.
In the Bible, God is searching: I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one (Ezekiel 22:30).
God was looking for someone who would stay true to him amidst all the temptations this world offers; someone who would fight for their spouse, children, church and pastor; someone quick to forgive, seek forgiveness, and focus on unity; someone who was all out devoted and all in surrendered to God. And God found? No one. My prayer is that when God searches North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, he finds thousands of men who fit this description.
In Judges Chapters 13-16, a historically strong man named Samson was continually plagued with a dangerously weak will. Samson had a tremendous amount of God-given potential, yet over and over he made bad decisions and self-destructed.
Samson was a miracle baby, born to a barren couple; created to help the Israelites find freedom from the Philistines. Samson, as a Nazarite, made three external vows to demonstrate his commitment to God and God alone. He was to never drink alcohol, touch anything dead, or cut his hair.
Just like Samson, you are wired for greatness, but we must learn from his mistakes. As a man, we sometimes make great commitments to inferior causes and it costs us dearly. We may spend more time researching what rifle or TV to buy than we spend reading the Bible, building us up spiritually. There are men who are aggressive in their work or hobbies but passive when it comes to leading their family spiritually; men who are very passionate about their favorite sports team but have no zest for God.
There are three attitudes, displayed by Samson, that make strong men weak. I will look at one today and the other two next Sunday.
Lust is when a man sees something that he desires, his emotions kick in and he says: I really want it! I'm going to go get it! And when a man obsesses about his desire, he forgets all logic and his values. He may lust after a woman, a career advancement, a boat or a challenge to conquer.
Samson went into Philistine territory and saw a beautiful hot woman he had to have (Judges 14:1-3) even though his parents and God gave him clear direction not to intermarry with someone who did not worship God. Lust ("I want it") makes strong men weak.
Let's continue our discussion next Sunday. God bless you!