We’re developing this resource over the next few months. When completed, you will be able to follow the full 12-week programme online, and subscribe to a series of daily emails. Please contact us for further information.
Step 1: Powerless – Day 2 of 7 – Dangerous Self-Deception
“I know that nothing good lives in me...” — Romans 7:18(NLT)
Bible Reading - Judges 16:1-31 (NLT)
One day Samson went to the Philistine town of Gaza and spent the night with a prostitute. Word soon spread that Samson was there, so the men of Gaza gathered together and waited all night at the town gates. They kept quiet during the night, saying to themselves, “When the light of morning comes, we will kill him.” But Samson stayed in bed only until midnight. Then he got up, took hold of the doors of the town gate, including the two posts, and lifted them up, bar and all. He put them on his shoulders and carried them all the way to the top of the hill across from Hebron.
Some time later Samson fell in love with a woman named Delilah, who lived in the valley of Sorek. The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “Entice Samson to tell you what makes him so strong and how he can be overpowered and tied up securely. Then each of us will give you 1,100 pieces of silver.” So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me what makes you so strong and what it would take to tie you up securely.” Samson replied, “If I were tied up with seven new bowstrings that have not yet been dried, I would become as weak as anyone else.”
So the Philistine rulers brought Delilah seven new bowstrings, and she tied Samson up with them. She had hidden some men in one of the inner rooms of her house, and she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” But Samson snapped the bowstrings as a piece of string snaps when it is burned by a fire. So the secret of his strength was not discovered.
Afterward Delilah said to him, “You’ve been making fun of me and telling me lies! Now please tell me how you can be tied up securely.” Samson replied, “If I were tied up with brand-new ropes that had never been used, I would become as weak as anyone else.” So Delilah took new ropes and tied him up with them. The men were hiding in the inner room as before, and again Delilah cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” But again Samson snapped the ropes from his arms as if they were thread.
Then Delilah said, “You’ve been making fun of me and telling me lies! Now tell me how you can be tied up securely.” Samson replied, “If you were to weave the seven braids of my hair into the fabric on your loom and tighten it with the loom shuttle, I would become as weak as anyone else.” So while he slept, Delilah wove the seven braids of his hair into the fabric. Then she tightened it with the loom shuttle. Again she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” But Samson woke up, pulled back the loom shuttle, and yanked his hair away from the loom and the fabric.
Then Delilah pouted, “How can you tell me, ‘I love you,’ when you don’t share your secrets with me? You’ve made fun of me three times now, and you still haven’t told me what makes you so strong!” She tormented him with her nagging day after day until he was sick to death of it. Finally, Samson shared his secret with her. “My hair has never been cut,” he confessed, “for I was dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. If my head were shaved, my strength would leave me, and I would become as weak as anyone else.”
Delilah realized he had finally told her the truth, so she sent for the Philistine rulers. “Come back one more time,” she said, “for he has finally told me his secret.” So the Philistine rulers returned with the money in their hands. Delilah lulled Samson to sleep with his head in her lap, and then she called in a man to shave off the seven locks of his hair. In this way she began to bring him down, and his strength left him. Then she cried out, “Samson! The Philistines have come to capture you!” When he woke up, he thought, “I will do as before and shake myself free.” But he didn’t realize the Lord had left him. So the Philistines captured him and gouged out his eyes.
They took him to Gaza, where he was bound with bronze chains and forced to grind grain in the prison. But before long, his hair began to grow back. The Philistine rulers held a great festival, offering sacrifices and praising their god, Dagon. They said, “Our god has given us victory over our enemy Samson!” When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying, “Our god has delivered our enemy to us! The one who killed so many of us is now in our power!” Half drunk by now, the people demanded, “Bring out Samson so he can amuse us!” So he was brought from the prison to amuse them, and they had him stand between the pillars supporting the roof. Samson said to the young servant who was leading him by the hand, “Place my hands against the pillars that hold up the temple. I want to rest against them.” Now the temple was completely filled with people. All the Philistine rulers were there, and there were about 3,000 men and women on the roof who were watching as Samson amused them.
Then Samson prayed to the Lord , “Sovereign Lord , remember me again. O God, please strengthen me just one more time. With one blow let me pay back the Philistines for the loss of my two eyes.” Then Samson put his hands on the two centre pillars that held up the temple. Pushing against them with both hands, he prayed, “Let me die with the Philistines.” And the temple crashed down on the Philistine rulers and all the people. So he killed more people when he died than he had during his entire lifetime. Later his brothers and other relatives went down to get his body. They took him back home and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol, where his father, Manoah, was buried. Samson had judged Israel for twenty years.
We admitted that we were powerless over our problems—that our lives had become unmanageable.
When we refuse to admit our powerlessness we are only deceiving ourselves. The lies we tell ourselves and others are familiar: “I can stop any time I want to.” “I’m in control; this one won’t hurt anything.” And all the while, we are inching closer to disaster.
Samson was one of Israel’s judges. As a child, he had been dedicated to God, and God had gifted him with supernatural strength. But Samson had a lifelong weakness—the way he related to women. Samson was especially blinded to the dangers he faced in his relationship with Delilah. His enemies were paying her to discover the secret of his strength. Three times she begged Samson to tell her his secret. Each time she set him up and tried to hand him over to the enemy. Three times Samson lied to her and was able to escape. But each time he got closer to telling her the truth. Finally, Samson revealed his secret, was taken captive, and died a slave in enemy hands.
Samson’s real problem can be found in the lies he told himself. By not admitting his powerlessness, he remained blind to the obvious danger that his pride and desire for beautiful foreign women were leading him into. This caused him to gradually inch his way toward an untimely death.
We need to be careful not to fall into a similar trap. As we learn to acknowledge our powerlessness over our addictive/ compulsive tendencies daily, we will become more aware of behaviors that will likely lead us to destruction.
Please note that we will only be including the full devotional for the first ten days of the programme. You will need to purchase your own copy of the The Life Recovery Bible for the full devotionals after this.
Welcome to Day 2!
We deceive ourselves almost daily. We tell ourselves that we are in control. We’re OK. It’s going to be OK. And when we slip back to that addictive, compulsive, and destructive behaviour, we make excuses. “It’s only the one time. I can stop if I want to. Nobody will get hurt. I won’t be caught. It’s not a big deal. Nobody will find out.”
Lie after lie after lie; excuse after excuse after excuse. Destructive self-deception that leads us dangerously closer and closer to disaster. It’s like sailing the Titanic – faster and faster into more dangerous water, thinking that you are indestructible, invincible, until disaster strikes. The hit is far harder than you expected or anticipated – it will, ultimately, sink you. If not this time or the next, but sink you will.
Samson thought he was invincible. He was dangerously deluded – he deceived himself. He didn’t think anyone could get the better of him. How many times did Delilah trick him, only for Samson to go back again for more? He truly believed that he was invincible, and that she would never get the better of him. And his dangerous self-deception was his downfall.
Of course, sometimes we do it for a reason – self-preservation. We cannot bear the thought of someone finding out about our problems, our weaknesses, our faults, our failures. We worry – sometimes rightly – that if were found out, we would lose out. We would lose our closest friends and family, we would lose our position and our career, we would lose our possessions and our treasures, and we could even lose our freedom.
There may be a huge amount at stake. And that may be the reason – or just a reason – that we continue to delude ourselves that we are in control. Self-deception is a dangerous place to be, and can only end in disaster.
We need to stop – right now. Stop deluding ourselves; stop telling ourselves lies; start admitting to ourselves that our situation is precarious, dangerous, and possibly destructive. Not only to ourselves, but to others around us. It doesn’t have to be this way.
As we continue with the daily Recovery Programme, we will discover new ways of approaching our delusions and deceptions. We will discover new ways of thinking, of behaving, and of coping. We will recognise that the things we do are just ways of coping with the reason why we escape into our dysfunctional and destructive behaviour. And we will learn new ways to cope with those reasons. We may not remove those reasons, we cannot change the past or the things that have happened to us, but we can control the present and our future, and Live A Blessed Everyday Life.