NT Connect: Galatians 5:22-25
Weekly Reading: Judges 13-17
The Spirit of the Lord
As we read this week the story of Samson, it’s easy to see why this makes it into all the storybook Bibles: this is a great story. But what does it have to do how the gospel of Jesus? Perhaps, even more pressing, what does it have to do with my life today?
One key to answering those questions is in a phrase repeated three times in the story of Samson: “The Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him” (Judges 14:6, 14:19, 15:14). Samson performed his mighty deeds through God’s Spirit. That is, he performed his deeds through the Holy Spirit.
That same Holy Spirit continues to work in our lives today. In Galatians 5:22-25, Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit works to transform believers and bear his fruit in our lives. In order for the Holy Spirit to be able to produce his fruit in us we must first trust Christ as our savior. From here, the Holy Spirit works to produce these fruits and make us more like Christ. The Spirit who filled Samson with his strength dwells in believers today.
In Judges 14-15, Samson’s Spirit-empowered strength is on full display. We read about the sheer power of the Spirit of the Lord, power that is undeniable and real. He is the same Spirit at work in us through faith in Jesus Christ. It is through the Spirit that we become transformed to be more like Christ. This is what Paul teaches in Galatians 5. We cannot become more like our Lord and Savior in our own strength. It is the Spirit who works in our lives and produces the characteristics of Christ in and through us. The Holy Spirit accomplishes this work through the Word of God – the Scriptures he inspired. If we’re going to bear the fruit of the Spirt we must read and hear the words of the Spirit in the Bible.
Like Samson, when we begin to take our eyes off of the Lord, we can lose sight of God’s calling on our lives. Samson turned his back on the Lord and turned toward Delilah. Though we have accepted Jesus’ finished work on the cross, sin does not simply go away. Sin is deceitful and entices us. We have to continue to fight sin and to keep our eyes on Jesus and not allow our eyes to drift elsewhere, causing us to stumble.
Did you notice that once Samson went to Delilah, the Spirit of the Lord is no longer mentioned in his story? As New Testament believers, the good news for us is that the Spirit’s coming upon us is not temporary. He will not leave us. We grieve him by our sin, but his indwelling is permanent. He continues to work to make us more like Christ. He sealed us in Christ when we believed, and he remains in our lives as a guarantee of our inheritance (Ephesians 1:13-14).