Judges, Chapter 14, Verse 11
Out of their fear of him, they brought thirty men to be his companions.
This verse is about Sampson the strongman of the bible; who struck fear into the hearts of the pagan Philistines. Nevertheless how different was Sampson from his pagan neighbors? Justyn Rees has an interesting shortened tale of the tragedy of Sampson that is available online that is a quick thought-provoking read in his book entitled, “Old Story New”.
Sampson who was born endowed with great physical strength started out following God but failed to continue walking in the spirit of He that Is. John Maxwell points out that like Gideon many men fail toward the end of their life because they dilute the vision God had given them, and have become too comfortable with their success and lack the self-control to overcome their weaknesses. John’s advice to leaders is to be self-disciplined using a quote from Plato, “The first and best victory is to conquer self.” John points out a five step plan to develop self-discipline in your life.
1. Develop and follow your priorities. Time is a precious commodity, do what’s really important first and release yourself from the rest.
2. Make a disciplined lifestyle your goal. Set up systems and routines to ensure you feed the mind, body, spirit and love of neighbor daily.
3. Challenge your excuses. We all make them; push the envelope.
4. Remove rewards until you finish the job. Eat your vegetables first.
5. Stay focused on results. Focus on the outcomes and not the difficulties in accomplishing it; envision the change.
Our model for transformation: Jesus went up to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. (Luke 6:12)