Fight Devotional For Men

 
11 Day Devotional for Men
 

Author and pastor Craig Groeschel helps men uncover who they really are—a powerful man with a warrior heart. This 11-day plan examines the life of Samson—a strong man with glaring weaknesses. Fight to become who God made you to be. Don’t just fight like a man. Fight like a man of God. Click the verses below to read each one. 

 
Day 1
 
The Rules of Fight Club
“Welcome to Fight Club. The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not TALK about Fight Club. The second rule of Fight Club is: you do NOT talk about Fight Club!”
—Tyler Durden, Fight Club, 1999
I’ve got news for you: you’re in a fight. Right now. We all are.Have you ever noticed how hard it is sometimes just to follow God? Why isn’t marriage effortless? Why is raising a family so…complicated? Shouldn’t those things just come naturally? Shouldn’t they be easy? But they’re not.Let’s say we’re standing on an empty football field, just you and me. We’re on the 20-yard line. I throw you the ball and say, “Run this into the end zone.” In no time at all, you’re spiking the ball and doing the Heisman. Easy, right?
We were just a couple of guys horsing around, but now let’s mix it up a little. Let’s add 60,000 screaming fans and nine more guys (maybe some friends from your work). And let’s say we’re facing…a defensive lineup of NFL All-Stars. The game’s changed, hasn’t it? This time, if I can even get the ball to you at the 20-yard line, you’ll be lucky to make it through this without any broken bones—let alone actually reaching the end zone! There’s opposition. There’s someone trying to stop you. A bunch of huge someones.Make no mistake: You are in a fight. Every day, you’re getting stared down by your enemy. And his mission statement, his entire life’s purpose, can be summed up in three words: Steal. Kill. DESTROY. (John 10:10)
1 Peter 5:8 warns you: “Watch your back, man! You’ve got a vicious enemy: the devil. Don’t underestimate this guy. He’s like a lion, out stalking you. He wants to tear your flesh, to devour you whole.” (Craig’s Paraphrased Version)
Get that in your head: A rabid lion is hunting you. To eat you! Oh, you’re in a fight, all right.
The next 10 days are FIGHT Boot Camp. We’ll learn from Samson’s mistakes in dealing with his physical enemy, the Philistines, so we can avoid making those same mistakes with our spiritual enemy, the devil.
It’s fourth down. We’re on the 20. And on this next snap, the ball is coming to you. What are you going to do? Are you ready for this fight?
Day 2 Click on the verses below to read
 
Chasing the Wrong Things
Samson was the strongest man who ever lived. With the Incredible Hulk’s muscles, Tony Stark’s mouth, and Thor’s hair, he was basically like three Avengers in one.
 
But even with so much going for him—chosen by God, blessed with supernatural strength—Samson just couldn’t escape his flaws. Again and again, he pursued the wrong things. His weaknesses kept getting the best of him.
 
As you’ll see today, one of those weaknesses was lust. In Judges 14:1–2, Samson went to the wrong place—on purpose. Timnah was enemy territory, a Philistine town. He had no business being there. Then on top of that, he wanted the wrong thing there. He told his parents he was hot for a Philistine woman he saw there, and he wanted to marry her. But God had specifically told his people not to intermarry with others who didn’t worship him.
 
What about you? Lazily surfing channels, have you ever stopped—or even just slowed down a little—when you “happened to see” some hot, scantily clad woman? What about on the Internet? Have you ever clicked on some link, some thumbnail, some ad you knew you probably shouldn’t? Samson started by letting his feet wander. His eyes weren’t far behind. Predictably, his heart followed.
 
“I don’t care what God says. I don’t care what Mom and Dad say. I don’t care what’s right or wrong. I’m a MAN. I’ve got desires. I’ve got needs. And besides, I want it!”

 
Sound familiar? Of course, some of the things you and I lust after aren’t even sexual. Maybe what you crave is that promotion, that raise, or just winning at work. Dreams of money and prestige start to consume your mind and overwhelm your soul. Or maybe it’s something material: that big house, that shiny new car, that sweet boat. You wake up thinking about them, try all day to figure out how you can get them, then drift off to sleep at night dreaming about them.
 
Whatever you lust after, it takes every ounce of restraint you can muster to hold yourself back from plowing headlong after it. Why? Because just like Samson, lust makes even the strongest man weak.
 
Get in the habit of pointing your feet away from temptation—and turning your eyes away from it. What are you doing going out looking for trouble anyway? Don’t put yourself in that position. Practice common sense and good judgment—unlike Samson. Know your weaknesses. And shore up your defenses.
Day 3  Click the verses below to read
 
Rules Are Made To Be Broken
Before Samson was even born, his parents dedicated him to the Lord, with something called “a Nazirite vow.” The short version of what this means is that, throughout his whole life, Samson was supposed to follow three basic rules:
 
1. Don’t drink alcohol.
2. Don’t touch anything dead.
3. Don’t cut your hair.
Pretty simple, right? But you know what guys like Samson say: “Rules are made to be broken.”
 
Today in Judges 14, we’ll read how Samson first got to use his God-given strength to do something pretty cool. But that wasn’t good enough for him. When he came back later, he conveniently ignored one of these oh-so-simple rules, and he touched something dead. But more than that, he full-on dug his hands into it! Why, Samson, why? For a couple of fistfuls of honey. (Yes, you read that right.) Even by the standards of Old Testament times, what Samson did was nasty!
 
Stupid? Absolutely. Just like you and me. Before we judge Samson too harshly, let’s be honest. Even when we believe God has blessed us, we can still turn on him in an instant. Think about what this looks like in your life. What causes us to choose our own way, over what we say we believe is God’s best for us? In my experience, nine times out of 10, it’s because we see something we want, and then, right in that moment, that becomes all we can think about.
 
Lust makes us think, I want it.
Entitlement is that little voice that takes “I want it” and adds “…and I deserve it”:
 
I work hard. I’ve earned some extra.
 
I’ve spent a lot of money at this place over the years. I deserve a little payback.
 
I’m not getting my needs met at home. And sometimes a guy’s just gotta do what a guy’s gotta do.
 
When we start listening to that whisper of entitlement—I deserve this. I’ve earned this. I need this—we’re simply justifying our lust, instead of turning our hearts toward what we know God wants.
Day 4- Click the verses below to read
 
I Have This Under Control
Lust says, “I want it.”
Entitlement says, “I deserve it.”
And Pride says, “I can handle it.”
 
Remember how Samson told his parents he wanted to marry the Philistine woman? Well, what does every guy need before he can get married? That’s right—a bachelor party! And in Samson’s case, that meant a kegger. As you’ll see in today’s reading, Samson wanted to get together with his buddies to get hammered.
 
Before we read, here’s another thing I want to remind you of: Samson’s first rule:
 
1. Don’t drink alcohol.
 
Samson was not supposed to drink alcohol at all. But Samson figured that, because he was so strong, he could handle it. You’ve probably heard this before. A guy believes he’s really tough (and he may be), so he convinces himself that he won’t suffer the same consequences as other guys. Maybe you’ve even been that guy. And thinking you can handle it doesn’t just have to just be about substances:
 
Just one drink/puff/hit isn’t going to kill me. I can handle it.
 
Man, I really love this car/house/bass boat. I can make these payments.
 
I know I’m not ‘supposed to’ look at this website/image/video, but I’ve got my smart phone. And it’s just this one time.
 
Because Samson was the strongest man who had ever lived, he genuinely believed he could handle it all. But do you know how Samson ended up? If you’ve never heard his story before, I won’t spoil the ending for you. Let me just say this: he couldn’t handle it. So what makes you think you can?
 
We don’t have to follow the same path Samson did. Remember, your enemy wants to DESTROY you, to DEVOUR you. The key is to read his playbook ahead of time and prepare yourself. If you learn how he operates, you can avoid his traps. Three of his most effective weapons are lust, entitlement, and pride.
 
Don’t let your enemy use your pride and selfishness and shame to trick you into trading your God-given power for things that tempt your fleshly appetites. You were made for more than that. You can be a man of spiritual strength, integrity, and courage. You can be a man who serves his wife and his family. You can be a man who unselfishly gives to others. The bravest thing we can do is admit that we’re weak and vulnerable, and that we need God’s strength and his presence. When we come to him in humility, he redeems us and fills us with purpose and meaning.
 
Day 5-Click on the verses to read
 
Emotion-Ill
Have you ever made an emotional decision? Here’s what I mean: you’re struggling with something tough. You have a lot invested in the outcome, and you think you even know what you should do. You hang in there, but you have a lot of other things going on in your life, so it’s hard to focus.
 
Finally, overcome by your stresses—probably including some external influences—you give in. You abandon your original plan because it was just too hard. You couldn’t take the pressure anymore. And this is when the real trouble actually starts; now you have to deal with the fallout of giving in.
 
We don’t like to think of ourselves as “emotional.” Women are emotional, not us. We’re strong; we’re logical; we’re thinkers. But the truth is, all humans are emotional beings. And honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that; that’s how God made us. It’s when we allow those emotions to drive our actions that we get ourselves into trouble.
 
In today’s reading, we pick up with Samson and his Philistine drinking buddies slurping adult beverages. These guys hate him, but they’re content to stay as long as he’s buying. Samson decides to mess with them, so he makes them a bet that he can tell them a riddle they won’t be able to solve. I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I will give you a hint: Samson is basically bragging about breaking his second rule (don’t touch anything dead).
 
When they can’t figure out the answer, they threaten Samson’s fiancée to pressure her into giving it to them. When they smugly give him the right answer on the last day, Samson realizes immediately what must have happened.
 
Now, here’s what I really want you to see here. Because Samson allowed his impulses and his emotions to lead him—rather than God’s Spirit—he made one bad decision after another. Samson never corrects course, but even when it’s time for him to pay the consequences for his own actions, still, God’s strength never leaves him.
 
Our strength comes from the Lord. He made us to be warriors, after all—which is precisely why we need to let his Spirit lead us. We have to be able to discern what, when, where, and how to fight. And we need to fight only for the things that are truly worth fighting for. Don’t trust your emotions. Trust God’s Spirit within you.
 
Day 6: Click on the scriptures to read
 
 
The Trouble with Foxes
For a lot of men, anger is a default emotion. When someone embarrasses us, rarely do we feel only embarrassment. Most of the time, that embarrassment also makes us angry. Nobody’s gonna make me look like a fool. They’ll be sorry they messed with me. That’s because when men experience something negative, anger is usually our automatic response.
 
You might have thought Samson’s reaction from yesterday was over the top—killing 30 guys to pay off a gambling debt—but he was just getting warmed up. Today we’ll see him really turn up the heat.
 
After Samson stormed off from his engagement celebration, his bride’s father was embarrassed that his future son-in-law had just disappeared. So he did what any father in that position would do: he gave her to another man in the wedding party! (This may not make sense to us, but it was appropriate in their culture at the time.)
 
In today’s reading, we’ll see what happens when Samson returns to find that his wife went to another man.
 
Let’s review Samson’s greatest hits so far: He went someplace he had no business going. He lusted after—then pursued—the wrong woman. He ignored his parents’ advice (and God’s wisdom). He touched dead things. He got drunk. He taunted the Philistines with his riddle. He gave his own secret away. He left his wife at the altar to go kill a bunch of guys.
 
And who was responsible for every single one of these actions? Samson himself.
 
Samson keeps getting mad at the world, but in reality, almost everything that happened was his own fault. At any point, he could have backed off, even just a little. If he had just taken a minute to cool off, maybe he even could have turned things around. Instead, over and over, he escalated every situation, forcing others to react.
 
Today, we’ll see how one more emotional decision from Samson forces an emotional response from the Philistines—and costs him everything he cares about.
 
What about you? If you’re angry at those around you, where is your responsibility in that? Could it be possible that at least some of the hard things you’re going through right now are the result—perhaps even the direct consequences—of your own choices? Really try to be honest with yourself here.
 
Do you feel tempted to make excuses for your behavior? If you do, it’s time to stop and fight that temptation. Own your part. Ask for forgiveness if you need to. And not just from God, but from the people your actions and attitudes may have hurt. Ask God’s Spirit to lead you. Then go make the hard changes he shows you.
 
Day 7: Click on the scripture below to read
The Stuff of Legends
William Wallace. Maximus Decimus Meridius. King Leonidas. Movie legends.
 
Muhammad Ali. Babe Ruth. Bill Russell. Sports legends.
 
Michael Jackson. The Beatles. Bob Marley. Music legends.
 
What do all of these legends have in common? Their accomplishments seem larger than life. At times in their stories, each one of them seemed invincible. And their stories were so inspiring that men just kept retelling them over and over, eventually turning the details into folklore, stories that continue to live long after their time is past.
 
Samson had a moment like that, too, which we’ll read about today. A moment he shared with 1,000 other men.
 
How does Samson do it? There’s no question that it was God’s strength: “The Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon him.” All credit, all glory, belongs to God and God alone. Jesus once said that with God, nothing is impossible. God gets done the things that he wants done.
 
Unfortunately, another thing you’ll see today (in Judges 15:16) is that Samson takes credit for God’s power. He was arrogant. Arrogance is always born out of our insecurities. When we don’t know who we are in Christ, most of us look to pride to try to fill that void—just like Samson did.
 
Many of us try to define ourselves by our accomplishments, to find our worth in what we’ve done, instead of in the One we belong to. We want to rely on our achievements, our victories, our trophies, our wins to define us, instead of acknowledging God as the source of all good things in our lives. And like Samson, we want to get the credit. We want to be known as “a winner,” “a beast,” “a leader,” “a man’s man,” “somebody.”
 
Pride can be intoxicating. But the hangover is hell. We’re human; we do have (many) limitations, and we need to rely on God. If you lose sight of your identity and try to convince yourself that you’re a legend, you’ll miss the true legend in your life: that the God who made the universe calls you his son.
 
What’s defining you? Remember, you only get this one life. Whose name are you trying to make great?
Day 8
To read the scriptures click on the verses below
 
 
Despair Repair
Have you ever played so hard that you physically had nothing left in the tank?
 
Sometimes you collapse on the bench press of your life: weakened, worn out, completely exhausted. But even if you’re already maxed out, there’s no guarantee more stress isn’t still coming. Do you ever feel like that? Like that constant weight of responsibility is always there? That you always have to be there for your family and your friends? Believe me, I know just how that feels.
 
You don’t want to let anybody down. Month after month, there are always going to be more bills that need to get paid. You want to be a good provider. You want to make your parents proud. You want to be strong for everybody. Do you ever feel like you’re the glue holding everyone else’s lives together? Then is it really any wonder you’re so exhausted?
 
Of course, if you’re like most guys, you’ll never ask for help. You just keep adding more and more weight to that bar, again and again. You keep lifting it, too, but you’re sore. It hurts, but you don’t tell anybody. Sometimes you even wonder why you’re carrying all this weight for all these other people. It’s easy to start slipping into a negative mindset. Do you ever feel alone? Depressed? Defeated?
 
We’ll see all of these things in the desperation in Samson’s voice today. He took pride in being self-sufficient and never needing anyone’s help. He didn’t want to reveal his weaknesses to others, which made it hard for him to admit to himself that he actually really needed God.
 
Many of us slip into that same mode when we start feeling overwhelmed. We may not say it out loud, but what our actions are communicating to others is: “I’m not letting you in. I won’t share what’s going on with me. Besides, even if I tried, you wouldn’t understand.”
 
That’s why we refuse to ask for directions! We don’t want to have to tell anyone we need help! I’m convinced the reason we do this is that most of us want to be the hero, the main character, the center of the story that we’re telling about ourselves. We want to make everything about us…instead of about God.
 
But here’s a truth you can grab hold of today: If you’ll let your need drive you to God, God will meet your deepest needs. His Spirit will always lead us to confession, to changing direction, to realigning with his Word, to a fresh start, to grace. Admit it. You need him. Tell him so. You may be surprised how he responds.
 
Day 9
To read the scriptures click on the verses below
The Stupid Shuffle
Today we’ll see Samson hit rock bottom. But you need to understand: Samson didn’t ruin his life all at once. He ruined it one step at a time. In fact, when we begin to wander away from God, we all seem to start with the same three small steps:
 
Step 1: Taunting our enemy. Samson enters into enemy territory (again) to visit a “user friendly” woman (a prostitute). When he leaves the city, he takes the city gate with him (their symbol of security). Why? Just to taunt them.
 
Step 2: Rationalizing our sins. Some guys justify their sin based on how “clean” the rest of their life is: This is my ONE vice. Other men justify it as something private: It’s MY business, not yours. Some write their own rulebook: I can look at the menu, as long as I don’t order anything. And some guys blame others: If she would do THAT, then I wouldn’t have to do THIS.
 
Step 3: Assuming our disobedience won’t cost us. Just like Samson, we keep thinking, I’ll just do the same thing I did last time. I’ll shake myself free. But our sins always overtake us eventually and overpower us. Your sin will find you out. Today you’ll see what that looked like for Samson.
 
Samson was a warrior strong enough to kill a thousand men. He was strong enough to rip a lion apart with his bare hands. He was strong enough to pull 700-hundred-pound doors from their posts and carry them off. But in the end, he wasn’t strong enough to lead the people he should have been leading.
 
Don’t settle for being strong in your career. Don’t settle for being strong in your hobbies or at some sport. Don’t settle for being strong physically. Instead, focus your strength on leading those around you toward righteousness. Men can be strong in all kinds of ways, but most leave leadership to others.
 
A lot of guys seem to think they can keep getting away with doing the same things over and over. They let their emotions and their impulses dictate their actions. Samson kept going to places he shouldn’t, chasing forbidden women, antagonizing his enemies, and then justifying his bad behavior (through lust, anger, or revenge). He suffered a few emotional consequences, but nothing that ever cost him the one thing he seemed to care about most, that thing he relied on: his strength. Until it did.
 
Don’t let that be you. Don’t settle for being strong at things that don’t last and weak at things that do. Tap into the warrior within. Don’t fight meaningless battles. Fight for what matters most. Fight for your faith. Fight for your family. Fight for your life.