Samson was an incredibly strong man. The Lord gave him his strength, and as long as he kept his vow secret, he was safe. No man or band of men could defeat him, but a woman named Delilah did. The Bible says, “And it came to pass, when she pestered him daily with her words and pressed him, so that his soul was vexed to death, that he told her. all his heart” (Judges 16:16-17). She conquered him through sheer persistence.
The devil does not give up. He is extremely persistent. He will repeat the same temptation a thousand times if that is what it takes. It is true that if we resist the devil, he will flee from us (James 4:7). But he always returns at an opportune time (Luke 4:13). When he does, the temptation is often the same. It just has a slightly different appearance.
It is said that the key to real estate is location, location, location. It also said that the key to education is repetition, repetition, repetition. The devil’s key to temptation is persistence. He knows our weak points and exploits them. He does not even consider giving us a break. Mercy is not in his thinking. He never plays fair. Just when we are at our lowest, he hits us the hardest. Like Delilah, he keeps pounding us with temptation knowing that we will object. But he also knows that if he keeps trying we may give in.
The forms may be different today, but the temptations are the same ones Satan used in the Bible. He provokes us by things we see, hear, and feel. He lures us with “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16). He tries to cast doubt in our minds and beat us down so that we become so discouraged we want to quit. With some the test is alcohol, sex, or greed. With others it is loneliness and heartache. The devil may attack us through the internet, a false teacher, or even a friend or family member. Whatever the means, he uses them over and over.
There are power-mad people in this world who are calculating and persistent in their goals. Islamists have no intention of letting up on their efforts to impose sharia. The gay, lesbian, and transgender community has spread throughout our culture simply because they refuse to take no for an answer. Global politicians are relentless in trying to convince us that climate change is the moral issue of our time. It is not facts, logic, or truth that is their weapon. It is persistence.
How can we win against an enemy like this? By beating the devil at his own game. By being just as persistent as he is. By repeating “It is written” just as Jesus did (Matt. 4:1-10). By remembering to “pray without ceasing” because “men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (1 Thess. 5:17; Luke 18:1). By searching the Word of God daily and meditating on it day and night (Acts 17:11; Psa. 1:2). So “let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Gal. 6:9). May God give us strength to “hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end” (Heb. 3:6). – Kerry Duke, West End church of Christ, Livingston, TN