I recently attended Holy Trinity in Cambridge and heard a great message preached by a young girl who had been a student there and who was now studying evangelism at 'the other place' (Oxford apparently). She preached on the (sad) life of Samson. I was hoping the message may appear on the HTC website as a recording - but it hasn't (yet) and as some of the main points hit home so forcefully here they are:
1.Samson was set apart but sleeping around.
In his case, quite literally, with the Philistines - people who followed false god's but also sleeping around with wrong ambitions, motivations and desires. He was sleeping around with many things that were contrary to his calling and which diluted his dedication to his Lord. What about us? As Christians (if you are) the bible makes it clear we are set apart (see 1 Peter 2:9 - 11 ) - BUT are we sleeping around with things and thoughts, activities and desires that are contrary to our calling and damaging to our discipleship - ouch, strike 1.
2.Next we saw how Samson was physically strong but morally and spiritually weak - he was spiritually gifted but not spiritually mature! He even reached a stage where he forgot that the gifts he had were from God - thinking he could simply 'perform at will' whenever he chose. Today, the church and individuals often confuse gifting with maturity - so much so that the two can easily, in our own minds at least, become equated! This is the time when we start to ask God to bless what WE do rather than spend time discerning where God's blessing lies and pursuing it in His strength. This is the territory where our giftings so easily become our goals. That which God gave us to ACHIEVE a goal - glorifying Him and do His bidding becomes the focus of our Christian life. We must get better at what we do for God..... we pursue what we do rather than God Himself! Strike 2.
In fact Samson had strayed so far down this road that he did not even know when God had left him (Judges 16:9) He stepped aside from the grace which set him apart. He went beyond the 'gift as goal' error and took up residence in the 'gift is my 'right'' camp. He treated the grace gifts from God as his 'God given rights' and that is a rapid descent into a lifestyle that is all about me rather than Him. Strike 2.5
Samson gave very little voice to his calling and did not realise that:
3. Being set apart for God is not the same as 'being sold out' for God!
How many of us are quite content to be set apart and do not hunger and strive to be 'sold out' for the King? Strike 3.......
Those are the main points in which I heard the Lord speak powerfully. And the hope - God called and used Samson despite his frailties - and there was never a time when the road back into the fullness of his calling and gifting was not available to Him. The Father was always there at the end of the driveway awaiting His return, ready to kill the fatted calf and behind the celebrations!
Fo you want a lifestyle 'aspiration'? Try: set apart and sold out for the King of Kings'
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