Judges 16:20-21 “And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the LORD was departed from him. But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.”
Often, when reading the Word of God, some passages truly make my heart sink. The account of Samson and his stupid play with the gift of God saddens me every time I read it.
This sadness is not for Samson, nor for the outcome of his foolish choices. No, the thing that pains my heart is the direct application of the truth that reveals my own spiritual condition.
One never wants to admit failure or weakness, yet, in so doing, we can instruct others how to cope, how to manage, and how to process a situation or circumstance that is particularly difficult. In the spiritual realm, admitting that God is not with us, for us, or not filling us is seemingly spiritual suicide for a pastor or leader.
I have had to consider this as I mentor folks who are coming back to God after a life of bondage or those who have never known the sweetness of His presence.
When we can relate to those we mentor, disciple and teach on a level they can relate, the truth will hit home and stick because there is a connection made. But to talk of the Holy Spirit; His fulness and our relationship with Him in light of our neglect are humbling.
That name; Ichabod, comes from a passage that gives the definition.
1 Samuel 4:21 “And she named the child I-chabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.”
The Spirit had left Samson. The glory of Israel had departed. And when we fail to be filled with the Holy Spirit, we fail those we serve.
I had stood to preach, to sing and to teach when I knew I was not right with God nor filled with His Spirit. At times there were some results that could have spoken to fruit gotten by the hand of God. But I knew in my heart of hearts that it was in spite of me – not because I was filled with the Holy Spirit.
It amazes me to think that the God of Heaven hasn’t given up on me! My life has not been without chastisement for the wrongdoing. But to know that I can never lose the indwelling of the Holy Spirit has an absolute comfort to it.
Samson was given a fantastic gift.
He had strength and power and with it, influence. Yet, he used it carelessly; foolishly. God knew even before he was born that he would not accomplish all that He would have wanted.
Judges 13:5 “For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no rasor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.”
He could have fully delivered Israel out of the hands of the Philistines – but he didn’t. Nor does the Word of God say that. I cannot help but think what would have happened had Samson stayed on the straight and narrow.
And what of us?
What if we went off to our jobs today filled with the Holy Spirit? Guided, directed and filled with God’s power, who could we help? Where would we go? What could we do?
I often see how churches today have long departed from having the desire to be a Spirit-filled body that is wholly desirous of being used by Almighty God to affect their community for Christ. To be the casual observer or even the critic will do nothing for the cause of Christ.
We will only be furthering the devil’s agenda of division and destruction.
Today, the only one I can affect with this truth is me. My marriage needs a Holy Spirit filled husband. My children need a Spirit-filled Dad. My family needs a Spirit-filled brother, and my coworkers need me to be Spirit-filled and Spirit-led.
It all comes down to a choice.
For me, I choose to bathe in the blood of Jesus Christ for cleansing and ask; no, beg for God to use me.
I have seen the fruit of what the Spirit-filled life can do. I know what it is to be led when teaching, preaching, singing and even in personal relationships. To want anything else is selfish and self-serving.
Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”