You know sometimes I think I have lived most of my life afraid. Sometimes I wonder if I really know who I am at all. I love reading my Bible and meditating on the word, but sometimes I have to ask myself if I really believe what I am reading. I’m talking about really believing; it’s one thing to say you believe or even think you believe but what does believing look like.
I take the word of God as it is, and I believe in all that the Bible says, but sometimes I wonder if when I leave my Bible study session what I have just read has even sunk in properly. For example, sometimes I will read a story like David and Goliath, a story about faith, boldness and Gods’ deliverance. Now I really do believe in the victory that God gave David, I really do believe it happened, and while reading I believe it can happen for me too.
So why is it that at times I can leave such a powerful scripture, go out the door to work, and literally be worried and scared stiff with normal day to day challenges?
How am I going to pay that bill, how am I going to win this court case, how am I going to get married when I’m single, how am I going to overcome the 1000 challenges I have facing me. These are just some of the worries I have personally experienced (and yes court cases, I’ve been sued a few times in my youth – see my other posts).
Honestly – sometimes when I sit down have to ask myself if I really believe. Sometimes I have to be real and ask myself – “If you really, really believed even ten percent of what you’ve just read, what would your life be like?”
So what does belief and faith look like?
Now everyone knows the story of Samson, a man who was given extraordinary strength from the Lord. People don’t usually look at Samson as a prime example of faith, but for me he shows one of the most awesome displays of it in the Bible.
I want to look specifically at what he did in his last moments, but you can read the full story of Samson in Judges chapters 14,15 16.
Judges 16 vs 23-30 (NIV)
23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagontheir god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”
24 When the people saw him, they praised their god, saying,
“Our god has delivered our enemy
into our hands,
the one who laid waste our land
and multiplied our slain.”
25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them.
When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the Lord, “Sovereign Lord, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
Many people wonder why Samson was listed among the heroes of faith in Hebrews 11, and many do not think of him as a great example to use. But when I read this passage I am in awe. THAT’s what believing and faith looks like!
There are a few things Samson does here that are truly incredible and examples for us all. Firstly in these verses Samson is at His lowest. His lifestyle and many foolish choices have lead him to this point. Now blind and without the strength he once took for granted, he is being mocked by the very people he was meant to defeat.
What is incredible is despite that Samson still calls upon God. He may have been blinded physically, but mentally he still saw God for who He was – the God that answers prayers. Furthermore, before he even opened his mouth to pray he instructed the servant who held his hand to lead him to the pillars. Now these are the pillars he intended to pull down, but this was a man who now had been completely stripped of his super human powers.
Why tell the servant to lead him to the pillars when he hadn’t even prayed yet? Because he knew God was listening and he KNEW GOD ANSWERS. Imagine that?
Samson wasn’t placing his faith in his current condition – blind, weak, imprisoned. Samson was placing his faith in who God was – caring, rescuing, forgiving, restoring His people, answering their calls. He was down to absolutely nothing, but he knew even with nothing a man has everything and certain victory with God.
Not only that, but further on in verse 30 we see Samson pushed with all his might. He didn’t just push, but he pushed with everything he had. Now if that’s not believing, I don’t know what is.
This is a perfect example of prayer and action together, a lot of the time we pray and leave as if God didn’t answer the call. God is always working even when we are not. We need to know and believe He is who He says he is. It is us believing and ultimately our faith which pleases God.
Hebrews 11 vs 6 (NIV)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
God loves it when His people stand in faith and we cannot truly please him if we don’t walk in it. Looking at the above verse we often seek God, but do it without expecting anything. The truth is that God rewards all those who diligently and faithfully seek him, that means your prayers, cries and calls will carry a reward. When we ask God for something we must believe that He is able to do it:
James 1 vs 6-8 (NIV)
6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.
The point is we must act in faith not only speak it. We have the word of God which shows us what God has done over the ages and what He wants to also do for us now and forever more. Yes there once lived a Joshua, a David, a Samson, a Jehoshaphat, an Elijah – but now we have YOU and me!
James 5 vs 17 (NIV)
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.
They are no different to us, and in fact we have more available to us under the new dispensation of the Holy Spirit. We can do even greater works.
Now we know God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and sound mind. Whatever it is you may be dealing with, I want to say God is bigger than all of that. Just trust Him and face things head on, resting fully in the knowledge that God has got you.
I pray that we shall come to a place where we all see His might manifested in our lives in a truly awesome way. I pray that the Lord will strengthen us as we step out in faith.
God Bless x