Judges 16:20 She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.
When I was in high school, I worked in the receiving department of a local store. Boxes of merchandise flowed in on rollers and it was my job to unload the boxes and palletize them. Once the merchandise was completely off loaded, I began the task of putting it away in the warehouse and getting it ready to stock the shelves.
The company provided knives to cut open the cardboard boxes, but I liked using my knife. It was one given to me by my Dad. I used it over and over on the boxes. But over time, as you can imagine, the knife became dull. What was once was razor sharp was dull. I hadn’t invested the time to keep the edge sharp on the knife. And I paid a price for that mistake
A dull knife indeed holds a danger that sharp knife does not. It takes more force by the person using the knife to get the job done. The person has to work much harder to do the same work that a sharp knife could do with much less effort. The danger comes when by forcing so hard with a dull knife, it slips off the work and ends up cutting the person.
You guessed it…That was me!
All I remember was the knife doing just that – slipping off the box I was opening and running across my other hand. Instantly, blood flowed as I grabbed my hand and made my way to the restroom to start cleaning it off. The damage was not because the knife was sharp. It was because I had to try so hard to make the knife do the same work!
In the story of Samson, he had become spiritually dulled. Delilah, his last romance, had worn him down, and seduced him to giving up the secret to his strength. Samson was certainly a man whose physical strength came from the Spirit of the Lord, but his spiritual strength waned. Samson enjoyed life…sometimes too much. And it cost him.
Judges 16:20 “But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him.”
Truly it saddens me to read that. How could he let himself become so spiritually dull that he missed the lack of God’s presence? It’s easy to point the finger like that and look down on Samson thinking,
“That’s not me God. You can count on me to stay sharp!”
And we maintain that attitude until a spiritual battle comes to our doorstep. And when we go out to fight, we sadly realize, as Samson did, that something was gravely wrong. Samson couldn’t fight the Philistines. They overcame him easily! His power, God’s presence in his life, had departed from him. The power wasn’t in the hair that was cut off, but in a responsive obedience to God. This is where Samson failed.
And we do the same. Listen to some of the words found in the dictionary that describe the word dull.
- Lacking interest
- Lacking excitement
- Lacking brightness
- Lacking vividness
Any of those sound familiar in your spiritual walk? It’s ok if you said yes – we’ve all been there at some point in our walk with Christ. We were once razor sharp. Each day we’d spend time in the Word and in prayer. We’d carve out and protect that precious time, making sure we’d keep it. Then we slip. We miss one devotion, one prayer time, then another and another. We then begin skipping small groups at our church. Soon the excitement we once felt as we opened the Bible is minimal and almost non-existent. There’s a vividness of God’s presence that’s difficult to see and feel. We begin to lack interest in discovering God resulting in lending the enemy a foothold into our lives.
Just like my knife, when we don’t sharpen ourselves through the Word, through time spent in prayer, and through time spent with other Christians in small groups, we become spiritually dull. Being a Christian is more than the single event of Salvation. That’s about as absurd as saying the marriage is over because the wedding is done. That’s not the end of the marriage! It’s only the beginning of a lifetime together!
So it is with our relationship with Christ. It moves past the single event of Salvation into a relationship that grows deeper as we spend time with Him. The deepness comes as we allow Him to work in our lives as we respond to the changes He desires. And that requires us to continually sharpen our lives on His sharpening stone. Indeed we live in a fallen world that dulls us spiritually if we let it. Its up to us to stay razor sharp in our spirits!
Where are you at spiritually? Ask yourself – Are you lacking interest in church? Is the excitement that was once there waning? Are you lacking the vividness of His will and presence? If so, then move closer! James says that if we move closer to God that God will move closer to us (James 4:8 paraphrased).
I’ll end on this note. Let’s say I am sitting on my couch at one end and Nicky is sitting at the other. I want to move closer to her and cuddle up to her, but just thinking about it will get me nowhere. I have to move myself to get closer to her. If I don’t, I’ll sit on my end of the couch…alone and cuddle-less.
It is the same with Christ (less the cuddle part). If my desire is to have a vivid and exciting relationship with Him, then I must move myself closer to Him. And as I draw myself to Him, He promises to move closer to us!
And that keeps me spiritually sharp!