The blue-collar work ethic of Americanism remains a virtuous strength of our land. The drive and desire to achieve and accomplish has long fueled the machine of human progress. Someone waxing poetic and patriotic fails to see that unbridled ambition can easily become an indulgence. While dreaming, working, and conquering are evidence of those who envelop American spirit, can a focus on personal accomplishment blind us to the purpose of our Creator?
One such man whose ambition caused him to fail to follow God’s purpose was Samson. A Nazarite from birth, he had taken a vow to abstain from immorality and to conform to a strict code of conduct. This oath included not shaving any hair on his head, abstaining from wine and alcohol and avoiding being near a corpse. As long as Samson was faithful to this vow, God showed him his divine favor – and he accomplished many wonderful acts as a judge of the Children of Israel.
Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” Our ways can seem right to us as long as we get what we want. But getting our own way is never a true indicator of God’s approval.
As Samson matured into a young man, his appetite for pleasing himself increased. His abilities and strength spoiled him into expecting only the result of his will. As the appetite of his desires grew, Samson’s vow and God’s purpose soon had little influence over the decisions he made.
Samson’s decisions established a path that led away from God and toward a road of broken vows and disappointments. On this road, he found honey in the carcass of a lion. Breaking his vow, Samson found sweetness amid that which was dead and crawling with maggots. He found love among his enemies and he lost his eyesight as he lost his vision of God’s plan for his life. He also lost his life.
This way of self-will remains a well-travelled road. Too many decide to traverse this path and ignore God’s direction. They give little thought to God’s will or to the promise they gave to serve God with all of their heart, soul, mind, and strength. The vows of serving God, being faithful to a marriage or honest with their fellow man are quickly abandoned because a more convenient, self-satisfying option is made available. Therefore, many decide, and go and do with little thought for God’s purpose or approval.
James 4:15 reminds us that we “ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live, and do this or that.” When was the last time you bridled your ambitions and considered God’s plan for you? It takes time to consider, listen, and wait upon God. This solemn time of seeking God exhibits a pure desire to please Him and not ourselves. In finding and doing His will we will find “the blessing of the Lord maketh rich and he adds no sorrow with it.” (Proverbs 10:22)
by M Karns