Greeting in Christ’s name. Welcome, we’re pressing on, discovering what pleases God. Apostle Paul said, “Find out what pleases the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:10b) Here’s a reality you won’t see fleshed out on any reality TV show: If you please God it doesn’t matter who you displease. If you displease God it doesn’t matter who you please. What’s the indispensable factor in pleasing God – do you know? Right – it’s faith. Here’s how the Bible projects it: “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.” (Hebrews 11:6) Zoom in tight on rewards; God rewards us as we earnestly exercise “pleasing faith”. When we earnestly exercise pleasing faith we are usually pleased by God. However, if we claim to have faith, but do not earnestly commit to pleasing God, we usually are not pleased by God. The key is the difference between claiming to have faith and committing to living our faith.

What is faith? Faith is living by what we say we believe about God! Here’s a true story of a dissatisfied believer who had a very unpleasant life. His faith pleased neither him nor his God – nor anyone who lived around him. His faith fizzled and he fizzled it. His claim to faith was invalid.

His name is Samson – the strongest/weakest man in the Bible. He was a mass of misguided muscle – a he-man with a me-weakness compounded by a she-weakness. Know anything about him? His story is told in Judges, chapters 13-16, in the Old Testament. Samson disconnected his faith in God from his lifestyle – primarily so he could please himself. The only “trinity” in his life was “me, myself and I”. He was a train wreck.

So why investigate his biography? Because we must know how to avoid failure if we’re going to win in life. We’ve got to know what makes faith work before we can put it to work in our life. Putting it to work in life is what pleases God!

You must delve into his life in Judges. I can only state the obvious here. Besides, a personal study brings about the greatest benefits. In this case, even a negative example can bring positive results – if we get it.

God gave Samson a blessing, but he bombed out. He caused a hairy problem. God endowed him with amazing strength. His long hair, not to be cut, was the symbol of his faith, his vow to God, his source of strength. He was to protect it and nurture it at all costs. His name means “distinguished”. He was to distinguish himself as a “strong man for God”. It didn’t happen. He could have been a mighty man of God with a good relationship with his parents, a fulfilling marriage, children, strong character, influence with people and leadership in his nation. He could have been pleasing to God and a pleasure to live with – including living with himself. Instead, he rejected his parent’s counsel, chose to marry an unbeliever, repeatedly exploded in destructive anger, visited a prostitute and finally settled on fickle Delilah for a lustful sexcapade and a disastrous haircut. It happened because he fizzled his faith.

As a result of his faithless, carnal choices he reaped a whirlwind of consequences. Delilah had his head shaved while he slept. He jerked awake ready to flex – but baldness and bad decisions had nixed his strength. Scripture says he didn’t even realize that God’s Spirit had departed along with his unused, useless faith. His captors then blinded him, bound him and had him grinding at the grindstone – a laughingstock.

Some time later, his captors brought him out for sport. His hair had grown back, his strength returned. He was positioned at the pillars of a pagan temple, which he brought down upon their heads – and his.

Sampson “shoulda, woulda, coulda” taken care of his hair – his faith applied to life to please God. But he didn’t. Maybe he can help us to know that if we please God it doesn’t matter who we displease, if we displease God it doesn’t matter who we please.

Take care of your faith and and God’s faithfulness with take care of you. Don’t let anybody cut it. But especially don’t fizzle it yourself.

Love in Christ, Chuck

P.S.: Share your “hair” story? Let me hear from you.