Have you ever made the wrong assumption about something? If we’re honest, we all have. There was a guy who wanted me to hire him for sales, but he didn’t dress the part for the interview. Everyone else showed up in a suit, but this guy wasn’t even wearing a tie. When I asked questions, everyone sat up, looked me in the eye and gave confident answers. Not this guy. He slouched in his chair and barely looked up at me when answering. He seemed to lack the confidence to be in sales, but he had all the answers I was looking for. My wife suggested it was easier to train him how to present himself rather than to teach someone else the core values I was looking for. I hired him, and he was one of the best hires I ever made.
It’s easy to look at someone and make judgments about them because they don’t measure up to our expectations. That’s what happened to Jesus. He was born in the right town, but the people expected great fanfare for the Messiah. He became a great teacher, but He didn’t teach what they thought He should teach. They assumed He would fight the Romans and free Israel, but when that clearly wasn’t His plan, they assumed He wasn’t the Messiah and crucified Him. They thought they had God’s plan figured out, but their assumptions were wrong. They’re not alone.
We all make incorrect assumptions about who God is and what His plan is. One of the biggest misconceptions is that God is angry and is waiting for us to do something wrong so He can zap us. John 3:16-17 says, “For this is how much God loved the world—he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life. “God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it!” (TPT) God didn’t send Jesus to condemn you to Hell. He was sent to reconcile you to God. He loves us so much that He didn’t conform to our expectations, but instead died in our place so that we could live eternally in His place. If you’ve made the wrong assumptions about God, Christmas is a great time, to change your mind.
Photo by Andrew Seaman on Unsplash
There’s an exercise I do with people to show how our minds jump to conclusions and we assume. We observe a conversation where a lot of things are left open, and then I ask them questions about it. The group doesn’t know that I’m exposing how their brain works. As I ask the questions, they typically make assumptions. I keep asking questions to get as much detail from them as I can to see how much they’ve made up.
I keep asking questions until someone inevitably says, “I don’t know.” I then go back to what was said and ask, “So what do we really know?” I sometimes have to go through it several times before they get it. Most of the answers they give are based on their assumptions and not on what they know. I then like to ask, “How much of your life is based on what you’re assuming versus what you know?” It’s a heavy question that I usually leave several seconds of silence after while they think.
Job was a righteous man in the Bible. He honored God in all he did and even fell down to worship God when he lost his kids and his wealth. As time went on and he was struck with boils, his friends began to question his integrity. In their conversations back and forth, it’s clear that they make many assumptions about his predicament and how God is doing it to Him. They don’t know that Satan is behind the whole thing and is the one tormenting Job.
In Job 19:25, Job makes a great statement. He says, “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives” (NLT). We may not know why we go through certain things or why things happen, but we can know that our redeemer lives. We can live with assurance that He is in control and our lives are in His hands. We need to stop our assumptions that God is behind everything bad that happens in our lives. We know that it’s the enemy who steals, kills and destroys. It’s God who brings life. So they next time things happen, don’t make decisions based on assumptions. Go with what you know.
One of the most frightening verses in the Bible to me is Judges 16:20. Samson was a judge of Israel and probably the strongest man who ever lived. He was given supernatural strength at times in his life and was used by God to fight the Philistines. We all know how Delilah tricked him into telling the secret of his strength. When she had his hair cut off while he was sleeping, she let Philistines in the house to capture him. Verse 20 says, “Then she shouted, ‘Samson! The Philistines are coming!’ He woke up, thought, ‘I’ll get loose and go free, as always.’ He did not know (realize) that the Lord had left him.”
The first thing that stood out to me is that the enemy is coming. There’s not a time as a believer that the enemy is not coming for us. He is always behind the scenes trying to get to the source of our strength. He knows that if he can get to our source, he can cause us to fall. Like Samson, he wants to bind us up and blind us spiritually. The enemy desires to make each one of us as ineffective as possible. We must stand guard against him. I Peter 5:8 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”
The next thing I saw is that Samson became complacent with the gifts God had given him. He assumed that what had always worked in the past would work in the future. He felt like he was above sin. He thought he could play with fire and not get burned because he had always gotten away with it. Numbers 32:23 says, “You may be sure that your sin will find you out.” Just because you’ve sinned and haven’t had major consequences in the past doesn’t mean you won’t get them in the future. Don’t become so complacent with sin that you think God will always overlook it.
The last thing that frightens me is that he didn’t even realize that God had left him. Since he was a young boy, the Lord’s spirit had been with him. It had become normal for him to experience it. For some reason, he forgot that his strength was supernatural and thought it was his own. He relied less on God’s presence and more on his own wisdom. When we do that, we push God’s presence out if our lives. God expects us to get our spiritual strength from him and to not rely on our works to save us. In II Corinthians 12:9, God reminded Paul that it wasn’t about him. He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
Samson’s biggest problem was assumption. He assumed that he would always be able to defeat the enemy and that it was his strength and not God’s. His assumptions caused him to lose the power of God in his life. When he repented, God was able to use him one more time to defeat the Philistines. He finally learned that it wasn’t about his ability, but God’s. He remembered that his strength came from God and not from within. When we do that, we can be prepared for any attack the enemy brings and defeat him in the strength of the Lord.