Tuesday, February 12, 2008


DAY 14 Winning Edge Devotions

GEN. 32: 24-32 (A PARAPHRASE)
Then Jay was left alone and a man fought with him until daybreak. And when he saw that Jay would not quit fighting, he touched Jay and hurt him; so much that Jay hurt as he fought with him. Then He said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But Jay said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” So He said to him, “What is your name?” And Jay said, “Schemer” And he said “Your name shall no longer be schemer, but “God Striver”; for you have devoted serious energy with God and with men and have prevailed.” Then Jay asked him and said, “Are you God, Do you care?” And Jesus blessed Jay there- even as Jay was sweating, and hurting, and bleeding. So Jay named the time of suffering “the face of God” for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed the river to a new adventure, and Jay was limping, but Jay was blessed….it was time to receive even more blessing.

Life is a series of battles, there is no way around it. The passage above is really the story of Jacob and all of the circumstances God used to change him from the inside out. Jacob’s name means “schemer” or “deceiver” and he spent much of his life as a manipulator. He would lie, cheat, steal or do anything to get his way.

Then, through a series of hard circumstances, Jacob was left to struggle. The struggles began producing the fruit of character. It finally culminated in this epic story of Jacob wrestling with God. In this struggle, Jacob was given a new name and a new destiny. But the road of progress always includes pain.

I substituted my name in the above passage because I have experienced hard times in the Lord. Now, the Lord laughs at what I call ‘hard’- my suffering is nothing compared to what many others have had to endure. But I have felt betrayal and disappointment, loneliness and despair. There have been dark moments where I believed my whole life was going to crumble.
In football, I have had some bitter losses and deep, painful experiences.
Put your name in the passage above, can we persevere like this?

There are two very important points in this process. The first one is to keep fighting. Jacob wrestled with the Lord all night. In the darkest moments when all seems lost, we need to keep striving. We need a rugged disposition to fight to the bitter end.

A second important point though is seen in the tactic. The Lord jumped Jacob and wrestled with him. I imagine that early on, Jacob tried to get out of the choke hold. Then, during the night, Jacob changed his plan. Instead of fighting against God, he began to cling to Him. God said to Jacob, “Let me go” and Jacob said, “Not until You bless me”. WOW!

Are you struggling in life? Have you considered pressing into God instead of running? Do you have a battle-hardened spirit that says, “God, You may kill me, but I am not quitting until this comes through.”
You will find blessing. And you will have scars and limps. But that is OK- Jesus kept His scars too! They are marks of victory!

Lord, thank you for the hard road. Give me the strength and courage to fight. Help me to press into You and cling to You… no matter the cost!

No comments: