Stop the Striving!
A man came and fought with Jacob until just before daybreak. When the man saw that he could not win, he struck Jacob on the hip and threw it out of joint. They kept on wrestling until the man said, “Let go of me! It’s almost daylight.” “You can’t go until you bless me,” Jacob replied. Then the man asked, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be Israel.”(Genesis 32:24-28 – Contemporary English Version)
Even before birth, Jacob, whose name means deceiver, was in a struggle. Since birth, he had pushed his way through life, doing whatever was necessary to make it. He took advantage of others, and thought nothing of deceiving to get his way. One night of wrestling with an angel (the angel was possibly Jesus Himself!) changed Jacob from deceiver to Israel, prince with God. After that night of struggle, He walked with a limp. He was never the same again. His character was transformed.
Don’t ever give up on yourself. No matter how long you’re struggled with issues in your life, keep going forward! The Lord can transform you. It usually requires that you come to the end of yourself just like Jacob. When his best human efforts failed, Jacob finally realized his need to yield to God’s plan for his life, and he changed. His walking with a limp was an outward sign of his inward submission.
Moses was transformed at the burning bush. David was transformed from a shepherd to mighty warrior when he faced Goliath. Peter was transformed after denying Jesus and being filled with shame. The power of God’s mercy created within him a pastor’s heart. Saul was converted on the Damascus Road and was transformed into Paul, one of the greatest men of the church age.
In my own life, I was an extreme introvert, ruled by fear and rejection thinking. My only sense of value was through accomplishment. When I came to the end of my own ability, I found God’s grace to change. He replaced the fear with genuine love, the rejection with a knowing that I am accepted in the beloved, and the goodness by works attitude with a knowing that it’s not my deeds, but His grace that make me acceptable to God. Take your personal frustrations with yourself and take your failures to the foot of the cross. Lay them by faith at the feet of Jesus. Humble yourself to Him and like Jacob, he will change your name! He’ll create in you the ability to be what He has called you to be.
At the end of your self-striving to accomplish, to be something, or to succeed, you’ll find the power of God to transform. But you must be willing like Jacob to walk with a limp.