Most commonly in the Hellenist culture of first century Christianity a disciple was known as not just a follower but as an adherent to the instruction of the one they followed. I am Christian who is taking discipleship seriously and hoping to inspire others to do the same along the way. Many followed Christ; few adhered to His teaching.
last time I wrote to you I told you that I was in the middle of my fight with
God. I am determined to strive with God until I receive the blessing that He
spoke to me. Jacob is not our only example of Biblical characters fighting with
God but the story of his all night struggle with the angel is a great example
of what it takes to win a fight with God. So, while it is my desire in this
blog post to inspire you to fight there are a few things you need to
know before you go picking fights with God.
you must remember who God is and what He has told you. In order to strive with God
concerning the blessings and promises He has made to and for you there must be an understanding that He is able to fulfill those promises and what they are. The struggles of this world and our tendency
to withdraw from Him when in the middle of our earthly struggles can overshadow
the knowledge we have of Him causing us to see Him and His desires for us
incorrectly. We must remember that He is God and we are not. We must remember
that He is for us…You must remember that He is for you!
you remind yourself of who you, who He is and whose you are it is imperative
that you know the blessing He has promised to you. Otherwise, you will begin to
believe the lies of Satan that says He is against us or that we have misheard
His promises. This is the same method the serpent used on Eve. The lie told to
Eve in the garden was that God was for Himself and that she misunderstood. This
lie implied God withholds something of Himself from us in an effort to remain
above us; separate from us. This is the lie Satan still uses today. If we adopt this concept it won’t matter what
He tells us or does we will interpret His motives and desires incorrectly.
The next part of Satan’s lie is that we either
have misunderstood or cannot understand. If we adopt this part of the lie then
we will always live a life on shifting sand. To say that God never changes but not
know who He is leads us to instability. To say God gave us His Word so that we can know
and be sure of Him and then say we cannot understand His word is to build a
house on shifting sand. Jacob knew God and the promises of blessing God had
spoken to Him. He was not afraid to call God out.
God far above us? Yes.
His ways like our ways? No.
Is God far beyond mere human comprehension? Absolutely.
it arrogant to say I can know God and understand His Word? No!
To say that I as a child of God
cannot know Him or understand His Word is arrogance.
We have been given the Holy Spirit. We have
been given the mind of Christ. We have been given everything necessary for life
and health and peace. We have been given the spirit of power, of love and of a
sound mind. Through the death and resurrection of Christ we have been reborn.
Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we have been given the ability to
know and understand God and His Word.
To say that I cannot know these things
makes us more powerful than God because we are claiming that our fallen limited
human state is more powerful than the ability of the Holy Spirit to overcome
it. We have become more powerful than God.
also make God a liar we when claim these things. Look at all the scripture that
talks about our ability to know God and His Word.
1 Chronicles 28:9, Jeremiah 29:13,
James 4:8-10, Matthew 7:7-8, Jeremiah 24:7, Proverbs 2:1-6, 2 Chronicles 15:2,
Jeremiah 17:10, Psalm 9:10, Jeremiah 9:24, Isaiah 45:19, John 17:3,
2 Corinthians 4:6, John 14:26, John
16:13, 1 John 2:27, Luke 12:12, 1 Corinthians 2:10, 12-13,
We see in
scripture example upon example of God’s desire to be known by us both personally
and for us to know His Word. We see countless examples of those who did understand
and know Him both on a personal level as well as His Word.
verses from the list above that should end this debate of whether or not we as
born again believers can know and understand God and His Word for me are found
in 1 Corinthians 2:10-16
ForTO USGod revealedthemTHROUGH THE SPIRIT;
for the Spirit searches all things, EVEN THE DEPTHS
OF GOD. For who among men knows the thoughts of
a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of
God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not
the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that WE MAY KNOWthe things freely given to us by God, which things we
also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by
the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.
But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of
God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them,
because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual
appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who
has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But WE HAVE THE MIND OF CHRIST.
knew this and was confident in it. He let God know that he understood he had a
knowledge of and history with God. He also reminds God of the blessings He has
spoken over his life and in this confirms the he himself knows what has been
spoken over his life by God.
then finished with an acknowledgement of his understanding of who he is on his
own. Through Jacob’s own confession he acknowledges that God is loving and
faithful and that he is not. He acknowledges the provision that God has already
provided for him and that he would not be where he was without the power of God
on his side. He then goes on further to acknowledge his fear and complete
dependence upon God for deliverance.
things are the essentials in picking a fight with God. If you don’t know who
God is, who you are both with him and without him, the blessings He has already
spoken over your life and your inability to deliver yourself in any situation I
don’t suggest you pick a fight with God just yet. After all, can you really
know what you are fighting for if you don’t know these things? I’m not saying
you can’t strive with God if you don’t know these things but I am telling you
that your fight will be considerably longer without them.
next, essential component in a fight with God is honesty. Jacob was completely
transparent with God. He admitted that he was afraid. He admitted that he
desired his own personal safety as well as the safety of his family. Jacob
wasn’t trying to sound spiritual in order to get God’s attention or gain His
approval. Jacob got down to the nitty gritty and God respected it.
If you are
going to win your fight with God you must have honesty. You have to admit to
God what it is that you are truly after.
again, I feel I must warn you that if you don’ t know what you are after in your
fight with God or if you insist on putting on airs with God in an attempt to
impress Him with your religion your fight will last a lot longer than you want
and possibly can endure.
You cannot win a fight with God without complete gut
wrenching honesty. So God will wrestle with you until He gets you to the point
where gut wrenching honesty is all you have left.
The next component in winning a fight with God is probably one of the most
overlooked yet most important for endurance. Are you ready for it? Get ready to
have your mind blown!
doesn’t fight fair so neither should you.
This is essential to understand or you may quit the fight believing that what happens next in your fight should be interpreted as punishment for engaging in the fight in the first place.
Now, I feel like this part needs a bit more explanation than the rest so I want to give you two examples of what I mean.
The first comes from the lessons
Europeans learned concerning warfare from the Native Americans. Europeans
fought battles in a way that frankly I have never understood. They would stand
in infantry lines at close quarters with their enemy who did the same and fire shots.
I remember as a child thinking how completely stupid this way of
Native Americans on the other hand used the resources their
surroundings gave them to their advantage in warfare. They used trees as
shields and hiding places, they would fire off arrows and guns from whatever
vantage point best lent itself to their success. They used poison from native
plants and animals to inhibit their enemies ability to fight and so on. This
makes sense to me. Europeans learned quickly in their battles with the Native
American tribes that they had to adjust their fighting style or become accustom
One of Washington’s generals, General Forbes is quoted as saying,
“We must comply and learn the art of war from enemy Indians.”
My second example
comes from the term street fighting. There is a vast
difference between the rules of fighting in a boxing ring versus street
fighting. In a boxing ring there are referees to make sure everyone complies with the
rules and plays “fair.” On the street however, you do what it takes to win,
everyone knows it and no one complains.
is a street fighter.
in the story of Jacob and the angel they were wrestling and when the angel
realized that He was not winning He employed street fighting tactics or Indian warfare.
He used the weakness of his opponent to his advantage.
When he saw that he had not prevailed
against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh
was dislocated while he wrestled with him.
So then what is the exact significance of God’s
touching Jacob upon the socket of his thigh?
“The sinew of the thigh is the strongest in the
human body. A horse could scarcely tear it apart.” God had to break us down at
the strongest part of our self-life before He can have His own way of blessing
God when He saw that Jacob was not going to give up in this fight touches him on the
strongest part of his body and dislocates it!
That’s street fighting at its
McConkey had it right in his statement above. God was testing Jacob to
see just how much he was invested in this fight he had picked before he would
bless him. God wanted to prove Jacob’s commitment. It is said that Jacob limped
from that day on but I don’t that that this can be proven. This event did make
such an impact on Jacob and his people that the sinew of the thigh is not eaten
to this day in Israel.
this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the
socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob's thigh in the
sinew of the hip.
you going to pick a fight with God then there will be pain; God will make sure
of it. Why, because it is in the pain that we are purified. Just as McConkey
stated God will have to break you down at your strongest part so that He can
have His own way of blessing you. So be prepared for it. If you aren’t willing
to endure excruciating pain and keep fighting, if the blessing isn't worth the
price you have to pay then I suggest you don’t engage God in battle.
But if you are and if God is
going to employ street fighting tactics then so must you.
fighters have something that ring fighters don’t; Desperation. Street fighters
are fighting from something deep within themselves. They are willing to pay any
price for the victory because they know they need it for survival. Ring
fighters rest in the safety of the referees call for fairness. Street fights
aren’t about fairness they are about who needs the victory more. Jacob had been
street fighting since before he was born. He was conceived as a soul desperate
for the blessing. From the grabbing of
his brothers heal, to the stolen birthright, to wrestling with an angel and telling
“I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
12:3-4 tells us that Jacob wept and sought the blessing in the fight.
In the womb he took his
brother by the heel, and in his maturity he contended with God. Yes, he
wrestled with the angel and prevailed; He wept and sought His favor.
He found Him at Bethel and there He spoke with us,
There was something in Jacob that knew the
only way to get ahead in life was to obtain the blessing and he was not going to
quit until he got it.
about you? Do you desire the blessing more than life like Jacob?
understand that the only, and I can’t stress this enough…the ONLY way to get ahead
in this life or the next is to obtain the blessing?
you desperate for it?
you aren’t’ then you certainly won’t win because it is precisely this desperation
that inspires the determination to see the fight through to the end even in the
midst of excruciating pain. It is this desperation along with the understanding
of who God is and who you are that will see you through to the end in victory.
is a price to be paid in picking a fight with God and it will hurt. Consider
the cost or you may just come out of your fight with nothing more than a limp.
word yaqa that we find in verse
Genesis 32:25 means to dislocate but it also means to alienate.
(429b); a prim. root; to be dislocated
see that both happened to Jacob in his striving with God.
First God, alienated
Jacob from his brother then he was alienated from his wealth and his family
which is how he ended up alone on this side of the river where God began the
God brings the pain by making the alienation very real and personal for Jacob.
He alienated Jacob from his own health, personal strength and comfort. Jacob endured great pain as a result of
picking this fight with God and you will too. Jacob on the other hand gained a
victory that far outweighed the pain. We can too if we are willing to endure.
if you are going to pick a fight with God and win you must be completely
committed to the fight. No matter what don’t quit until something changes; exert
yourself, persevere; commit to the struggle.
again at the conversation between Jacob and the angel in the middle of their
Use your imagination.
Jacob has the angel pinned to the ground
maybe with his hand on his chin forcing his face into the dirt.
manages to mumble in a strained breathless voice, “Let me go, for
the dawn is breaking.”
Jacob loudly fires back
with a determined yet pain filled, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
The angel replies, “What
is your name?” and he hears a determinedly defiant response from his opponent,
Then something amazing
happens. Jacob wins!
“Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with
God and with men and have prevailed.”
From that point on
Jacob would be known as the one who strives with God. Not just Jacob but an
entire nation of people would be known as the ones who strive with God.
what the name Israel means: he who strives with God; God strives.
We as believers,
Children of God, are to be known as a people who strive. Scripture tells us to
contend for the faith. Paul tells us to fight the good fight. We are to be a
picture of Christ to the world and Christ was a fighter.
If we look at the
progression of Jacob’s fight with God we see the same things in the life of
Christ. Christ was alienated from all of these things. He was alienated from
His wealth, His family, His brothers and sisters, and lastly from His physical health, strength, and comfort. He didn’t let go until He obtained the victory. We should
fight just as hard.
What you will learn in
your fight with God, what I have learned so far is that I am not fighting
against what I thought from the beginning. I am not fighting for what I thought
form the beginning.
But God knew. He knew what my heart needed and wanted. He
knew what I was fighting for and so He was happy and excited to engage in the
battle with me because God not only loves a good fight…He loves a good fighter.
So go ahead, pick a fight with God.
Do it right and see if you don’t come out blessed!
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update.
(1995). (Ge 32:24–25). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.
P. L. (1996). Encyclopedia of 7700
Illustrations: Signs of the Times (p. 1404). Garland, TX: Bible