Our pastor focused on the story of Jacob & how manipulative he was. His manipulation lead to many, many broken relationships and a how even being successful was meaningless when his relationships were such a mess. All of us have conflicts with others and it's in these conflicts with others that we can realize something is actually out of whack in our relationship with God. Jacob was certainly struggling with God and one night it all came out...
I have never read this story and actually gotten out of it what I was supposed to. Jacob actually physically wrestled with God. He was frustrated with Him for a variety of reasons but the important issue that instead of walking away in denial of the problem, he faced God head on and fought with Him until he was satisfied with the answer. It's in the wrestling where healing comes. Consider any of your important, great relationships (your spouse, a best friend, your siblings, parents, etc.)...it's the intense discussions and communication that make those relationships strong. Those relationships never grow if we simply give in and ignore any issues that might arise.
"Jacob got them safely across the brook Jabbok along with all his
possessions. But Jacob stayed behind and was left alone in the camp, and a
Man came and wrestled with him until dawn. When the Man saw that he
couldn't win the match, he struck Jacob's hip and knocked it out of joint at the
socket. Then the Man said, 'Let me go, for it is dawn.' But Jacob panted,
'I won't let go unless you bless me.'" Genesis 32:23-26 (NLT/MSG)
The same goes with our relationship with God, the thing is...He is God. He can handle our emotions, big or small, happy or angry, He can take it and we're not going to hurt his feelings. Jacob fought with God until He promised to bless him and heal him of his problems in life. We need to have that kind of desire and commitment to having a life reflective of God's character.
Jacob's name meant deception and following his wrestling match with God, God changed his name to Israel (Prince of God). However, God didn't simply change his name...he TRANSFORMED Jacob's character and gave him a name that more resembled his new life. First we have to choose to give a name to our pain, our habits, or our struggles. Once we name it specifically, God can then give his a new life, a new name in which we can strive towards each day of our Christian walk. Because in the end, it is the struggle that becomes our strength.
We can truly be transformed into a new creation if we will CHOOSE to submit to God and accept His help in improving our character. Transformation certainly isn't an instant thing, but if we keep our focus on God & surround ourselves with thoughts and people who will help us, He will create us anew.
Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about
things that are pure...Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.
~ Philippians 4:8 LB