Bob Mayo. Stonepoint Member
I made a blog on Facebook last night that said, “I’m tired of wrestling with God. I always get pinned. It’s time for a change in strategy.” I seemed to get some interest in it, so I thought I would try to expand on it a bit. The post was based on a couple of things. One was I was reading in Genesis 32, where it talks about Jacob wrestling all night with God. The other thing was that we have been doing a series at Stonepoint entitled re:generation. Both of these have started me on a path that I really didn’t expect.
First, a little on Jacob. Actually, it seems like to me that Jacob had been wrestling with God all his life. In Chapter 32, after being gone from his home for over 20 years, he is going to have a run in with Esau for the first time since stealing his Birthright and Blessing. He is a afraid for what Esau might do. In verse 24 of the chapter it says that Jacob was left alone and he wrestled with God all night. At one point, the passage says God was not prevailing against Jacob so He dislocated his thigh.Toward morning, God told Jacob to let Him go but Jacob said he would not let go until God blessed him. Then we have this touching scent where God Changes Jacob’s name from Jacob (heel grabber) to Israel (one who wrestled with God). Then God blessed him.
I don’t know about you, but, especially in this last year, I feel like I have been wrestling with God. It has not been a pleasant match. 2015 was a year of being so aware of my sins and my inability to find victory, that I was at the point of giving up. Discouragement, self-pity and depression followed. And the problem was that few people knew about how much I was struggling. In my day to day encounters with people, I looked just fine and could put on a pretty good front. But down deep, I was dying inside. I don’t know if I ever thought of all this as wrestling with God, but I was aware that I was struggling with God to have my way in my life over His. I didn’t like all the struggles of the ministry and just felt like the responses of leadership to our problems were just wrong. At the same time, I didn’t particularly like what was happening to me in the ministry. It got so bad that I convinced myself that if I were to quit the ministry or die, none of the leaders would care one bit. I was fighting against my feelings about things and reality. I could see that I was becoming angry, unloving and bitter. I guess I could call this my time of wrestling with God. While I wanted to be godly and handle all this in a godly manner, at the same time I was aware of all the sins I mentioned above (anger, bitterness, etc.) and having no victory over them.
I apologize for making this a bit too personal and too much about me. But at the same time, I believe that we need to be honest and open about our struggles. So, all the above is the struggle. What is the answer? In my last blog, I talked about Pastor Brandon’s message last Sunday. He mentioned three steps that we need to take to begin to have victory over our sins and addictions. They were: 1. we need to admit that we are powerless to break our sins in our own power; 2. We need tobelieve that God has the power to fully restore us; and 3. We need to trust God with our lives and wills by accepting His grace through Jesus Christ.
This week’s message was a continuation of what Pastor Brandon covered last week. There are three more steps that he talked about. First, we need to take inventory. We need to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of our lives. If we don’t do this we will continue in the same sin pattern. When we do that, we hurt the people around us. God wants us to be healthy from the inside out (Ps. 51:6). But this can’t happen unless we take inventory of where we are. Second, we need toconfess. This requires that we confess to God, ourselves and others. This is not easy stuff. Why, 1 John 1:6-8 is important here. It says, if we say we have fellowship with Him yet walk in darkness, we are not truthful. Confession exposes the darkness. The passage also says, if we walk in the light, we have fellowship with one another. Finally, there is repentance. We repent when we are ready to turn around from our current pattern of sin. We make a decision that I will not remain in this sin pattern any longer. I am not talking about perfection here. But we do need to make the decision, that with God’s enabling grace, We will give up our sin and surrender ourselves totally to God.
Brothers and sisters, God wants us healed and healthy!! But as Pastor Brandon said this morning, it needs to be from the inside out. It needs to begin in our hearts. I am not pretending that this is a six step program to success. While our struggles and sins may be common to many, God works in each of us individually.
Regeneration is for all of us. It is not just for people with obvious problems like drug or alcohol addictions or other public sins. It is for us with sins of the heart and mind also. These can be so hidden from those around us. But it only causes struggles and disunity. In the movie Gettysburg (I knew I would fit something historical in here somewhere) there is this scene when General Stuart was called to General Lee’s office. Stuart was a good cavalry officer but he had let the infantry down. Stuart tried, in his pride to hand General Lee his sward. Lee retorted, “there is no time!!!” The battle was in danger of being lost and there was no time for personal pride or hurt. Sometimes I can imaging God saying to me, “Bob. there is no time for this. There is work to be done before I come back!!!” Don’t let your sins weigh you down. Do an inventory, confess them to God and to whomever else you may need to. Then repent and turn around and serve our LORD in what He has for you!!!