I shared last week how Jacob wrestled all night long with God, saying he had seen the face of God and lived.
That all-night-long wrestling changed his nature not because of the wrestling, but by seeing God’s face as he wrestled. The result was the Lord changing his name from Deceiver to Prince with God – Israel.
Genesis is the book of beginnings, and so much of what happens there establishes the foundation for New Testament truths. This process of wrestling with God is still what happens today in the discipleship process.
Contrary to popular church culture, the Bible teaches that most of our wrestling is with God just as in Jacob’s day, not the devil. What changes us is not wrestling with inner hurts, not demons hanging around since great-grandfather, not addictions nor witches in our family genealogy.
People spend years wrestling with these things thinking if they overcome them, then they gain the victory. But in truth, our wrestling is mostly with Christ in us, the hope of glory, who ever tries to get us to grow in Him, to apply His Life to our lives, to renew our thoughts so our lives can be transformed. Our lives aren’t transformed by wrestling with demons.
While Ephesians 6 mentions wrestling with the demonic that 1 time, every other letter in the NT is focused on growing up in Christ. Romans 12:1-2 says to undergo a metamorphosis in our lives by renewing the mind (more later on that), in I Corinthians 3 he talks about putting away strife for being in strife is acting like you aren’t even born again, instead build precious things on the foundation of Christ in us.
In II Corinthians he mentions us having to take all thoughts captive into obedience in Christ. In Galatians 2-4 it is walking in the fruit of the spirit and not the flesh, and Christ being formed within us. In Ephesians 1-3 it is being strengthened and positioned in Christ to know things beyond knowing. In Philippians 1:6 and 3 it is allowing Him who has started a good work in us to continue it while we forget those things behind and reach forward to the high calling. In Colossians 1:27 it is Christ in you the hope of glory…and on and on it goes, concluding with the 7 letters to the 7 churches in the Revelation that say put away what holds you back and hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches and just do that!
For too long Christians have been giving excuses based on the devil for why they are the way they are, but if they will become focused on Christ in them and what He wants to do, they can stop looking in their rear-view mirror and start moving their lives forward – and their lives will start to change. You don’t say ‘If I can just overcome this one last thing then I can walk in what God has’ – you just start where you are NOW in Christ.
God or the devil?
Does this wrestling with God stir up demons and old memories, habits and ways of thinking? Absolutely!
When Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus, it turned his world upside down. If you read what he thought of himself, the level of self-loathing is quite amazing. (I have a series, ‘I love you Lord but I’m not too crazy about myself right now’, that goes into his transformation in detail).
At one point, in I Corinthians 15, he said he was ‘as one born out of due time’. ‘Due time’ is the Greek word ‘ektroma’, and means ‘abortion’ or ‘miscarriage’. He wrestled with thoughts of it being better if he had never been born because he persecuted the church, yet God said He had a call and ministry.
Paul concluded in that same passage, ‘By God’s grace I am what I am’. The wrestling he did to get there is wrestling with God’s view of his past and future versus what he thought of his past and future. Did it stir up demonic things, yes, but his growth came through wrestling with what God said about him and accepting that, not wrestling with what the devil said about him.
As long as we are in this life, it appears Satan will be the accuser of the brethren as per Revelation 12. But he is like a small child tugging on a pant leg of an adult trying to hold a conversation with another adult – that kid is always there trying to interrupt the conversation, but instead of focusing on the distraction, learn to take in what the other person (the Lord) is saying to us and let the accuser be merely like a child trying to get your attention – keep focused on the conversation because he will eventually give up and go away, or at least his voice will lessen to such a degree you can hardly hear him because you are SO engrossed on what God is saying and doing in you.
Jacob didn’t wrestle a demon, he wrestled God to change his nature; therefore wrestling with God is what changes a person’s nature (not wrestling with demons).
Get your eyes off what you think the devil is doing, and just do what God is asking – that still small voice is more subtle, and will usually be the choice that is more difficult on the flesh and what you want to do.
I remember my February 2001 visitation when the Lord appeared to me and said this: “See what I see, people running to and fro to this meeting and that, looking for the spectacular thinking THAT is supernatural, while they miss the supernatural work in their midst and even in their heart, for the process of discipleship IS supernatural.”
That’s why we use www.supernaturalhousechurch.org for our web site – all we do is based on discipleship, not the spectacular – its all about the supernatural work of discipleship.
The flesh wants to find the easy way to become Christ-like. The flesh wants to learn about this or that newest thing, and fill our Christian lives with distractions, deceiving ourselves into thinking we are mature for our much learning. But the only way presented in scripture is to see the face of God, wrestle with what we see, and be changed in the process – change your thinking, then be a doer of the Word.
How do we see the face of God? By reflection
In II Corinthians 3: 17-18 Paul is talking about the glory of God and the reflection seen in a mirror.
“And we all, with open (unveiled) faces as if looking in a mirror do contemplate the Lord’s glory, and are being transformed into His image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the (Holy) Spirit.” v16-18
Take it apart
The example Paul uses in this chapter is that of Moses coming down the mountain with the 10 commandments (Word) carved in stone in his hands, and his face glowing with the glory of God (Spirit), yet veiled because the hard-hearted Israelites could not look at the glory of God directly.
There are 2 elements: The Word, and the glory (Spirit).
There is a basic rule; What you look at is what you become. Even in accidents with cars and motorcycles and bicycles – what you fixate on is where you will direct that vehicle. What you watch, you become. If this is true with porn and violence and cussing and sin filled media, it is true because it is a counterfeit of God’s original intention of looking at Him causes us to become like Him.
This is why Paul said in Philippians 4:8-9 if you think on pure and peaceful things you will be filled with peace. What you look at is what you become. What you think on is what you become. What you read is what you become. Watch the eye and ear gate, for they open possibilities of what we may become.
That was the value of Jacob seeing God’s face as he wrestled with Him; he became like Him as he looked at Him.
Paul says we are not like those non-believing Israelites who needed a veil to shield them from the Word and glory (Spirit), but we ‘with unveiled face as if looking in a mirror, contemplate the Lord’s glory. When we see the Living Word who lives in us, and His glory also within us, it is looking in a mirror.
In I John 3:2 it says when He comes we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He is (in full glory). We are ever moving towards that, even in this life.
In Exodus 34:29 we have the event Paul talks about: “And it happened when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony…Moses didn’t know that the skin of his face shone while he was talking to them (the Israelites).”
You see, we truly are transformed in our wrestling with God. We see Him in us and us in Him and the glory of what He has done for us, and as we behold the glory it causes us to want to change, to want to grow, to want to see our lives transformed. That is a wrestling process.
But here is the great thing – Moses didn’t know he was glowing – and so it is with us, for as we wrestle, as we look into the Living Word within, that process causes us to glow in a way we barely recognize what God is doing, but others see the change. They see we’ve changed. And that’s where we’ll pick it up next week. Blessings,