Earlier this week, I explored how at times God brings us to a greater understanding of His love for us by having us face our fears. When we face our fears in Christ, we see that God is with us and protects us from harm. We find that things may seem devastating; however, we are not destroyed. That is only by the power of God! I had been reading about Jacob preparing to meet his brother Esau after running away from him 20 years before. I also looked at how he wrestled with God the night before, which ended with a blessing of a new name; a name that means God fights. Today, the story continues; please read Genesis 33 (it is not a long chapter).
Notice the first few words of this chapter: "Jacob looked up and there was Esau..." What was Jacob doing that caused him to look up? He was walking away from the place where he wrestled with God. He had been up all night wrestling, and he walked away a changed man. When he looked up, there was Esau. But notice how changed Jacob was. This was the person who had bought his brother's birthright years before and he tricked his father into giving him his brother's blessing. He did whatever it took to get ahead and now he was calling himself his brother's servant. He referred to his brother as his lord. What a changed man! Instead of trying to dominate, he had become humble.
When we have an encounter with God, we are changed. Looking at Jacob's life, we can see that he had a couple of encounters with God that caused life-long changes and each change brought him closer to the person that could bow down before his brother in total humility. The same can happen in our lives as well. When we have made God the Lord of our life, we will be changed over time. Status in this world will fade in importance as we learn to value our relationship with God. Notice what Jacob did at the end of this chapter; he named the altar he set up at Shechem El Elohe Israel. That name means "God, the God of Israel." There are a couple of things that is in that name. First, Jacob now claimed his new name: Israel. That is important because he believed in the new identity that God claimed on his life. Second, Israel was telling the world that God was his god. When we are in Christ, we also have a new identity because we are now a child of God. We can tell the world God is the God of (your name).
Is God your god? Do you claim the new identity you have in Christ?
This post is linked with Thought Provoking Thursday and the Grace Cafe.