Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What's Your Name?

Gen. 32:27 -  "[The Man] asked him, What is your name? And [in shock of realization, whispering] he said, Jacob [supplanter, schemer, trickster, swindler]!"

Jacob is in the middle of contending with God. When Jacob demands that God bless him and that he is willing to wrestle with God all night until he gets it, God pauses and asks Jacob his name.

He already knows his name. What God is really asking Jacob is what does his name mean. He wants to know about how he has lived up to his name.

Jacob means "supplanter", or "deceiver". Indeed, Jacob was all of that and more.

God wanted Jacob to admit it. He did and much more.

Jacob's response came in a whirlwind of self-realization, which will happen to a person when they finally contend with or reckon with God. Jacob paused in shock and was  barely able to whisper "Jacob...I am the trickster, the schemer, the swindler..."

I am remembering the day I had to answer God over who I was. "I am Kevin...the schemer, the trickster, the deceiver, the drug addicted alcoholic cheat, thief and liar." I wince as I write it. Yup, that was me, and worse.

God answered me the same way He answered Jacob. "That's not your name anymore (or, that's not who you are anymore). I am changing that right now. God changed Jacob to Israel (contender with God).

He changed me from an enemy to His disciple. A foe to a friend. An estranged impenitent sinner on the road to perdition to an adopted son of God and citizen of Heaven. A hater to a lover of the souls of man.

I remember my "Peniel".

You should too.

Maybe you haven't "wrestled" with Him. Maybe your Peniel wasn't that at all. Maybe you just responded to a religious idea in a religious way.

I tell you today that if you haven't contended with God, if you haven't been changed from what you were into someone God is pleased with then you haven't been born again. If you can't remember a moment in time where the old you disappeared into Christlikeness than it probably hasn't happened. 

That doesn't mean it can't or won't. You have to get to a place where you and God can hash it out.

You will have your blessing, but you will have to give up something near and dear to you...you will have to lose yourself in Christ.

The old has gone...the new has come...2 Cor. 5:17.

Keepin' it Real,

Pastor Kevin  <><

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