We are blessed with an outgoing son who sometimes needs encouragement to stay on task in school. His wrestling coach has been a huge help in this area. A few weeks ago, Jared had a bad day at school. One teacher went to advise the coach of his misadventures that day.
When wrestling practice was almost done, the coach called Jared over to do one more match. He did not look forward to it since it was going to be a larger guy. Just as he was ready to start the match, his opponent stepped back and the coach stepped forward. He realized then that his misbehavior that day was going to cost him dearly. If he ran away, he would be off the wrestling team. If he persevered, he could learn his lesson and become stronger. By the end of the match, Jared swore that he would do much better in all his classes.
When I have not stayed “on task” with God’s will, I find myself facing difficult situations created by stepping out of bounds. I have a choice to repent and get back on my walk, or stay on that disobedient track. Sometimes I rebel and the wrestling match begins. At first I face small opponents: friends or family drawing me back. I make excuses, deals or ignore their pleas. Then larger opponents step up to the mat…illness, depression or legal problems resulting from my rebellion. One by one I take them on, and exhaustion starts to set in. It takes a lot of work to rebel from God!
When Jacob was scared to death because God told him to return to his angry brother Esau, (Genesis 32:1-23) he had an idea. He sent gifts, his wives and children on ahead to greet his brother who was coming with 400 men. (Nice guy!) When they had gone and he was left alone, he found himself in a major wrestling match with a heavenly stranger. (Genesis 32:24-32) He did not give up and he wrestled until daybreak. Finally he asked to be blessed, and refused to let go of his opponent until he received a blessing. The consequence of his determination was a permanent limp. His name was changed from Jacob: “the replacement” to a new name: Israel—“who prevails with God”.
When I am in direct disobedience to God, I sometimes find myself in the ultimate smackdown …and let me tell you there is no way you can win when wrestling God Himself. He is stronger, knows all your tricks and excuses and will never let up. It’s best to not run away. So repent, take your licks, and humble yourself --you could come away forever changed and possibly win a new nickname: Victor. (Philippians 4:13)