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A New Identity

Genesis 32:27-28

“What is your name?” the man asked. “Jacob!” he replied. “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” He said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”

Jacob had struggled with God and prevailed. He did not defeat God; he just didn’t let go of him in the process. Through his struggle, Jacob engaged with God, although God challenged his flesh. God was fighting the sinful nature of Jacob’s flesh; He was not fighting Jacob’s spirit. Something inside Jacob wanted to follow God in full obedience, but his flesh wanted to do things his own way.

Paul described a similar battle in Romans 7. While his heart wanted to follow after God and do the right thing, his flesh was not always willing. Fortunately for Jacob, Paul, and us, God sees straight through the sins of our flesh to know our heart. He will often fight our flesh to get to our hearts just so He can bless us. For this reason, we must always remember that God is for us and not against us. When it seems He is against us, He is really fighting the fleshly nature that is harming us in some way so He can bless what He has placed in our hearts.

Jacob’s blessing may seem rather strange. God changed his name from Jacob, which means “deceiver,” to Israel, which means “Prince with God.” Jacob’s former blessings came as a result of his deceitful and conniving character that sought to take advantage of others for his own gain. After his struggle with God, his identity was changed to that of a prince with God – heir to the eternal greatness and riches of our heavenly Father. Israel – God’s chosen man and eventually His chosen nation – came from a deceiver’s wrestling with God and refusing to let go because his heart desired to be blessed, although his flesh prevented it. Jacob struggled through his flesh to find grace. Paul recognized the same grace in the form of Jesus Christ, whom many Bible scholars believe to be the man who wrestled with Jacob. I agree.

At the end of your struggle with God awaits a blessing. Don’t give up the fight. He will grant you a new identity in Him that will change you and give you the blessing of a rightful heir. God sees your heart, and He intends to bring out what He placed in you. He may fight your flesh to do it, but you are blessed in the end. You can wrestle with God and hang on to Him at the same time. This fight won’t just change your situation; it will change who you are. You are His.

Have a blessed day!

PHOEBE Connections, Inc. is a 501(c)3 dedicated to enhancing the lives of widows by building relationships and helping them find new identity in Jesus Christ through serving others. We promote an atmosphere of fellowship, where the widow can connect with other widows to develop friendships and supportive relationships.