And the LORD answered me:"Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it."
Two Types of Wrestle!
Two months ago the Spirit of the Lord told me that 2021 would be a “wrestle or a dance” for his people. He extended an invitation to enter the dance with him but he also made it clear to me that many would not receive his invitation. The ones who do not take his hand and dance with him will walk according to their own steps and wisdom, resulting in a painful wrestle. This word helped me to continue to fully yield and surrender to his invitation to follow his lead and keep my eyes fixed on his.
We are less than two weeks into 2021 and I keep hearing people say how they are wrestling with what it happening in our world, with what is true, what is from God, and what they are seeing with their natural eyes. Quite honestly, I don’t think that there is anyone who hasn’t had a bit of a wrestle because the world is shouting at us to look upon the “things of the world” even as we wrestle to keep our eyes on things above. What was once familiar in this world has suddenly become unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Yet, God has not changed and he is still our Comforter.
When I began to find myself wrestling to “keep my eyes on things above,” I asked the Lord a very serious question, “Have I left the dance that you are leading and entered the wrestle that you warned us about?”
He responded by revealing to me that there are two types of wrestle— one that rebels against his leadership and one that wrestles down the flesh to enter into full submission and surrender to his leading.
After Jacob wrestled with God his name was changed from Jacob to Israel. Israel means, “The one who has prevailed with God.” His wrestle changed and aligned his life to prevail with God. To prevail means: "To prove more powerful than opposing forces; to be victorious."
God has prevailed over his enemies! He has prevailed against sin and death; he is inviting us into “prevailing with him!” While this is our desired posture, often we first have to wrestle down the narrative that this world has written upon our souls. The narrative of doubt, skepticism, unbelief, defeat, and fear always fight against God’s prevailing victory like a boat tossed about by a raging sea.
Those carnal narratives can lead us to hold back from God, to manipulate, to rebel and to enter into a “flight” rather than a fight mode. The Lord revealed to me that the wrestle against that which would prevent me from “prevailing with God” is part of the dance that we are in. We are wrestling down the flesh that rebels against God for the sake of allowing surrender to make us one with him. As we are one with him, we become one in prevailing with him. No longer do we battle from a hope for victory but we battle from victory that has already been established.
The wrestle that we DO NOT want to enter into is the wrestle that causes us to walk according to the flesh rather than the Spirit. That posture doesn’t wrestle with God but against God. It tries to wrestle down truth, covenant, love, righteousness, and oneness. It could be compared to when a married couple postures themselves against one another and begin to demand their way to the point of breaking the bond of oneness, defiling the covenant and eventually walking away from one another.
Marriage can be compared to a dance in which we have to learn steps that submit to one another, prefer one another, lay down demands and change our ways as needed. Sometimes we step on one another’s toes until we get down the steps so that we can move in unity and oneness. Marriage can feel like a wrestle at times while we learn to surrender to love but when you “fight for prevailing together” it transforms the individuals into one flesh; yet, many prefer flight from the fight for oneness…and just walk away. Just like in marriage, to wrestle, to fight for oneness with God--through a surrendered heart and feet that follow his lead--is a fight worthy of entering into. It is the fight against all that is within us that rebels against God and his ways. This will end in a name change! You too will be called, “One who prevailed with God!”
Be careful to not fix your eyes on this world or become overwhelmed by all the chaos in it. When that happens most people enter into one of two postures. One is to become enraged and bitter, causing them to focus their eyes on the world and charge forward in their own zeal and opinions (which is foolishness to God). The other is to completely disengage. For instance to stop praying, worshipping, reading the Word and to comfort themselves with a posture of denial and distancing themselves from both the things happening in the world and from God. Neither posture will allow you to “prevail with God!”
Those who want to walk in their own ways, live in their own opinions and lead their own steps, despite considering themselves believers, will find themselves tripping over God’s feet and wrestling with rebellion.
I normally find writing such an easy form of communication in my life and yet trying to describe these two different wrestles is proving difficult. I only pray that I have communicated it clearly. 2021 can be a dance, but sometimes we will have to wrestle against the temptation to create our own steps or move according to our natural tendencies. We have never been this way before! Especially for those of us in the United States--we have never even dreamed of walking through what we are suddenly facing.
Know this, the dancefloor for this dance that “prevails with God” is in the heavenly realms, not the earthly realm, although it will greatly impact the earthly realms. Our eyes must be fixed on things above and our thoughts must be upon those things that are “praiseworthy.” I want to remind you of one key that He gave me when He asked me to enter this dance; he said, “Keep your eyes fixed on mine and your feet will follow.”
YOU CAN WRESTLE WITH GOD BUT DO NOT WRESTLE AGAINST GOD! The wrestle with him will cause you to prevail with him. The wrestle against him will cause only pain and defeat. Fight for oneness with him!
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We are at Jabbok
The Spirit of the Lord has been speaking to me daily over the past month about Jacob’s wrestling match recorded in the book of Genesis. This story could be described as Jacob’s wrestle with his flesh, in order to surrender, so that he would “prevail with God!” Remember, at the end of the wrestle God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, meaning, “The one who prevails with God.”
Here is the story in Genesis 32:22-28:
22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”
This wrestling occurred in a place called “Jabbok.” For the past month I have felt that the body of Christ, both corporately and individually, are at a spiritual “Jabbok.” We can no longer go forth and overcome in the ways that we have in past seasons. This is a time to wrestle down our flesh with the Lord until full surrender comes upon us. It is as though there has always been a mixture of God’s power and our human strength that has overcome past battles but no longer is that the case! God will touch our hip socket so that He will prevail, leaving us with a fleshly limp but a spiritual victory.
It is time for our name to be changed from Jacob (Jakob) to Israel. Jacob means supplanter and supplanter means “someone or something taking the place of another, as through force, scheming, strategy.” As I said earlier, Israel means the one who prevails with God. The Lord is removing any attempts of our flesh to usurp the glory, strength and honor that rightfully belongs only to the Lord. Every desire within us to force or scheme our way to victory will be surrendered so that we can truly prevail with the truth of Zechariah 4:6,
So he answered me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by strength or by might, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of Armies.
When Jacob fully surrendered—after his flesh/hip socket was weakened, and his name was changed to Israel—he changed the name of Jabbok. Jabbok, meaning “to empty itself” or “a place of passing over” was now named Peniel, which means, “The face of God” or “he who strives with God.”
I believe that this is a prophetic picture of where we are at as God’s people. We are Jacob at Jabbok, and our wrestle will result in both names being changed to “Israel at Peniel.”
I love the way the late David Wilkerson describes Jabbok,
“Jabbok is the place where Jacob wrestled with the Lord. It is where he made his total surrender to God. It is where he got his new character, and new name – Israel. It was the place where he cast down his last idol, and won his greatest victory.
‘And he rose up that night… and passed over the ford Jabbok…’ (Gen. 32:22).
Jabbok means ‘a place of passing over’. It also stands for struggle; to empty and pour out. What a glorious truth is revealed in this place called Jabbok. It has everything to do with us today. It is the place where God’s people discover the secret of power over every besetting sin. It represents a life and death crisis – one that leads to absolute surrender.” (David Wilkerson)
Absolute surrender! We may have to wrestle with God in order to receive absolute surrender because our flesh and the sins of our flesh can be strong and overcome us. But, in mercy, God caused Jacob’s hip socket to be wrenched, thus causing a physical inability to continue to wrestle in the flesh. The hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint that allows motion and gives stability needed to bear body weight. This is why he walked with a limp thereafter. We may walk with a limp to wrestle down our flesh and the sin that has prevailed, but afterward we will “prevail with God!”
Do not shy from this place or this wrestle because it is the greatest victory you will ever experience in becoming “one with God.” It is where you will learn to dance with God according to His steps and His lead. It is where sin will no longer prevail in your life but you will prevail with God. No more force— “by His Spirit” will be your victory song and it will bring you into a Shalom (rest) that is greatly needed.
Now is the time...
The Yielding: A Lifestyle of Surrender
Newly reformatted, with a new afterword by Jeffrey and Kathi Pelton.
This book is a fresh look into a life of yielding, which gives a renewed mind and greater trust in the mercy of your heavenly Father of Lights, who sets you free and catapults you into oneness with Jesus that is beyond what you could ever have dreamed possible.
"The Yielding is a road map for the heart in the pursuit of intimacy. It inspires, compels and inflames fresh surrender to the one your heart longs for..."
~Ben & Jodie Hughes
Pour it Out Ministries
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