Two wrestling matches

Marko Joensuu         No comments
In life, we face two spiritual wrestling matches—one with God, another with evil principalities. And often wrestling with God precedes wrestling with principalities.

Wrestling your call and blessing from God

When we wrestle with God, it is all about God wanting to see that we are ready to receive our blessing. He is longing to release it into our life, but He must ensure that we are ready. Hence when Jacob wrestled with God in Genesis 32, it was like the wrestling of a father with his son. It is not that God couldn’t have won easily but like a good coach, he was raising Jacob's game, so that he would be strong and determined enough to keep his blessing. 

Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” So He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:24-29)

It is here where the promise over Jacob’s life was confirmed, as he wrestled his call from God. We can see this same process of wrestling with God at work in the New Testament through the parable of the persistent widow.

 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)

Here is the paradox—first Jesus says that God will answer our prayer, when we ask Him persistently, and in the next sentence He wonders whether He will find faith on earth when He comes?

Shouldn’t answers to prayer increase the number of people who have faith rather than decrease them?

This leads us to the second wrestling match.

Why does God want us to be persistent and resilient enough to wrestle through the night like Jacob, or harass the judge like the persistent widow?

It is because when we have wrestled our calling from God, we need to fight to keep it—this time against the enemy.

Wrestling with principalities

When Paul talks about wrestling against principalities in Ephesians 6:12, it refers to a merciless battle against a merciless enemy.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:10-13)

What many Christians don’t understand that receiving your blessing and calling from God sets you on collision course with the enemy. Put simply, any blessing from God comes with a price tag of increased war against the enemy.

We can see it in the history of Israel. The Promised Land has always been a land that has been fought over by different forces. It is as if the moment God promised it to Jacob, it became a point of contention between God and the enemy. And more often than not, that land has become an object of idolatry, replacing the relationship between God and His people.

It took Jacob one night to receive the promise, but it has taken Israel thousands of years of failed effort to keep it!

Hebrews 10:1 says,

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

In a similar way, the earthly battles of the Old Testament are only a shadow of the spiritual battle we must face now when we walk in the Spirit. 

In your frustration, when you feel you are wrestling with God for your call and blessing, have you considered that God might be waiting for you to be strong and resilient enough to keep it? For unless you build that resilience, after the wrestling match with Satan, you might have no faith left when He comes.

Published by Marko Joensuu

Marko Joensuu has worked for over sixteen years in the publishing and media ministries of Kensington Temple. He is an author, publisher and screenwriter.
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