Genesis 32:22-32 (NKJV) says: "And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. 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.” Just as he crossed over Penuel (Peniel) the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank."
As I sat one day praying for the body of Christ the Spirit put this thought in my heart - “Yesterday’s faith is not enough for the approaching storms." While meditating on this thought, the Spirit led me to the book of Genesis where I found myself reading all about Jacob, his life and his wrestling match with God.
Over the next few weeks I want to share some truths with you that I believe will encourage you, challenge you and prayerfully release this revelation, that as the body of Christ we must continually allow the Holy Spirit to increase our faith, and take the word of God and command it into our hearts. Jesus said “It is the Spirit that gives life; the flesh profits nothing”. He also said “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life ”. Jesus shared these words with an audience who was following Him because of the miracles they saw Him perform. The tragedy is when Jesus preached this word, the bible says in John 6:66, “From that time many of His disciples went back and followed Him no more”. Jesus knew that His followers needed more than yesterday’s miracles. He knew that yesterday’s faith would not be enough to sustain true life.
The disciples in Luke 11:1 asked Jesus to teach them how to pray and in His answer, He said to ask the Father to give you this day your daily bread. In other words the provision, the faith that is needed for today is different than yesterday and it is available.
When Jesus was preaching in Matthew 7 He said, "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you." He was teaching the crowd two amazing truths. The first was that we can ask, seek, and knock and expect an answer. The second was that it needs to be continual and without ceasing. The same is true with our faith. We have to allow our faith to grow as we grow in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and His word. Once again highlighting the truth that yesterday's faith is not enough!
All throughout the New Testament the word teaches us that as a follower of Jesus Christ we must continually seek Him and allow His Spirit to enlarge our faith and deepen our trust in Him. The Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:13-14 said it this way, "The one thing I do is forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to the things which are ahead. I press toward to the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Take a few minutes and meditate on these verses and consider the Apostle Paul’s life. His confession was not limited to his life prior to knowing Christ. It was also everything up to this point that he was doing in the name of Jesus Christ - Once again illustrating the truth that “yesterday's faith is not enough for the approaching storms.”
If all this is not enough and you still are not getting it, I want to encourage you right now to stop and open your bible to Luke 22:31-34. Read and meditate on the conversation Jesus is having with Peter.
Jesus has just informed Peter that he is about to do the unthinkable and publicly deny knowing Him. What is amazing to me is the fact that Peter in verse 33 declares he is ready to not only go to prison, but to die for Jesus. Take special note of what Jesus said prior to Peter’s confession: “But I have prayed for you, that your faith shall not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen the brethren." In other words, "Peter, the faith you have now is not enough for the upcoming storms but I (meaning Jesus) have prayed for you that your faith won’t fail you and when you return from all this sifting you will be ready to change the world and truly fulfill your calling to be a fisher of men."
My friends, we are living in a time in history like never before. We are surrounded by a culture filled with doubt, fear and in many cases hopelessness. It is time for the church to rise up and fulfill her calling to be the light of the world and salt of the earth. We have to continually fix our eyes on Jesus and trust Him at His word. We have to allow His Spirit to speak and we must be willing to listen to what He is saying. He has called His church to become like new wine skins, ready and willing to receive all that He is teaching. The weapon of choice is continual surrendering to and trusting in Jesus who is the Author and the Completer of our faith. Trust is one of the purest forms of worship there is.
Yesterday’s faith is not enough for the approaching storms!
So here is the question - How far are you willing to go?
Jacob went the distance. He never let go. He held on in spite of a dislocated hip and the fact the night was turning into day. Jacobs wrestling match with God is a beautiful picture of what happens when we encounter God and allow Him to transform us into the image of His Son Jesus Christ.
In the upcoming weeks I want to share three things that the Holy Spirit revealed to me as I was mediating on this wrestling match.
- What caused Jacob to get alone and wrestle with God?
- What was Jacob really crying out for?
- What did Jacob receive from the Lord?
Next time we gather we will tackle the first question. What caused Jacob to get alone and wrestle with God?
My friends never forget you have a living hope in a resurrected Jesus Christ. I know in the weeks ahead as we read about Jacob and his wrestling match with God we will be strengthened and filled with a rising faith and a steadfast trust in a living God that will prepare us the approaching storms.
Until we talk again, I pray that the Father releases to you a greater sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. I thank Him for releasing to you a rising faith and a willingness to trust like never before. I thank Him for granting to you a Spirit of boldness to truly be His witness to a lost and dying world. May everything we do give glory to God and reach souls for Christ.
May God bless you as you journey on with Him.
Blessings, Pastor Mark!