“Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.” (Genesis 32:24)
All too often we say, or hear another say, that we are struggling in our walk with the Lord. In the Bible we see that it is true that there is an adversary to that walk but we will do well to realise that his greatest ally is ourselves. One thing that is evident in human nature ever since Adam believed the lie of the great deceiver is that people will create a god in their own image.
God created man in His own image and now fallen man is creating gods in his own image. This is perhaps the reason there have been, and are, so many gods – and even so many caricatures of Jesus Christ and God among people who call themselves Christian. This is often the ammunition of ungodly people in resisting the Gospel.
The fact is that all Christians, including genuinely born-of-God believers, are dysfunctional to some degree in their representation of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why we sing songs like, “To Be Like Jesus.” A great deception is to think that our own view of Jesus is the correct one and therefore everyone else must have an imperfect or wrong perception of Him.
Jacob struggled with God (v28) because he held to his own view of God and resisted more revelation. It was only when in great pain he surrendered (v 25) to God and clung to God (v 26) that things changed. God did not conform to Jacob’s image of God but Jacob’s image of God was revealed for its short-fall of reality; and this very event would improve that image greatly.
The reason Christians struggle and find the Christian life hard is often because we have a very limited comprehension of our God. A common fault among all people is that when we know something on a subject we think we know it all. After all, it is all we know and we can’t be aware of what we don’t know – or else we would know it!
The same is true of our knowledge of God. Just when we think we know Him He injects something into our lives that throws us into confusion. As you read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ earthly life and ministry you will notice this quite often in the disciples’ walk with Him. They were frequently at a loss to understand what He was doing. The same is true for those of us who are His disciples today.
He delights to reveal Himself to the one who will receive it and that will mean wrecking any idolatrous image that we have created in our minds of Him. The tendency is to make God in our own image and that will put us where Jacob was at sundown, struggling and in the dark. May it be as the light dawns we will do as Jacob did and cease the struggle and just cling to God and let God be Himself. Like Jacob, that may mean that most of us, if not all, will have to be put out of joint in some way; but so be it for the glory of God and our more complete walk with the Lord.