Contending For Your Purpose

Dec 29, 2020

Before you can fully live in your purpose, you will have to contend for it. 

 

This means you will have to wrestle, struggle and even fight to realize your God-given purpose.

 

Just ask Jacob.

 

He wrestled with man and God for much of his life.  It started at a young age when he posed as his older brother, Esau, to claim the first-born’s birthright.  Jacob wrestled with Laban to marry his daughter, Rebecca.  Then, in a pivotal moment—a literal wrestling match with God found in Genesis 32—he wrestled for a blessing.

 

Jacob would not yield until God blessed him.  And God did, in a way that changed Jacob’s name and his destiny. 

 

Because of that struggle, Jacob (who’s name means “to be behind”) went from being a man known for supplanting, deception and overreach, to become a man God called Israel.  This new name redefined his destiny to one who wrestled and turned the head of God.  Jacob, now Israel, was restored to a place of promise and purpose.  He was no longer seeking the favor of man or the hand of God.  Jacob had come face to face with God… and it changed everything.

 

Jacob’s new name was God’s way of calling out his purpose.  

 

As Israel, his name meant that he was no longer striving to establish his own plans or place in life.  God was calling him into who he was always meant to be.  

 

Identifying with the way God saw him was the first step to living in his purpose. As he stepped by faith into his new name, God began to shape his life and a nation.  Jacob’s purpose—the one God called him to—led to healing in his relationships, expanded his vision for the future, redefined his relationship with God and catalyzed a nation.

 

If we could summarize 2020, we would borrow from Jacob’s story.  

 

It seems fitting to call this a year of wrestling.  

 

Sometimes we pinned things down; other times we were put in uncomfortable positions.  There were gains and losses.  It seemed the more we worked to get what we had planned, the more circumstances would conspire against those plans.  Nothing went the way we expected it to. 

 

Maybe you’ve felt it too and even discovered a little of Jacob’s tendencies in you.  If that’s the case, it helps to remember the end of the story.  Jacob was renamed and his purpose restored by God.  It’s better than the beginning!  But it came after certain things were worked through.  

 

In our experiences, especially this year, we’ve learned some things about contending for the promise of your purpose.  These five simple truths can be found in Jacob’s story.  They’re truths that will help you press through to a life of purpose, even when it’s tough to do. 

 

  1. The struggle is real.  No one loves a struggle, but it helps to know that going after God’s purpose for your life will be contested.  There will be times when you have to hold on, push through and fight for what God has called you to.  Don’t give up!  There’s always pressure in the pursuit of purpose.

  2. No one can do this for you.  Because it’s uniquely connected to you, contending for your purpose is something YOU must do.  There will be people alongside you in the journey, but ultimately, you are the only one who can go after the things in your heart.

  3. You’ll eventually wrestle with God, and it will mark you.  Jacob knew this first hand.  He wrestled with God, and though God blessed him, Jacob left with a limp.  Literal or not, the encounter left him changed by God.  He was marked with a new name and a new future.  When you wrestle with God, it will change you too. And though it may not be a physical change, it will be a change that sets you apart to do what God has called you to do.

  4. Change is required.  Jacob lived up to an inferior destiny for far too long.  His name defined him.  In your own life, there may be things you’ve been called or named that are throwing shade on your future.  To move forward, you’ll need a necessary ending—a stepping away from what’s defined you or held you back. This will mark the beginning of what God has in store for you.

  5. You must confront your past.  One of the first things Jacob had to do after he wrestled with God and received his new name was to face his brother.  The outcome of this meeting was uncertain since Jacob had claimed Esau’s birthright.  But Esau ran to embrace him.  It was a moment of restoration.  As Jacob faced his past, he stepped into a new beginning and a new future.  It will be the same for you, whether you face it in person or in prayer.  Whether it results in an embrace or in a new beginning.  Only when you face your past can you move forward into all God has called you to.

 

 

In Jacob’ story and in yours, wrestling leads to blessing.

 

As you reflect on 2020 and prepare to step into a new year, give yourself time to think about where you’ve wrestled this past year. Ask yourself:

 

Where did I wrestle with myself? 

Where did I wrestle with others? 

Where did I wrestle with God?

 

Consider how these moments have marked you or moved you off track.

 

Pay special attention to the places where you’ve been marked by God.  

 

If you’re still in that wrestling match, recognize it.  Then think about what God wants to change in you.  He has a purpose for your life.  A plan just for you. 

 

In 2020 you wrestled. 

 

In 2021 you will step into something NEW, but only if you allow God to mark you… to change the way you see yourself… to give you a new beginning, a new hope, a new direction.  

 

Let God expand your heart to see and embrace His purpose for your life. Your heart is where everything new takes root.  It’s here that you grow deep and high so you can be all He made you to be. 

 

It’s time to stop wrestling and start contending for what God has for you.

 

We’re praying that in 2021, the courage to contend rises in you.  

We’re praying for God’s plans to be clearer than ever before.

And we’re believing that you will step more confidently into the purpose-full life He has for you.

 

Cheers to the NEW thing He’s doing in you!

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