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.
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.
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.
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.
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!