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Friday, December 30, 2016

Learning To Embrace My New Identity

In review of Genesis 32:28a it says, “Your name will no longer be Jacob . . . From now on you will be called Israel”

Bottom Line:
You don’t need to be the same, you’ve been given a new identity.

What this means to me:
I no longer need to be the same or see myself in the same old way. God has given me a new identity because I have embraced his way for myself.

In genesis 32, Jacob had been manipulative, especially to his older brother. He now feared that his brother might retaliate. During the night he has an encounter where he wrestles all night with a man. In the end, neither win, but the man gives Jacob a new name, Israel, and ends up blessing Jacob as Jacob had requested.

Jacob in essence confessed his manipulative behavior and as a result God gave him a new identity. Like Jacob I do not need to stay the same. When I accepted Christ as my Lord and Leader, I too was given a new identity.

In Jacob’s example, three things happen:

First, God gives Jacob a brand-new identity (Genesis 32:28). Essentially, God says, “I know you’ve blown it; I know you’re conniving, but I see in you a prince, beneath all your emotional hang-ups, all your insecurities, all the stuff you don’t want anybody else to know.” God is saying to me: “Beneath all of your sins and hang-ups, I see a prince. You can be something great. You can be what I made you to be.”

Secondly, God blesses Jacob/Israel (Genesis 32:29). Deep down, I desperately want God’s blessing. And if I want God’s blessing, I have to take the steps God has already laid out for and requires of me.

Lastly, God gave Jacob/Israel a limp (Genesis 32:31). Remember, when they wrestled, God dislocated Jacob’s hip. Jacob’s limp served as a daily reminder to depend upon God.

God does his deepest work as he deals with my identity, the person I truly am and the way I see myself. I will always tend to act according to the way I think about myself. So God does his changes in my life by helping me change the way I see myself.

God tells me, “Let me show you how I see you.” When I can see myself the way God does, it has the power to change my life.

Today’s verse and exploration into this part of Jacob’s life has helps me continue to see that my life isn’t about some position, prestige or work environment, but rather helping me become more of the person God wants me to be. It has reminded me that I will act according to the way I see myself. So I need to take the steps God requires of me. Any obstacles and limitations in my life are God’s way of reminding me that I cannot do it all on my own. I need to depend on him.