Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought"1 (Lyrics)
Genesis 32:24 – Jacob was left alone; and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. (NRSV)
A few months ago, I attended my first-ever women's event at my church. The evening was empowering, and it felt good to connect with other Christian women. However, I hadn't always had a positive attitude about church in the past.
When I first visited my church in July, 2017, it made a good first impression on me. I had a memorable encounter with God through energizing contemporary worship, spiritual support, and heartfelt fellowship.
I looked forward to attending Sunday services and was keen to integrate myself into church life. Hence, I joined a weekly small group and became involved in the prayer team.
I don't know why, but at some point, I became increasingly aware of aspects of the church that I disagreed with. These discrepancies were not deal-breakers, yet, they really bothered me.
I endeavoured to be understanding — no church is perfect. However, regardless of how hard I tried, I couldn't let go the foibles of my place of worship. I became prideful, thinking that if it were me at the head of this church, I would do things better. My discontent rose to such an extent that I avoided going to church.
However, I spent a lot of time with God seeking His counsel. Instead of feeling righteously convinced, I felt unsettled in my spirit. I knew deep down that I was being judgmental and rebellious against Him.
In today's Scripture, God waited until Jacob was alone and isolated from his family and worldly acquisitions, in order to confront him with his negative mindset of self-reliance. In the same way, God confronted me one Sunday, as I sat alone at home, bereft of fellowship and spiritual nourishment, to confront me with my self-pride.
Furthermore, just as God wrestled with Jacob through the night to expunge him of his wily nature, so God wrestled with me to free me of my negative mindset towards church. God clearly won — with both Jacob and myself.
Since then, I go to church every week. I am grateful for the blessing of the fellowship that I find there and the innovative ways that the leaders endeavour to reach people both inside and outside of the church with the Word of God. My joy at being a part of this spiritual family has been re-kindled, and I feel at peace.
Although it was a difficult process, I am thankful that God chose to wrestle with me that Sunday, for He has made me a humbler person because of it. It is further proof of His love and dedication to us in being a good Father, and for that, I am grateful.
Is pride holding you back from receiving God's blessings? Maybe, like Jacob, you need God to cleanse and refine you of things that aren't serving you. Spend time alone with God today, and instead of wrestling with Him, ask Him to show you the areas in your life in which you need to practice more humility.
Prayer: Good and precious Father, thank You that You sometimes discipline us with love, in order to free us of those things that cannot serve us, and to teach us to lean on, trust in, and be confident in You, and You alone. Amen.