The Seed Blog: One Right Flip Flop
Pastor Doss shared a hilarious story from his Bahamas vacation where one of his flip-flops broke, inhibiting his ability to get back to his hotel room without difficulty and pain. But, did he consider that because if it was going to be painful that he shouldn’t go, or wasn’t supposed to go? No! How could something as necessary and unarguable as returning to my motel room be questioned because it was now going to be hard or painful?... How much more powerful and important, is following God than making it back to a motel room on the hot summer pavement? How much more powerful and important, is serving God and His people where He would have you to serve? Then why do so many people who claim they are Blood-bought, sold-out, children of the King, who claim they are here to live for and serve Christ—start so strong, but never finish, begin with such dedication, but fizzle or turn, all because things become a bit uncomfortable or difficult? It would have been ludicrous for him to decide not to go back to the motel because he didn't have a flip-flop, and he didn't want to take the pain of the walk. But, do you know what is even more ludicrous? To decide not to go on with God or His eternal calling, because the walk gets a little painful or difficult; to not believe that He will make a way, as long as we keep walking.
Do you have any idea how many people know and recognize God as God... Call Him Savior and begin to serve Him, only to stop attending church, stop praying, stop studying, only to go back to life as it was before, only to step out of the calling or service they began for God—Do you know how many lukewarm and miserable Christians there are, who do nothing for God anymore because it got too hard or painful? Have you ever stopped to consider that maybe the wall is put in front of you by God Himself sometimes? That maybe the wall is not there to stop you from going further, but, to see how badly you want to go on? That maybe God wants you to push on in the face of adversity, to see where your passion lies? That maybe the wall is there, because if it was easy, everyone would be on the other side and He only wants the one's, that really want to be there. What we see as hard work, difficult times, obstacles, and even failure is very often the life God put before us with His own Hand; not for us to live and exist there forever, but to challenge our passion, and grow us until we overcome it, so He can sit and celebrate with us on the other side of the wall, when we want Him enough. (Brick Wall Club) Jeremiah 29:13. Jacob, through whom God had promised to bring many nations, has lived his whole life gaining through his own con artistry, and manipulation. (His very name means deceiver, manipulator, grabber) He went to stay with his Uncle Laban, because his brother wanted to kill him for stealing his birthrights and blessings (through trickery and manipulation, Genesis 27:41) 20 years later, he is leaving his now, father-in-law (Laban), because he is sick of his mistreatment and is headed back to his own land, where his brother Esau still lives. Jacob's mother (Rebekah) had said she would send for him, when Esau calmed down, she had never sent for him, so, Jacob had no idea of Esau's feeling towards him now. In an effort to make peace and avoid total destruction, Jacob sends messengers to tell Esau he is very successful, and is returning home, and that he hopes to find favor in Esau's sight. The messengers return saying Esau is coming out to meet him with 400 men. Jacob comes up with a desperate plan. He splits all his people and riches into two groups for protection, and sends three waves of gifts (herds of goats, rams, sheep, camels, young horses, cows, bulls, and donkeys) to soften Esau up before he gets there, then, he and his family cross over the River of Jabbok themselves (no retreat after this). He sends his family on, leaving him alone for the night, by the Ford of Jabbok. When Jacob is finally alone, God can deal with him. He is completely at the end of himself, he cannot connive or cheat his way out of this one, and so, he comes to God in prayer: Genesis 32:24-29. We know this "Man" is God Himself, because the passage tells us later; we also know that no man has seen the face of God the Father, wo this "Man" would be none other than Jesus Christ Himself. Jacob prays for some confidence, reassurance, strength, and Jesus shows up in a muscle shirt and punches him right in the jaw. Jacob did not know this was God at first, s literal, unknown Man attacked Jacob snd fought with him all through the night. What did He look like? Was it like a bar room brawl at times? What must it have felt like to later realize you were handling, hitting, and wrestling the very flesh of God? Now, think for a moment; could God have annihilated Him with a thought? Of course! So why did He struggle with Jacob all night? God Himself attacked Jacob, kept the fight where Jacob wasn't overwhelmed or victorious, at his level; wore him down as he struggled in his own strength, brought him to the end of himself, to teach him perseverance, and then just when Jacob felt he may be getting an upper hand, finally succeeding, he's defeated. God showed that He was in control the whole time, by crippling Jacob with a touch. Jacob realizes that it was God Himself, that he was wrestling; he also realizes that he is beaten, powerless in his strength; he hangs onto the Victor, beaten down and defeated. He finally surrendered in realization that he is not in control, and cannot win; he shows unbelievable passion and faith; this is where Jesus would so love for us to be today. This is why god used Jacob, in all his faults, to birth Israel; because he refused to quit, refused to lay down and die. He finally realized he couldn't do it; it was too hard; it was too overwhelming. He failed, and it was a bad situation. but instead of quitting, he was passionately determined that God would keep his own promise of blessings on him. God purposefully attacked Jacob, and pushed him beyond his own power and limits, to totally defeat him; make him hopeless in his own ability, and then see how badly he wanted to go on. Do you realize how tired He must get, of having to poke and prod us to even begin doing anything for Him in love and obedience, only to have to beg, pull, and bait us to continue every time it hurts a little; every time it costs a little, like He just has to have us, to make it work. When will we realize He doesn't need us; He wants us to show our love and our desire to serve Him? When will we get the intestinal fortitude to push on beyond any circumstance or trial? To keep serving no matter the cost, just because we are passionate about Him? To say to Him, "I will not let go, I will not quit, I will not turn back’ I will hold on until You bless me as we work. Because You called me, You promised me, I will trust that promise unless You Change my direction!” How honoring would that be to God? How flattering? How beautiful? So much better than, "God why do I have to suffer? If You don't do something to change this, I'm going to bail on You? I just can't take it anymore!" Total surrender of self, “I just can't do this alone...” must be followed by a total commitment to God, “I won't give up, I won't let You go, You will make a way!” or, it is not a true surrender at all—did you get that? God made him state his name, which he knew meant, "deceiver and grabber", as a declaration of how he has lived so far, then God says, you have proven yourself this night, and your name will forever change as a sign; the new name, Israel, means "Prince of God", or "One who prevails with God!". You only, "Prevail" with God, by totally surrendering yourself to Him! As reward, Jacob's sons went on to become the twelve Tribes of Israel.
Jesus alone, won Salvation for you; but He wants you to prove your passion to be closer to Him; to show your real love for Him; and, He promises to reveal Himself in a special way to those who hunger after Him with such zeal. If anyone could do it, everyone would; if it cost nothing, it would be cheap and meaningless. Remember, Brick walls are not there to stop you, but to see who really wants it; to see if it's worth fighting for. If He is important to you, you will always find a way to go on with His help; if you are important to you, you will always find an excuse to quit.
Every person who accomplished anything for God in Scriptures, did so, not because they were forced; not because they went kicking and screaming, but because they had a passion to show their love for God, against the odds; they didn't quit; they had a zeal to scale the wall in front of them, instead of using it as an excuse to get out of the game. 2 Corinthians 7:5, 2 Corinthians 11:23-28, Colossians 1:24. Paul says that ‘whatever else you would like to have done to Jesus, to humiliate or hurt Him, and you can't because He's gone, please do it to me; let me have the honor of receiving what is meant for Him; let me complete His suffering Him on His behalf.’ But, all we want to say in our walk today is ‘God wouldn't expect me to continue when it's so hard; God wants me to be happy and successful, not stressed and broke.’ Jacob walked away with a black eye and a permanent limp, but, more successful than he'd been his whole life because he got that limp, by persevering instead of quitting. I would rather live my life with stress lines, no sleep, a less than perfect house, older cars, and missing a few things in life, but holding onto Christ, continuing when it costs, and fighting offensively with His blessings, than to have an easy life, lots of stuff, and doing what I want, but always quitting on God, always choosing to walk when it costs, always guarding what I have, rather than trusting what He gives.
When you lose a flip-flop, and it hurts to keep walking, that is no reason to question whether God wants you to go on. Stop quitting on Christ, embrace the struggle and hold on to Him; show Him you love Him in your perseverance, hold on in faith until He blesses, rather than giving up in fear and self-focus; and join the Brick Wall Club.
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