Are you winning or losing in the wrestling match of life?

Genesis 32:24, Wrestled with him. Why did Elohim wrestle all night with Jacob? Why not just wound him early on and save the time and trouble? What does this teach us about the long-suffering nature of Elohim, who will continue to strive with us and our fleshy tendencies and self-reliances, until we finally submit to him and recognize that only through him can we have real strength and victory, though we might end up physically lame in the process? Why the wrestling all night“till the breaking of the day”? What does night and breaking of day represent metaphorically with regard to our spiritual walk? What does this teach us about faith, the struggles of this life and about not giving up until the very end when the blessings and dawning of a new day are about to break forth? There are many things to learn from this passage of Scripture about ourselves.

At the end of his struggle, Jacob received the new name of Israel (verse 28). Through this struggle, he took a quantum leap spiritually and became a new man with a new identity. Has this ever happened to you? Don’t we progress spiritually only out of crisis? “There is no gain where there is no pain,” as the saying goes. 

What were the positive results of Jacob’s struggle? Verse 32 says of Jacob, “as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he limped upon his thigh.” Penuel means “faces of El.” Taking a little poetic license (at the drash, allegorical or third level of Hebraic biblical interpretation) here, we could paraphrase this verse as follows: “As Jacob emerged out of the darkness of self-reliance, the face of Elohim shined favorably upon him as he no longer relied on the flesh.” Pause to reflect on this for a moment and take quick stock of your spiritual walk in the light of these words.

Who are some other notable Biblical characters besides Jacob who struggled with trying to achieve their divine mission through human means? How about Abraham with Hagar, Moses when he murdered the Egyptian, Samson, or Peter when he cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant? Can you think of some others? What did these men learn about walking in the Spirit versus walking in the flesh? 

Now consider your own life. Have you ever struggled between doing your will versus submitting to the will and ways of Elohim? How did it go? 

Where are you at in the struggle of life?

The only way to know that there is higher way is to walk in the Spirit of Elohim through a spiritual relationship with Yeshua the Messiah and to learn about the heart, mind and will of the Creator. How to do we know how to do this? Simply this. By acknowledging the fact that our ways haven’t worked out so well for us and that we need help from above. This involves repenting of our sin (i.e. going against the ways of Elohim), receiving Yeshua as our Lord and Savior, and then studying the words, ways and will of Elohim in the Bible, and by studying the lives and examples, both the failure and successes, of the people written about therein, and then by conforming our lives to the truth of the Bible. In this manner, we go from being a child of the darkness to becoming a child of the light (1 Thess 5:1–5) with a new awareness, a new identity—an overcomer, a conqueror, and child or prince of El, like Jacob becoming Israel.

Genesis 32:28, Jacob but Israel. Jacob/Ya’acov means “heel snatcher/holder or supplanter,”while Israel/Yisra’el meansPrince of El or El Prevails/Prevailer with El.” What can we learn about the change of Jacob’s character as reflected in the changing of his name? Who is the focal point of the name and the initiator of the action in the first name … in the second name? What can we learn from this for our own faith walk?

Genesis 32:32, The muscle that shrank. Please notice that the sinew, representing the strength of Jacob’s, flesh only shrank. It was not removed. What does this signify spiritually with regard to the redeemed man’s old sin nature? 

Simply this. At the point in one’s spiritual journey when one is regenerated by the Spirit of Elohim, a person doesn’t lose their identity, personality or soul (i.e. his mind, will and emotions). 

What then happens to a person’s soul? It must be transformed and renewed by the Spirit of Elohim to be conformed to YHVH’s perfect will (Rom 12:2). One’s soul (their mind, will and emotions or personality) will still try to assert dominance over their personal spirit or the spirit that resides inside of them, but one must learn to submit their soul and spirit to the Spirit of Elohim, that is, to the mind, will, ways and Word of Elohim, their Creator. 

Paul discusses the struggle between the soul and the spirit in ­Romans 7:14–25. This is the same struggle that Jacob faced in his dark night of the soul. There he died to his own will and finally submitted totally to that of his Heavenly King.


Acting Defensively as a Cover-Up for Own Sinful Inadequacies

How often do people have a personality and a worldview that is based on a mental and spiritual paradigm that is defensive and self-protective? Someone with such a personality often excuses and absolves themselves of responsibility for their actions by shifting the blame off of self by accusing others for the negative consequences their actions. The actions of such a person often proceed from that person’s mental and spiritual carnal nature strongholds. It is out of these strongholds (e.g. pride, selfishness, fear, greed, lust, bitterness, etc.) and an attempt to cover their  sin (instead of dealing with it through admission of responsibility followed by confession and repentance) that these defensive, self-preservationist actions occur. Those on the receiving end of the person’s defensive, sinful actions will see this person as accusative, angry, contentious, lying, arrogant and fearful. These are the bad fruits of a carnally-minded person.

Moreover, our own sins often blind us from clearly seeing the sins of others. What happens, in an effort to cover up our own sins and absolve and excuse ourselves from responsibility for our own sinful actions, is that we often condemn and accuse others of that which we ourselves are guilty. This is called blame shifting and is a merely a slight-of-hand diversionary tactic to distract the attention of those we’re trying to deceive. By resorting to this defensive strategy, we get the critical eye of others off ourselves and we effectively are able to cover and hide our own sins thus escaping responsibility for our own evil actions.

This is why we have to be so careful when pointing fingers at others for any reason. Perhaps we are guilty of the same sin for which we’re accusing others.

In fact, the wise person, when he sees himself accusing someone of something, will stop for a moment of self-reflection and self-analysis to determine if he is actually reacting in a hypocritical and duplicitous manner. If so, this is an excellent opportunity for one to gain an insight into the dark areas of one’s own soul and to admit his own glaring sinfulness and to confess and repent of that sin. This takes great courage and spiritual maturity, but provides one with a great opportunity to overcome sin and to grow closer to Elohim by becoming more like Yeshua.

Accountability to others is vitally important to help keep us on the narrow path of righteousness and truth and to even aid us in maturing spiritually. With the help of those to whom we make ourselves accountable, we will learn to act under the controlling influence of the Word and Spirit of Elohim. We will be disinclined merely to act out of carnal emotional and mental (often demonically-influenced) impulses that are based on sin-strongholds that exist deep in our soul as a result of past wounds and hurts. These past hurts continually jerk us around by dictating how to act and what to say when we are confronted with difficult, embarrassing situations (Gal 5:16–17). Instead of being led by the Spirit of Elohim to respond appropriately in crisis situations resulting in the fruit of the Spirit being produced (Gal 5:16, 22–25), such a person, instead, tends to react emotionally, impulsively and defensively and the outcome is the works of the flesh (Gal 5:19–21).

This is why accountability to others is important. Other people will help us to see our blind spots and, if we can get past our own pride and proclivity to react self-defensively, to overcome our fleshly, carnal, sinful tendencies, and to walk under the control of the Spirit of Elohim thus producing the fruit of the Spirit instead of the works of the flesh.

As a result, our interpersonal relationships will improve, stress will diminish and the peace of Elohim will fill our lives and will live in an atmosphere of love, joy and peace instead of strife, contention and anger.


The 15 Enemies of Torah Obedience

Almost the whole world and nearly the entire Christian church has fallen under the control of the 15 enemies of Torah-obedience. Who and what are these enemies and what lies do they use to keep people from obeying the Word of Elohim in the Bible? This video pulls the veil back and exposes men’s archenemies for the liars and deceivers they are.