Yesterday some called me "Missionary Piantine", Sunday I was called "Pastor Tony", today I was introduced to a group as "Little Tony", and my kids call me "Dad". These are titles, something I have always felt uncomfortable with because they often can be misused by people. Titles do not make you into something you are not, they confirm what you are in Christ and can be used to remind you of what God wants you to be. Ministry is hard, in that if you are doing it correctly, you really are no longer you, you become what God wants.
I have always been drawn to the story of Jacob and when he wrestled with the Angel in Genesis 32. In the end, God changed his name, to be in line with God's plan. Jacob spent much of his time acting like Jacob, a man who was messed up and made problems. God needed him to set his mind on being what He needed him to be, which was Israel. God does the same in us, giving us names to help set our minds on who we are to be in Him. This story starts with Jacob spending a night wrestling with an angel, at some point near the morning Jacob grabbed on and would not let go. He clinged to the angel and asked for blessing.
I get Jacob, I am a fighter, I mess up, I deceive, I can get caught up in earthly problems and with people rather than by getting caught by God. I fight God way to much. I know that when I stop fighting and just cling to Him, that is when He works in me. When Jacob was clinging on, asking for blessing, he could no longer fight. At that point God disabled him, he hurt his hip. Jacob was weakened, and at that point was ready to be strong. God then blessed him.
So often our motives are to feel good, to take what God wants and twist it into something we can use. I think we all would like to have a blessing, but usually to be something that makes us feel good or to be strong. While the blessing my mind wants makes me feel good or strong, it pushes me away from God, not needing Him. If I would just learn to stay clung to Him and allow Him to weaken me so He can bless me, I could be so much more effective. His blessing can feel good or it can hurt, it has little to do with me here and now. It has to do with His eternal plan, a plan that takes me to heaven where I will feel good forever! I know I am like Jacob, I attempt to deceive and I hurt others and myself. I so desire to just cling to God and let Him have His way.
Jacobs name change makes much sense to me, The interpretations as to the meanings of the names are many, yet it seems that Jacob simply was a fleshly man that held onto men and their ways but became Israel who held onto God and His ways. I want to accept the name God has given me, I want to cling to God and experience His blessing to help me be what He wants. Weaken me God, so I can be strong to accept your blessing.