Living Marked by an Encounter with God
‘Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.” The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping because of his hip.’ (Genesis 32: 29-31, ESV)
I remember stepping out to center stage in my high school auditorium, lights in my eyes, and every chair empty but three. I was a bright-eyed freshman who wanted nothing more than to make the student-run spring musical. I thought it was a big deal because, unlike the faculty-supervised winter musical, not everyone that auditioned made it. Only the best made that
coveted cast list, and I had been practicing for days to make sure that my name was on it, no matter the part.
Little did I know that the song I sang, the scene I read, and the dance routine I perfected were the least of the things that made me stand out from the crowd that day. To my satisfaction, I made the cut. I felt accomplished; I felt like I was graduating from the kids' table and pulling my chair up to the real deal. Now, I look back and I can’t remember the song or the choreography, but I remember exactly what I wore on audition day.
Because it became my identifier. It was a brand-spanking new ‘Jesus is my Homeboy’ t-shirt, and I thought it was the most relevant and trendy thing in my 9th-grade wardrobe. I had just gotten it at a church conference that had fired me up and refreshed my spirit. So, with a boldness that I didn’t quite understand yet, I chose to wear it alone on a stage and under spotlights in front of the director, the stage manager, and the music director for a musical I was dying to get into. From that moment on, I was the Jesus Girl, a title I wore without shame– a title I still wear without shame. All because I wasn’t afraid to be marked by God like a walking billboard.
In the book of Genesis, we get to see an encounter between God and Jacob. Jacob goes out into the wilderness one night by himself where he comes upon a man and wrestles him all night. Just before dawn, the man reaches down and strains Jacobs hip from its socket. The man asks Jacob when he will relent and let him go, and Jacob answers that he won’t let up until the man blesses him. The man blesses him by giving him the name Israel, which The Message translates as ‘God-wrestler,’ and by the time the sun peeks above the horizon, the man is gone without a trace. It’s then that Jacob realizes that the man he fought all night long was God, and marvels at the fact that he saw His and lived to see the next day.
But Jacob had more than a new name to show from that night. He was physically marked by his encounter with God; a mark that continued to remind him of his unbelievable meeting with the Lord as he limped back to his family.
I want to be like Jacob. I want to be marked by an encounter with God. If that means I come away with a limp, so be it. If it means I come away with aches and pains, then they’re well worth it. If it means I have no friends to come back to, then that’s okay, because God restores what he takes away.
Here’s my point: I don’t want to be a quiet Christian. I don’t want to be someone who misses God when He purposes to meet me. And you shouldn’t either. You should want to be the person who meets God face-to-face and leaves forever changed. You should set out to make Jesus synonymous with your own name so that you and everyone around you will never forget who you belong to.
We should be the people that stop at nothing to run into the arms of the Father, and we should inspire as many people as possible to run on with us.
The fact is, when people say my name, I want Jesus’ name to be not long behind it. I want everything I do to be a conversation starter for Him. So that t-shirt, although I didn’t realize it that day, marked me as God’s to my entire community of friends in high school. For years after, people would reminisce about my fashion-backward choice of dress on audition day. Most of the time, it would be to poke fun at me, but there were more than a few times that people told me they admired that I had the guts to unapologetically be myself and literally wear it on my sleeve.
No matter where we were or what we did, people knew who I was and what I stood for. And because people knew that, they held me accountable, which only helped to reinforce behaviors and habits that strengthened my identity in Christ and built a foundation for my adult faith. Did I ever mess up? Absolutely; I was young and stupid, just like any high-schooler. But no matter what, it never took too long before someone said–
“Hey, aren’t you that Jesus girl?”
Yes. Yes, I am. Because I met Him, and I can never be the same again.
#christianfaith #christianlifestyle #christiandevotionals #christiandevotion #christianinspiration #christianliving #christiandevotional #Godencounter #encounter #genesis #jacob #markedbygod #jesus #thelord #bibleverse #bible #faith #devos #souldeepdevos #dailydevotions