I remember when I wrestled with the Spirit of God. I (yes teeny weenie me) in one corner and the Omnipotent, Transcendent and Almighty in the other. But who has never fought against God after hearing the gospel? Or was it a bout with myself -my old man so to speak? The gospel seems to go against the very grain of our humanity. It asserts that man is broken and helpless. It asserts that we are dead in sin and cannot of our selves change that nature. To underscore this very important fact God gave us the Ten Commandments as a moral code. Try as you may to obey one commandment and you break all. Break one and you find you easily break the rest. The easiest thing is to harden your heart and resist any demands of the Law.
I will not jump to the outcome of our sublime rendezvous. The fight the so seemed to have changed my life. I shall first show you some one who also actually wrestled with God in the Bible.
“Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day” (Gen. 32:24).
“The Holy One cannot be defeated in personal combat. But there is some consolation here. Jacob wrestled with God and lived. He was left crippled, but he survived that battle. At least we can learn from this that God will engage us in our honest struggles. We may wrestle with the Holy One. Indeed, for the transforming power of God to change our lives, we must wrestle with Him. We must know what it means to fight with God all night if we are also to know what it means to experience the sweetness of the soul’s surrender.” ~The Holiness of God, R.C Sproul.
The sweetness of the surrender is the most rewarding of experiences. Therein lies the moment that we realise our dependance on God to become what he has always had wanted us to be. When we align our will with God’s will. The bible says, ‘And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.’
The Bible says, the Spirit of God or rather the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement. The day of my conversion I fought a fight. A no holds-barred match with no time limits and no disqualifications. It was not a tag team match were I could tag a partner in and seat out a bit and rest. Mano a mano (as the Spanish say) I seemed to tussle it out till one of us would tap out. I had grown up going to an Anglican church and later went to a strict catholic boarding school but that was just the beginning of a long journey of run ins with the Moral law and the spirit of God. Now we know as the bible says that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. I came to know that by breaking the law I was a sinner. But I didn’t want to come to God because I wanted to do things my way. Live a pious life my way. Fulfil the ten moral commandments and dot the ‘i’s and cross all ‘t’s.
This night I recounted the millions of times I had heard the gospel – that Jesus was the vile sinner on the cross. He was the only one to ever have lived a morally perfect life. But for my sake he took my slot and faced God’s undiluted wrath. He drank every drop from the cup of God’s wrath against sin, turned it over and said ‘It is finished.’ He died on that cross so that in exchange I could have his righteousness. His moral perfection imputed to me. This night the enormity of my sins weighed me down. The Holiness of God made it no match for me. It dawned on me that if I died that night in my sin I would be eternally lost because I would have rejected the one substitute that was made as an atonement for my sin. God was pleased with Christ’s death for me and he raised him up on the third day. Of all people I would have no hope if having heard this great news, I rejected so great a plan of salvation. Yet there I was ready to fight and resist this God to the teeth.
Endless night it was. Cold sweat was dripping down my bed as I cried to God to give me a chance to turn away from my sin. Just only one more minute so that I can put my faith in Christ. Just one more minute as I realised the enormity of my own depravity. This point of brokenness is a miracle that God alone can bring. Who can bring about a regenerative change in the spirit of a man than the God who created him?
St Augustine of Hippo rightly said:
No one knows what he himself is made of, except his own spirit within him, yet there is still some part of him which remains hidden even from his own spirit; but you, Lord, know everything about a human being because you have made him…Let me, then, confess what I know about myself, and confess too what I do not know, because what I know of myself I know only because you shed light on me, and what I do not know I shall remain ignorant about until my darkness becomes like bright noon before your face.” ~St. Augustine of Hippo 354-430 AD
Oh God, when ever I wrestle with you lead me to the place of sweet surrender. Lead me to a place of your irresistible grace before day break.