What It Means To Contend With God
- 2016 Jan 04
So we’ve seemed to wander straight through the door marked 2016.
Here’s what I’m curious to know: did we leave the baggage of 2015 where it belongs, or did we carry it with us?
A few months ago, I remember reading a news story about a young man who didn’t pay the baggage fee for his flight, so he wore 12 layers of clothing on board the airplane. It’s no surprise he ended up vomiting and then passing out from heat exhaustion while in the air.
That man’s story makes me wonder how many extra layers we are wearing, how many suitcases we are trying to carry, and how spiritually sick we are from choosing to take care of our own baggage rather than check it in, for good, with God…
Let me tell you something: I’m great at carrying extra baggage, and I hate every moment of it.
I desperately want to leave the past in the past, but I know it’s impossible without first working out my issues with God. Because, friend, as much as I long to submit every part of me, the stubbornness of my flesh wants to pull me away from truth.
I’ve been studying Isaiah 43. I keep reading it over and over again wanting to excavate every priceless nugget it has to offer, and there’s something I cannot let go: We serve a God who says, “Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted.” (See Isaiah 43:26)
The word contend according to Merriam Webster means…
- To argue or state something in a strong and definite way
- To compete with someone or for something
- To compete with a good chance of winning
Based upon those definitions, if one is contending with God, then look out because there’s no way any of us are winning against the Almighty! However, being a person of competitive nature, I’ve found a loophole!
What if when God says, “Put Me in remembrance, ” He’s asking us to remind Him of His faithfulness to us? You see, this isn’t uncommon. When He destroyed the earth, He set His rainbow in the clouds to remind Himself of His promise to never again destroy the earth by water. (See Genesis 9:12-17)
There’s a lot of evil in this world and there may be times He wants to end it all, but He made a promise, and we serve a God who is faithful to every word He speaks.
So, what if we put Him in remembrance of His promises to us? What if the following example of contending becomes our battle?
- God, You are for me! (See Romans 8:31)
- God, You bind my wounds! (See Psalm 147:3)
- God, You will never leave me! (See Deuteronomy 31:6 and Hebrews 13:5)
- God, You know my name! (See Isaiah 43:1)
- God, You forgive me! (See 1 John 1:9)
- God You are merciful! (See Lamentations 3:22,23)
- God, Your love NEVER FAILS!!!! (See Psalm 136:1)
If this becomes our case we are sure to be acquitted!
What if the key to leaving our pain in the past is reminding God of Who He is to us?
Now, here’s the catch… God loves us so much that His needing to be reminded isn’t for His sake, it’s for ours.
By reminding Him, what we’re really doing is reminding ourselves of a God we often forget or choose to leave behind. When we carry excess baggage of hurt and sin, we tend to leave Him in exchange for that which only tears us apart. But if we remind ourselves of His faithfulness, what we’re really doing is contending with our flesh and standing strong for the God we were born to serve and love.
Dear Jesus, may each of us leave all that ails behind and go only with You.
Cast off that heavy baggage!
Happy New Year, fellow overcomers!
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