Steven Furtick - The Limp Won't Make You Late
I want to welcome all of our locations. This campus, our Ballantyne Campus, is called our broadcast location. Let's welcome all of our eFam all around the world right now who are joining us. Hey, everybody! The Lord gave me a word on Monday. I've been sitting with it all week, so I can't wait to get to it. So I'm not going to do any announcements. I'm just going to get right to it because I'm excited. We're going to revisit Genesis, chapter 32, the Scripture I shared last week. We're going to jump in at verse 24, some things the Lord has been dealing with me about and some things I believe he wants to assure you about. This will be a word of assurance for somebody today.
Genesis, chapter 32, verse 24. The Bible says, "So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, 'Let me go, for it is daybreak.' But Jacob replied, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.'" I talked last week about The Blessing of Letting Go, that sometimes it's not our strength but our surrender that determines our ability to move forward in life. Specifically, what Jacob was letting go of in this passage wasn't the man; it was letting go of a previous version of himself. Watch this. "The man asked him, 'What is your name?' 'Jacob,' he answered".
Now, he had pretended to be his brother Esau (we'll talk about that in a moment), but now he's saying his own name, and when he said his own name… Verse 28: "Then the man said, 'Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.' Jacob said, 'Please tell me your name.' But he replied, 'Why do you ask my name?' Then he blessed him there. So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, 'It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.'" Last verse I want to read, key verse for today. Verse 31: "The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip". Turn to your neighbor and say, "I've got good news. The limp won't make you late". Isn't that good news? Let's pray.
Father, I commend your people to you now, and I ask you to flow through me, Holy Spirit, with clarity, supernatural accuracy, and indelible power. Make an imprint on the lives of your people, a mark that can't be erased. In Jesus' name, amen.
I think the reason I'm perennially drawn to this text is because it illustrates one of my favorite things to teach people from the Bible, and that's the concept of progressive revelation. When I say "progressive revelation," it's not just so I can use big words. It's so you don't get confused at certain points in your life where you learn something that causes you to have to unlearn everything you thought you knew up until that point. Progressive revelation is the idea that as God is going in the Scriptures, we see more and more of who he really is.
You don't get all of God just by reading the book of Genesis. You don't get all of God just by reading Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the Pentateuch, those first five books of the Bible. You don't get all of God by reading all the way to the book of Malachi and finishing the Old Testament or Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John or all of the Epistles, the letters Paul wrote to the church, or James or even the book of Revelation. You don't get all of God even when you finish… If you go all the way to the "Book of Maps" in the back, you still will not have mastered God. This Scripture is interesting, because Jacob asked this angel for his name, and he was like, "Nope. Not yet. I'm not going to tell you. I'm going to make sure you know your name". But God's name wasn't revealed until Moses came along, so that would be many years later. It would be many centuries later. That's what I mean by progressive revelation.
Now, it's not like God got his name when Moses came along, but there are things we know as we go. So, when I tell you today that you're not late in life, that may be difficult for you to believe because of what you thought you knew that you needed to do by now, who you thought you needed to be at this stage in your life. The thing about God's activity is that his revelation is on a schedule, but this schedule is usually not seen by us. His revelation is on schedule, and it's a schedule you can't see. Write that down as a point today: revelation is scheduled. It's hard for me to believe that I'm pastoring this church going into our eighteenth year. Why it's so crazy is when I envisioned myself starting a church, I was 16, but I thought I'd start the church when I was in my 40s.
Now here I am in my 40s, and I've been pastoring the church for 18 years. That's just crazy to me. God set the schedule for when he wanted me to do this, and then Holly… Holly has an interesting concept of time. Usually she's the one behind schedule in certain areas of life. She's doing a lot better with it. There was one time where she was the one who was early and I was running late. Usually in our marriage it's that I'm waiting in the car and she's running a little late. Very stereotypical male thing to say in the sermon intro, but it was true in our marriage, especially for the first few years. But in one of our first conversations about this church, she said, "You know, I believe it's time for us to go start this church". We were in our 20s. We had only been married a couple of years. She said, "I think it's time". I said, "It's not time. We're going to do it later. I'm going to go do something else for 20 years and learn everything I need to know, and then we'll start the church".
So she pointed me to the resources God had given us. She let me see in that moment that although we didn't feel like we had the experience we needed, and I didn't feel like I had the knowledge I needed, God's calling is more important than human knowledge. So, she was the person who said to me, "I believe it's time for us to go do this," and the stupidity of youth aided by faith in God led us to start a church in our 20s. Praise the Lord. Now, the thing about that is at the time she made mention of that to me… I talk about progressive revelation. There are a lot of mistakes I believe I made because I started the church so early that I probably would not have made if I had been more mature.
When I started the church at age 27, there were some things I didn't know yet about human nature and, to be honest, some things I didn't know about myself, my own deficits, my own psychological garbage that I probably hadn't dealt with properly. There were a lot of things I still had to go through to really know who I was. Remember, in the text that I read you, Jacob not only doesn't know who God is fully, but he doesn't know who he is fully yet either, and he was 90 years old when this happened. So, tell somebody next to you, "There's hope for you yet". One day recently I was going through a list of all of the dumb things I did in the foundational stages of our church that I regret now because, looking back, I say, "That was so dumb that I set it up that way. If I hadn't have set it up like this, we wouldn't be dealing with that.
Now I see that this was a bad idea. I thought it was good, but now this thing that I thought was so good when we started, and this thing I said is now just…" I'm just beating myself up. That's my spiritual gift: to beat the crap out of myself. So, I'm doing all this jujitsu on myself, making myself feel bad. Again, with wisdom, she steps in and says something that's so simple but so wise. She's like, "Why are you punishing yourself for decisions you made with revelation you didn't have at the time? Why are you punishing yourself over yesterday's mistake with today's revelation"? The truth of the matter is that at every stage along the way of leading this church, I've tried to do what I thought was right in that season with the resources I had, and I can respect that.
Even if I came to see later that I could have done it better, I did what was right at the time. I led in the light I had. With the light I had, with the knowledge I had, with the wisdom I had, meager though she were, I led this church the best I could in the light I had. I want to call your attention to two parts of Genesis 32:31. One says, "The sun rose above Jacob as he passed Peniel," and the other says, "He was limping". For the rest of this message, I want to talk about those two physical elements, but I want to use them symbolically for spiritual purposes for what you're going through in your life. It says, "The sun rose" and "He limped".
There are two characters at play in this text. There's the light and the limp. What I want to make the case to you about in your life, Jacob's life, and my life today is that the light didn't stop the limp, but the limp couldn't stop the light. So, here Jacob is, 90-plus years old, getting ready to go deal with his brother Esau whom he cheated out of a blessing 20 years earlier. Jacob has spent 20 years in sort of a layover situation at his uncle's house. His uncle is named Laban. As often happens in life, what happened to him during the layover was even more important than what happened when he got to the destination. It was at Laban's house that he met his wife Leah. It was also at Laban's house that he met his second wife Rachel.
Isn't it true sometimes the stuff that happens while you're trying to get where you're going becomes the stuff that's the most important? While you're on the way to where you're going, you stumble over what you were actually supposed to do all along. That is absolutely true in my life, yet we don't see by all the light there is, only the light we have. Right now, somebody is living in the light, but only a little bit of light. All night long, Jacob has wrestled with a man. He's not sure who the man is at first. He's not even really sure who the man is when the match is over, but he has a little bit of a better picture, a little bit of a clearer picture. He's wrestling, grappling, and, in many ways, losing in this battle against this opponent he can't see. He is living in the light he has.
As daybreak comes and he lets the man go and lets go of his former self to receive his new identity, the light rises over him. He walks past Peniel. He says, "This is the place where I saw God". The sun is rising, and he's limping at the same time. To me, that is very powerful to describe what it is like to walk with God. I remembered this funny story. Graham probably doesn't remember it, but one of his early birthdays, I was out preaching in Oklahoma. I wanted to be home for his birthday. Somebody let us borrow their little plane, so we were going to fly back that night so I could preach at night and then fly back.
We got on the plane. The plane was very small, so it couldn't get above the weather, so we had to circle around all of these storms, but I wanted to be back by his birthday. He was probably only 4 or 5 at the time. We got on that plane, and the pilot said, "We're going to be able to get you home, but it's just a matter of when, because we're going to have to stop a bunch of times to refuel this plane because the plane is very little and can't hold much fuel, and we're going to have to fly around the weather, so we don't know". We took a three-hour trip from Oklahoma City to Charlotte, North Carolina, and 12 hours later, at 7:00 a.m., I walked in the front door. Graham was just waking up on his birthday, and he said, "How did you get here so quick?" because he thought I'd left that morning. He had no idea that I had been flying all night to get there what he called "quick".
People ask me sometimes "How did Elevation Church grow so quickly"? Sometimes people look at your life, and they can't understand how you are where you are. They look at you, and they think it just came naturally, but what they don't see is "I fought all night. I fought all night to get here. I fought all night and half the morning. I fought all night and half the morning, and that's before my husband even woke up. That was my second fight, and the kids were the third. Getting them to get dressed was the third. I fought all night to get here". There is a sense in which Jacob in this passage serves as a model for all of us who have been going through things others don't see, showing up looking like we planned to get there all along. But they don't really know what you went through to get there, do they? They don't really know what you went through to show up at the job every day last week, do they?
And you would never tell them that. To tell them what you went through to get there would make you feel a little vulnerable and insecure because you don't think you're supposed to fight, because nobody else shows you their fight. You only see the fragments of their lives that shine through a screen light. So, through the light of the screen, you can't really see the struggles other people deal with. So now here you are in your life feeling like, "Oh, I feel like I'm a little behind. Oh, I feel like I'm not where I'm supposed to be". Who says you're not where you're supposed to be? "Well, I'm not where they are". Well, how do you know where they are really? You don't know what they dealt with last night. You don't know what they were doing last night. You don't know what's going through their mind right now. So why would I compare myself with somebody I can't see through?
I think it's worse than ever for our kids, because now I have to compare myself to the whole world at all times. When I first started learning how to play guitar, I just had to be better than my friends in Moncks Corner who also played guitar. There were three. Now I have to look at a 4-year-old in Japan who can play "Stairway to Heaven" left-handed on one string. I saw it. And just about when you think you're doing pretty good, here comes somebody. Y'all, there is a man in our neighborhood… I testify. God as my witness, I am not lying. When we walked by his house yesterday, he was putting up his Christmas lights. Pray for all of the dysfunctional people who are clapping for that like that's normal. That's a demon. That's a childhood trauma. That needs therapy, because it's November 5. It just got cold three hours ago, and you're blasting "Simply having a wonderful…"
He had music playing in his yard. All of the kids were out there. Nobody was fighting. I was like, "What's wrong with me? I don't even know where we keep our Christmas lights. Holly is in charge of that. I'm not a man. I'm not a good man". When my kids started playing sports, I thought, "Well, maybe I'll coach their team". They started playing baseball. I found out really quick the standards for coaching Little Leage baseball have changed since I played Little League baseball. It used to be "Show up. Don't be drunk. Don't yell at the ump". My dad coached my team, and he didn't ever play baseball, didn't know about baseball. He went to the library and checked out a book. I used to see him reading the book. "How to Coach Little League Baseball".
Times have changed. He bought a rule book. He memorized the rule book. He was out there teaching us to play baseball. The team was worse than he was. All he'd let us do the whole season was bunt because we were that bad. So, I'm out there thinking, "Well, maybe I could coach the team. Maybe I could go to the library, go over to the card catalogue, get a little book, and learn how to coach, and maybe that would be a good memory for the kids". Man, I don't remember if they were 5 or 7 or 9. I don't remember exactly. It's all blurry. But they started talking to me pretty much before the boys were in middle school. "You got them on a travel team yet"? I'm like, "A who what? I'm doing good to get them out there for every practice". "No, if you don't have them on a travel team…"
This is what the man pulled me aside and explained. "If you don't have them on a travel team by age 10, they'll fall behind. They won't even be able to make the middle school team". I said, "Wow! Looks like you're not making the middle school team. Better learn to wrestle or something". There's nothing bad about travel teams or elite teams or AAU or any of that. That's all wonderful…except when your whole life begins to kind of feel like that, where I feel like I'm behind, and I don't even know how I got behind, but it seems like everybody knows something, has something, sees something, and can do something I can't do. What I realized about Jacob's life, as the sun was rising and he was limping, is he was born feeling behind. In the literal birth order of Jacob and Esau (they were twins), separated by only a few seconds, Jacob was only going to get one-third of the inheritance, because that's the way it worked in those days. When he was born, he came out grabbing his brother's heel.
That's what the name Jacob means. It means heel grabber. There was something in him even in the womb that was wrestling against his brother, something that felt like, "I'm behind, and I can't be behind". For all of his clutching and grasping at his brother's heel, he still came out second. Now, at age 90, he's very blessed because he has stolen a blessing and a birthright from his blind father Isaac, yet there's a wrestling match that happens on his way to reconcile with Esau. It has been 20 years since he has seen him. As he's getting ready to go and face Esau and make it right with Esau (he hopes, because Esau could kill him), an angel appears and wrestles him to the point where his hip is wrenched. He leaves the presence of the angel to face his brother, and the only evidence he has that he has met with God is his limp.
We think the evidence that we've been with God is that our situation gets better. We then take all of the evidence other people present to us of how good their life is, and compared to them putting up their Christmas lights in April… Compared to them whose kids are always on a field somewhere getting better and better with hitting coaches and batting cages, and we can barely afford to buy the bat to begin with, so how would we pay for the private coaching lessons if we could… I came to announce to you today that nothing in your life is originated divinely by your comparison to people, only by your commitment to purpose. The starting place for contentment is commitment to purpose.
Why is that important? Because the alternative to commitment to purpose is comparison to people. If I'm comparing myself to people, I'm always grabbing heels. If I'm comparing myself to people, I'm always feeling either better than or less than, but neither of those will bring you close to God. If I'm comparing myself to people, I'll always feel like I was born behind, and here's why: because everybody in here has a limp, but some limps are more easily hidden than others. Some limps show up later in life. Some limps show up privately. Some limps show up in intimate relationships. Some limps show up in an inability to hold down a job. Some limps have catastrophic results. Some limps have insidious effects that no one can see. Some limps you carry alone, but everybody came in here limping. Yeah, you came, but you're limping. You've been limping this week. It has been a long week because you've been limping.
"I'm limping. I'm here, but I'm limping. I love God, but I'm limping". I'm bringing this back from last week because something needs to break in our lives to where we stop showing up on Sunday and don't get what we really need from God because we don't want anybody to see where we really limp, or where you stop coming to church every time you have to limp in because you feel too guilty. That's how shame operates. The time when you need to drag your behind to this church the most is the time where you've done the dumbest stuff in your life and you say, "God, I need a course correction. God, I need you to top me off. I need you to fill me. I feel empty. I feel crazy. I don't feel like myself". Limp in here and see if the Lord won't lift you up. The Bible says, "Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and in due time he'll lift you up".
Watch this. Somebody say, "The light is coming". It's a new day dawning on Jacob. The sun is coming up over Jacob. The night is over. The wrestling is over. The struggle is over. He has let go of his old self. He has received a new name. He has been touched and transformed by God. He is carrying destiny. He is on his way to his purpose, but he's limping, because the light doesn't stop the limp. Just because you know doesn't mean you can do it. Just because God shows you who he's calling you to be doesn't mean you yet have the courage to do it. Everything I've become in my life, everything I've accomplished in my life that was worthwhile for God, I confess to you, I limped into.
What are you limping into today? The light is coming and Jacob is limping, and those are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes we get confused. We think when the light comes, the limping stops. We think when we see Jesus, meet Jesus, receive Jesus, grow in Jesus, that means we're automatically going to accelerate and reach the place where he has called us to be. The evidence of this meeting with Jesus was a limp that never left Jacob's life. I suggest to you that some of the times of the greatest light will also be the times of the greatest limp. The Bible says Jacob limped all the way to the place where he met his brother. Sidenote: you can get there limping.
Where God has taken you, where he's calling you, what he's drawing out of you, what he's using you to do, what he's moving you into, how he's maturing you, how he's growing you… It might not be pretty. That's all right. Nobody's is. All of the pretty people just have really hidden limps. Some of the people with the biggest strut are compensating for something that they're dragging behind them. Now, imagine you're Jacob. And maybe this is how you feel in your life. He's coming up on something that is the most important meeting he has ever had. If this goes badly, Esau kills him. The stakes are high. How many would say that's high stakes? And it's not like it's even going to be a close call because Esau is a skilled hunter. Jacob is a skilled cook.
By the way, that's part of the reason Jacob felt very insecure in his life: he never had his father's love. His father loved Esau. One of the reasons he pretended to be his brother was to get the love of a father who expected him to be something he could never become because it wasn't according to his purpose. Jacob isn't just limping at age 90; he has been limping all of his life because of the love he didn't get from the only one who could really confer a blessing on him. He's limping. See, there is a reason. If in your life you're not who you're supposed to be yet, there's a reason for that. There's an explanation for it.
"Yeah, I would love to be a better wife, but it's hard for me because I didn't see that modeled. I've been limping". "I would love to be a more patient person, but I grew up in a family where people exploded with their temper. I am trying to unlearn that template so I can change it and turn it around so my kids don't live with my limp". "I wish I was farther along, and I wish I had saved more money, but nobody taught me how to do this thing, so I went into debt trying to compensate for the love I didn't get. I went into debt trying to compensate for the approval I didn't get. I've been limping my whole life. I've been struggling my whole life".
The truth of it is some of the people who are critical of you would celebrate you if they could understand how hard it was for you to get to this point with your limp. Don't let them intimidate you when they show you their dance, because everybody limps somewhere. They're not farther along than you; they're just called to a different place than you so they have a different pace from you. So, when you get there on Thanksgiving and they say, "I thought you'd be married by now," say, "I thought you would have learned how to pray and let God lead me by now and stop trying to manipulate my life. I'm not late. I'm moving this thing along. The man I'm going to marry is still earning his millions. Yeah, I'm not late. This is a layover.
I'm going to get some blessings, some maturity, some strength, some lessons, some truth. I'm going to get some things while I'm at Laban's house that when I get where God is taking me, I've got everything I need". Humble yourself. Tell your neighbor, "Your limp won't make you late". What I love about Jacob is he has been up all night. He's tired. He's scared. He's afraid. He's in turmoil. He has an ulcer. He's about to fight his brother. He doesn't know what's going to happen next. He's uncertain. He's anxious. "Pastor, I thought you were talking about Jacob. It sounds like you're talking about me". We're talking about all of us. But the sun is coming up. It's a new day in Jacob's life.
So watch what he does. Verse 31, my favorite verse this week. I'll have a different favorite verse next week. I change favorite verses like most people change shoes. I change favorite verses every chance I get. Genesis 32:31: "The sun rose…" The light came. "…and he was limping". "Now not only do I have to face Esau, but I have to do it limping. That means I can't even run". Has God got you in a place right now where you can't run from it? Did he do that intentionally? Is he trying to show you who you really are, who he really is? Have you been caught in the constant comparison trap where it is a cycle that makes you sick, a nauseating noticing of what everybody else has that you don't have? "Wait up! I'm limping. I'm trying to catch you, but I can't".
You know, not only did Jacob feel this way but your great apostle Paul felt this way. He was writing to the Corinthian church, and they were doubting his credentials as an apostle. They said he didn't speak as well as Apollos, so he wrote them a letter. When he got to about chapter 15 of 1 Corinthians… That's a long letter. He started telling them how he really felt about it. He said in verse 3, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance…" Now, that underscores the first part of my message. I started this message by telling you that we are all leading in the light we have. That's what Paul is saying. He's saying, "In the light that I have, I passed it on to you".
Now, Paul had more light than Jacob because he lived in the aftermath of the resurrection…not only the birth and death of Jesus Christ but the resurrection. So he said, "I received this revelation, and I passed it on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas [Peter], and then to the Twelve". Now watch how long the list is that Paul gives, and I'll show you why I'm reading this. "After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born".
Last of all. If you ask for people to quote a Scripture from the New Testament, the first ones that come to our minds are written by this guy Paul. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". "I have learned the secret of being content". "I am crucified with Christ". All of these wonderful things the apostle Paul passed on to us, yet he said, "I was the last one he appeared to". In a literal, chronological sense he meant it. After Jesus had been taken up and they all got to see him in bodily form, he had to knock Paul down on the Damascus road, blind his eyes, change his name from Saul to Paul, and bring him to a place of conversion. But he also meant it a little differently.
Look at the verse again. Verse 8: "…as to one abnormally born". Many believe Paul was speaking here of the fact that the Corinthians called him names. He was very small. That's literally what his name means. Paul means small. So, there is much speculation among scholars that Paul was called the "small one," the "little one". There's even language in this text that makes us think maybe Paul was calling himself some kind of freak. "I'm a freak. I came last. He showed up to all of the other apostles in physical form, but to me, I was the last one". "And yet," Paul says, "even though I got a late start, even though I don't deserve it, even though I might be smaller than, less than, and have seen less than…" Look at verse 9. "For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God".
Do you see how he's still limping over the life he lived before he met Christ? He never got over that. He was present at the stoning of Stephen, and he never forgot it. That guilt never went away from Paul. That shame never fully left him. He is still dealing with it, and the church he is trying to lead is throwing it back in his face. He says, "I'm not going to argue with you about that. I'm not going to pretend that I don't limp. I'm not going to try to pretend like I was the first in line. I'm not here because I was the first in line. I'm here by faith through grace, and the grace of God that reached for me, that reached and pulled me from the back of the line…"
I came to preach to somebody who has been limping. "I've been behind lately. I don't know what I need to know. I didn't get what I wanted to have". But watch what Paul said. "I'm the least. I don't deserve it. But by the grace of God I am what I am". "I'm not racing to become something I'm not called to be. I am what I am". Somebody say, "I am what I am, and where I am is where the Great I Am wanted me to be". So, I'm limping, but I'm not late. "I'm not up to your standard, but I'm not living for your approval because I'm not created by your hand because my days aren't ordained in your book. I'm right on time, because watch this. The light is coming. I've been depressed, but the light is coming. I've been down, having trouble figuring it out, but the light is coming. I've been unsure, down on myself, drowning in insecurity, but the light is coming. The light is coming! The joy is coming! A new day is dawning!
I'm waking up to what I always was. I am what I am by the grace of God, and the grace that brought me safe thus far will lead me home. If I've got to get there limping, if I've got to get there a little behind, if I've got to get there Tuesday, if I've got to push it back to Wednesday, if I've got to make up for it at the end of 2023, I shall do it"! The Lord said it's no coincidence that I'm preaching this on Daylight Saving Time Sunday, because something happened this morning when you woke up. You had an extra hour you didn't know you had. God said, "I'm going to give you time. I'm going to restore the years. You're going to have time to do it".
Whoever it's for, it's hitting deep right now, and I don't want this shout to get in the way of you receiving this ministry. It is a terrible thing to watch everybody else go ahead of you and feel like you're limping, to watch everybody else be happy and feel like there's some demon in you that won't let you enjoy life, to watch everybody else move up in their career and feel like you keep moving backward, staying plateaued. Every time you get a little momentum, you get a little setback. You're limping. But the grace of God came to Paul. The grace of God came to Jacob. The light of God is dawning in your life to let you know you're not late. In order for you to be late, there would have had to be something God did not account for that happened in your life, and if something happened in your life that God didn't account for, then he's not God.
So, the fact that God started it means he knows where it's supposed to be right now. It means that when God called you, he accounted for traffic. I'm so tired of watching people beat themselves up over comparison that has nothing to do with their calling, asking little 4-year-olds, "What college are you applying to"? We've gone absolutely crazy in this culture. I want to say to you that the spirit that gets on you that has you subjecting yourself to a standard that has nothing to do with the Spirit of God has to let you go right now in the name of Jesus. You can put your Christmas lights up in February for all I care. I'm not late. I abide in Christ. Since I abide in him, that means everything in its season that's supposed to come forth is coming up.
Say, "I abide in Christ, and everything in my life is coming up". Say it again. "I abide in Christ, and everything in my life is coming up lovely, in abundance, at just the right time". I dare you to give God a praise for that. The light is coming, man. I know it has been a dark night. You've been wrestling alone. You've been feeling behind your whole life, but the light is coming. Limp into it. I said, "Lord, what do you want me to tell them about this message that they can never forget"? He said to tell you, "Limp into it". If there's one thing I love about Jacob… He might have been limping, but he didn't lie down. That's how you accomplish it, that's how you make it, that's how you grow, and that's how you know who God is. You limp into it. The beauty of today's limp is that it becomes tomorrow's lean.
Follow me really quick. I was reading about the end of Jacob's life. He lived 50 more years after this wrestling match, so guess what: Esau didn't kill him. He had to limp to Esau. In Genesis 33:4, the Bible says he made his way toward Esau. Remember, he's limping. As Esau is coming toward him… The Bible says in Genesis 33:4, "Esau ran to meet Jacob". The beauty of that is that Jacob couldn't run to it, so it ran to him. Did you hear what I just said to you?
You've been thinking, "Well, if I would have had this opportunity sooner, I could have done it, but I can't now, because look at where I am now". No, no, no. You limp to it, and God will make it run to you. In fact, when the writer of Hebrews many centuries later… Remember, it's progressive revelation. We don't even know at this point in the story where Jacob and Esau are going to go. We don't even know at this point in the story that this is the nation of Israel that Jacob is carrying with him. We don't know any of that yet, and you don't know any of that yet, but it's all on God's schedule of revelation. So, at the end of Jacob's life… This is what the author of Hebrews said about him. Hebrews 11:20: "By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come".
Now watch this. This is how I want you to leave today. Verse 21: "By faith Jacob, when he was dying…" Fifty years after he wrestled with God. "…when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff". What it means to me is that my limping today will teach me to lean tomorrow. The greatest blessing of Jacob's life happened not as he was running, grabbing, but as he was leaning. So, the Lord said, "Limp into it," but make sure that what you're leaning on can hold you as you do, because for what you're going through, you can't lean on the addiction.
It won't hold you. For what you're going through right now, you can't lean on your own understanding. It can't direct you. For what you're going through right now, you certainly cannot lean on what other people are saying you should do, because they don't know either. They are just as lost as you, and they don't have the light. So, today, if you've been limping, yet you see some light coming through, I want you to stand up, because I want to pray for you in this moment and in this season of your life that you would not lie down and die in the light but you would live to see the scheduled revelation of who God has created you to be and what he has called you to do.
Father, in Jesus' name, I take a page from Hebrews, chapter 11, and I bless your people by faith. For some of the things we're going forward into, nothing but faith will get us there. Nothing but faith will carry us forward. Specifically, now I want to pray for someone who has been limping and thought it made them less. Maybe the light you want to give them today is the knowledge that you've still got them right where you want them, and even just that would be enough to keep them going forward. Our eyes are on you, Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith. We fix our eyes not on things that are seen but things that are unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Thank you for the light. Thank you for your Word. Thank you for the gospel of your Son Jesus. Thank you that we don't wander like those in darkness, hopeless. Thank you that you have not left us in our ignorance but have given us the light of the revelation, and this in the face of Christ, the glory of God. We have seen you face-to-face, yet we did not die. We call this place Peniel, and we thank you for the light of the gospel flooding in. We thank you for new beginnings today.
Right now, I want to pray for somebody who needs to make this day their new beginning, somebody who the Lord Jesus Christ is calling unto himself right now. You know, when the light comes, when you can't see any way forward but that next step, that's all God calls you to take. The very first step of faith is to give your life to Jesus Christ, and right now, it would be my privilege and my honor if you say, "I've been far away from God, and this message today, I feel God drawing me back. Yes, I'm limping, and yes, I'm limited, and yes, I've wasted some time, but I'm coming toward the light today".
If you take that one step toward him, he will carry you. He will rescue you. He will save you. He will cleanse you. He will forgive you. He will make you a new creation. He will change your name. With heads bowed and eyes closed all over this campus and all of our campuses, we're going to pray a prayer out loud for those who are coming to God or coming back to God. Repeat this prayer after me:
Heavenly Father, I am a sinner in need of a Savior. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world, and today I make Jesus the Lord of my life. I believe he died that I would be forgiven and rose again to give me life. I receive this new life. This is my new beginning.
On the count of three, raise your hand if you prayed that. One, two, three. Shoot your hand up. I want to celebrate with you. That's awesome. Praise the Lord. Come on. Can we clap our hands? Can we celebrate together? Thank you, Jesus.