Steven Furtick — Just Call Me Jacob

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In this month’s lesson of the series, #DeathtoSelfie, we’re going to look at the life of Jacob. In order to find our own true selves, we need to let go of who we pretend to be and take hold of God! This study is based on a sermon series by Steven Furtick.

In Genesis 32, Jacob wrestles physically with God for a whole night. All his life, Jacob had been wrestling. He even wrestled with his twin brother Esau while they were still in their mother’s womb.
This series is called Death to Selfie because a selfie illustrates the conflict that exists inside each of us. Just as Jacob wrestled with his family, with God, and with himself to find himself, we wrestle in the conflict between who we think we’re supposed to be and who we really are!

Jacob was always trying to be first. When he was born, he came out grabbing onto his brother’s heel. Even as was a baby, he subconsciously wanted to get ahead!
Jacob had a me-first mentality. We live in a me-first culture, in which we all subconsciously strive to be recognized. We don’t always take pride in a particular possession; we take pride in having more of that possession than someone else. We want to be thinner, smarter, or better than others! Jesus asked in Luke 9, “What good is it to gain the whole world and lose your very self?” We all grasp at things like status and security, but in the process of grabbing at stuff, we run the risk of losing our very selves!

When Jacob was younger, he tricked his father into giving him the blessing that was meant for his older brother. In Genesis 27-28, he even dressed up in animal skins and pretended to be Esau to steal his blessing! We also put on costumes to get things we think we need. We all have a gap between the person we want to be and the person we are, so we create a fake identity to bridge the gap! Jacob got the blessing by pretending to be someone he wasn’t. But because of his deception, he had to spend the next 20 years on the run from Esau. He got exactly what he wanted, but he never got to enjoy it! God cannot bless who we pretend to be. We don’t fool God with our disguises, and the blessings we get when we pretend are not even real blessings that we can fully enjoy for ourselves!

Jacob was 97 years old when he wrestled with God. Having conned his way through life, this was his turning point. After wrestling all night, God told him to let go. But Jacob refused to let go until God blessed him. When God asked his name, he said Jacob. In that moment, God renamed him Israel and blessed him!
Jacob had finally gotten a hold of God, the only One who could truly bless him, and he wouldn’t let go. The first key to finding our very selves is to make the decision not to let go of God. God is the only One who can truly bless us. Don’t tap out on Him and give up on His promises. Hold on. Never let go! When God asked his name, Jacob answered truthfully. He didn’t pretend to be someone else, as he had in the past. The second key to finding our very selves is to admit who we really are. All God wants is for us to come to Him as we are. He then gives us a new name; a new identity in Christ! However, even after Jacob’s name had been changed, the Bible continues to call him both Jacob and Israel. This is because change is conflicting, and it’s a process!

In Exodus 3, God told Moses that He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. He didn’t say Israel, He said Jacob. He wanted to be known as the God of the guy who was a deceiver.
God is not just the God of the parts of us that are pretty. He’s the God of our failures and our selfishness. Everything in our lives will change when we admit, “I’m just Jacob,” God says, “I will be the God of Jacob too.”
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