By His grace, I had the courage to look back over the past months and years on the teams I had been a part of and realize how impossible to live with I had become—hard-hearted, argumentative and always thinking my way was best. No matter what the leaders suggested, I took a different approach. I had a different idea of how to do it. Regardless of what the argument was, I always sought to win. And most times, I got it my way.
That was the first time I can distinctly remember knowing the need to embrace the cross. I began to understand then that my worst enemy was my own stubborn, unbroken life.
Since then, many more times I have gone through similar experiences. That one time was not the end.
Wherever we are, wherever the Lord has placed us, we need to be sensitive to not resisting brokenness in our lives, ultimately delaying the good work He is trying to fulfill in us. The only person that can delay God’s promise in your life is you—by resisting His breaking.
Jacob’s life is a classic example of this resistance.
In Genesis 25:23, God gives the promise concerning Jacob and his older brother, Esau, before they were even born: “The older shall serve the younger.” God’s promise was there from the beginning.
But despite that fact, Jacob lived his life trying to fulfill the promise through his own scheming and clever plans. What a man he was! He was bold enough and clever enough to steal his brother’s birthright and trick his father into blessing him instead of Esau.
Because of the tension now between him and his brother, Jacob fled to his uncle Laban’s house for safety. While en route, he had a dream in which he saw the angels ascending and descending. God promised to make Jacob’s descendants great and to bless him and bring him back to his homeland. But still, Jacob wanted to do things his own way. He bargained with God, saying, “If you’ll let me just continue in the way I am going and keep me safe and feed me, then when I come back I will build a temple for You. I will give tithes” (paraphrase, see Genesis 28:20–22).
He still would not give up his own ways. He still would not break.