This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” “What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.” “Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.” “Please tell me your name,” Jacob said. “Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” — Genesis 32:24-30
Talk is cheap. Experiences may make for nice stories, but true change comes from an encounter that touches our heart and erupts into freedom.
We can't have an encounter with God and walk away unscathed. This isn't goose bumps and gold dust. This is is going toe-to-toe with God and wrestling out our questions, discussing our hurt feelings, and dealing with our unforgiveness, pride, jealousy, addictions, or other besetting sins. Our heavenly Father loves us enough to confront us. He tells us the truth in love. We listen. We think. We challenge. We learn. We experience the only One who can change us from the inside out.
Such an encounter is more than just a good story to tell. Priscilla Shirer says it well, "After a person encounters God, she should be changed. It is not enough for us to talk about what we have experienced. We should be living it out flamboyantly." You are so loved, so live like it!
Lord, I want a real encounter with You. I want to be transformed. Amen.