“‘What is your name?’ the man asked. He replied, ‘Jacob’” (Genesis 32:27 NLT).
God allows a crisis to get our attention, and then he uses the crisis to develop our character. One thing that signals we’re changing is when we confess that we’re the problem. We stop blaming other people and we admit, “I am the problem with my life.” Until you understand this, there can be no major change in your life. This is the breakthrough God knows we need.
God asks Jacob, “What is your name?” This is a very strange request because God obviously already knew Jacob’s name. We need to understand that in ancient cultures you were always named for your character, what you really were. Your name might be Tall or Short; or your name might be Brave or Lazy. You were given a name which was your label. It wasn’t just something that sounded nice. It represented your character.
That’s a problem because Jacob means “deceiver, manipulator, liar.” And Jacob lived up to his name! When Jacob says, “My name is Jacob,” it is an act of confession. He’s admitting, “I am a manipulator.”
Whenever I read this verse I wonder what it would be like to be named for your greatest character fault: “Hi, I'm Greedy . . . ” What would be your name? Bitter? Angry? Uncontrollable Temper? Lustful? Afraid? “Hi, I'm Gossip.”
Here’s the insight into this: We will never be able to change until we openly and honestly and authentically admit our sin, our weakness, our fault, our frailty, our character defects, confessing this to ourselves, to God, and to other people.
One of the most humbling things in the world to do is to go, “This is who I am. I am a __________.” You fill in the blank. “I am a worrier . . . I am a domineering person . . . I am a person who runs from conflict . . . I am an addict.” Just admit it. Stop making excuses; stop rationalizing; stop justifying; stop blaming other people. You’ve got to come clean about what everybody else sees but you won’t admit.
When you come to God and say, “God, I want to own up to the weaknesses and the filth, the wrong in my life.” And you tell God, “This is who I really am,” God is not going to be surprised. God already knows, but he needs you to confess so the work of change can begin.
What do you need to admit about yourself?