It was years ago when I heard this comment from a Pastor friend of mine. He said, “There will come a time in life when you will be faced with a decision; that decision will define you.”
During a recent bible study, I began thinking of that thought when I stumbled upon another two additional quotes regarding defining moments:
“When a defining moment comes along, you define the moment, or the moment will define you.”
“It has been well said that a crisis never made any man; it only reveals what he already is.”
That statement, in my opinion, is true if we allow it to be. It is my understanding of God’s Word, that although God allows man “free will” it is the free will of the other peoples’ behaviors that can annoy us.
In the movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, Clarence, the angel, says to George Bailey when he wishes that he had never been born and finds out that his own actions really did make an impact on others, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”
Before the crisis a man will look at life one way; however, afterwards-and possibly forever-he will begin to see the whole world around him in a different way.
Some of you may be there right now. It may be a health problem, and unless God intervenes, there’s no hope. Perhaps, it’s a serious marital or family problem, a financial problem or a desperate need for work. It may be a personal problem, such as loneliness, guilt, anger, bitterness, or anxiety. It could be some life-dominating sin, such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, or gambling. But whatever the crisis may be, how is it defining you?
Now to fully understand this passage of scripture and how this relates to our walk with Christ today, let us examine this defining moment more closely for in the Book of Genesis we read:
Genesis 32:3-6 “Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He instructed them: “This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. 5 I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes. 6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”
It was Jacob that cheated Esau out of his birthright over a bowl of stew. This family puts the funk in dysfunctional. He then proceeded to impersonate his brother, Esau, and trick his father, Isaac, on his deathbed, who was old and unable to see.
Yet, 20 years later, Jacob was met with a defining moment. Jacob heard that his brother, Esau, was traveling to meet with him. So, Jacob, not knowing the intention behind Esau’s visit, sent messengers to meet him, for he was unaware if Esau was coming as a brother or an enemy.
Upon his meeting, Jacob’s moment was that of reconciliation. How do we know this? He begins by showing and expressing humility when he says to his brother “your servant Jacob.” He then proceeds not to brag about what he had gained in his life but to offer his amends through his own material gain.
The Gift of Making Amends.
Isn’t it funny how the pains of yesterday’s past can cripple our behaviors today?
I am a firm believer that we are not defined by our past. If we continue to live our lives through our past behaviors, then we will have no JOY of the Present.
Jacob was in fear in meeting his brother, Esau, because of his past behaviors toward him but humility of making amends softened the heart of Esau.
Allow me to give you a couple of points on what fear does immediately when it hits our brain:
- Fear creates a “fight or flight” reaction – immediately! This causes us to either run from facing the issues or modify our behaviors, so we don’t think about it any longer.
- Fear creates distractions – Fear creates distraction, which is absolutely a scheme the enemy wants us to do in our lives. If the enemy can distract us from using the mistakes of our past then we will not spend time with God in the present. The longer we keep our mind’s eyes on the problem instead of the solution, the enemy wins! We should be reminded everyday with what we read in Proverbs.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.
So, what can we learn from this?
God must break us of our self-dependence, so that we can cling to him through our brokenness.
Brokenness and humility lead us in having a heart of surrender.
Before God can use you in this defining moment to a pathway of blessings, we must be broken – Why? Because all of us have this innate ability to put our trust and security in something that is tangible -stay with me—so what happens-Jacob sends his entire family across the river and he finds himself alone—
Before God could deliver him from the hand of his brother, he had to deliver Jacob from his own self will and self-reliance.
Many times we think the real enemy is our opposition when the real enemy is our own nature that needs to be surrendered.
So, here is our defining moment! If we come into the proper relationship with God, of clinging to Him in our brokenness, then we have power with Him.
We prevail with Him when we allow God to prevail over us.