About God-Wrestling

  • The name "God-Wrestling" comes from the hebrew word "Yisrael (Israel) " which means to contend with or be a "wrestler with God."
    This "ethics" blog will attempt to do simply that: to wrestle with God in the midst of life from a Jewish-Christian point of view. This is a place for you to send your questions that begin with: "I have always wondered about...." or "I wish I knew what God wanted me to do when...."

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November 04, 2005


Pastor Terry

Many religions use this very idea of "do it until you get it" way of understanding.

Parents and teachers know the value of how behavior will influence belief.

So your idea that the law can lead one to motivation has a lot of evidence that it works.

St. Paul also makes this point in his letter to the Galatians 8:23-24 (New Test.)
"Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed.
So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith."

He is making your point that at one time the law was necessary to lead us into the right way, but now with Christ we have a deeper motivation, a love that transcends and fullfills the law.

Therefore, we don't need to worry about all the details of the law, for if we "love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength" and we "love our neighbor as ourselves" we will act in God's will and therefore all the intent of the law.

It's all part of that "Attitude of Gratitude" that we've been talking about.


I have a theory that following the law can lead to motivation. Although the following might not appear to be a good analogy, I'll use it simply because for me, it works.

Many people who join the military do not have a built in sense of patriotism or duty. The motivations for enlisting can range from a sense of no better opportunity to money for college to simply an opportunity to travel and see the world.

The military of course is a highly regulated organization, full of rules, policies and “laws”.

The discipline expected of an individual in the military tends to make one feel that they are “separate” from regular civilian society. In fact, this separation, over time, can breed a sense of devotion, loyalty and patriotism that becomes a core part of the individuals belief system.

The “law” in reference to our religious/spiritual beliefs can do the same thing.

For example, if one only attends worship services because they believe it is the “law”, at first, they might not gain much from it. Over time though, the simple act of “suiting up and showing up” might cause them to slowly but surely, start to get it, in their hearts.

Another example.. Alcoholics Anonymous has a saying.. “Keep Coming Back”.. they do this in no small part because alcoholics in recovery are aware that eventually, the one still suffering might finally hear the right thing, in the right context, that they begin to believe and through that belief, come to a spiritual answer to their addiction.

Our spirituality has to start somewhere, and for some, the law might be that place. From a beginning of simply following the discipline of our religion, the inside motivation to ask WWJD/WWJHMD may very well follow.

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