Spiritual Outlook

This week, columnist Johnson A. Beaven III discusses how to handle the difficulties life can sometimes bring. 

That night Jacob got up … and crossed the ford of the JabbokThen the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

Genesis 32:22, 28 NIV

So when the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant went ahead of them … The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stopped in the middle of the Jordan and stood on dry ground, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground. Joshua 3:14, 17 NIV

A crossover is a point, place, or process of crossing from one side to another. It is breaking into another category, or a change from one situation to another. Sometimes a crossover moment becomes a breakthrough point — a point that changes everything. In essence, a crossover signifies a change. It can be a change of how things may be experienced or executed.

When a woman gets married, her title changes from Miss to Mrs. Also, her last name generally changes; either she drops her maiden name taking on her husband’s last name, or she adds his last name to her maiden name.

Sometimes we initiate change for the better. Yet, sometimes what we change doesn’t always have a lasting effect. But when God initiates change, it's always for the better and has lasting effects. A hymn of the church proclaims “what a wonderful change in my life has been wrought, since Jesus came into my heart!”

We have just made a significant crossover from 2019 to 2020. This crossover is not merely moving out from one year into another year. More significantly we have crossed over from one decade into another decade. A decadal crossover is a recognizable change of importance as is often emphasized in a change in age — moving from one’s 20s to 30s, 40s to 50s, etc.

Change thusly is not inherently a bad thing, especially a change from a crossover moment or experience.

The crossing of the Jordan River was a crossover experience signifying that Israel was entering into fulfilling their purpose within God’s promise. It was a crossover moment for them as it was for their father Jacob when he crossed the Jabbok River. Crossover moments define who you will become or have become. You’re never the same person after a defining crossover moment, for it’s in this moment that change comes. 

For Jacob, his crossover change came by way of a new name.  Jacob needed a new name to reflect the change in his life, so the Lord changed it to Israel, meaning “a Prince of God” (Genesis 32:27, 28). The events at the ford Jabbok represent a climatic crossover point in Jacob’s spiritual growth from his conversion experience at Bethel. Jacob accepted the name change indicating his character change. Jacob no longer was the same person.

For Israel, crossing the Jordan River brought them the change of a new identity. Crossing over the Jordan signified that the wilderness wandering was a thing of the past, and that Israel was embarking on a new phase of her national identity and history. They moved from merely being “the children of Israel” (Joshua 3:1) to “the Nation of Israel” (Joshua 3:17). They were not the same after crossing over the Jordan.

For us, crossing over means we also are not the same any more. When God gives a new name and identity, thangs can’t stay the same. Whoever has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as savior has been given a new name: Victor, more than a conqueror. We’ve also been given a new identity: Christian, a child of the King. Because of our new name and new identity, we also come into a new spiritual experience. Let this new year crossover into a new decade be a defining moment that leads you into your purposeful destiny as a victor and a child of God.

Rev. Johnson A. Beaven III is pastor of Citadel of Faith Church of God in Christ. Contact him via email at jabeaven@gmail.com or Twitter @jbeaven.

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