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The Problem With Pacifiers
by Brenda Emmons
07/05/12
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“For he thought, ‘I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me. So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp’” Gen. 32:20.


For Jacob, it was time to pay the piper…no mother to do his bidding against his twin…no uncle to run to for protection. In true Jacob form, he had tricked his brother out of his inheritance and blessing, and manipulated wealth within his uncle’s family. Then one day, the Lord said ‘Enough is enough…return to the land of your father.’ All that remained was facing his brother of whom he had taken advantage, and had stolen his birthright and blessing. Esau had determined that after he had grieved the death of their father he would find Jacob and kill him. So Jacob hatched a scheme of offering material wealth and ill motivated blessings to Esau to receive his grace and forgiveness.

In considering this story I cannot help but to draw a parallel between my heart and the heart of Jacob. In a lifelong attempt to please people and gain their approval, my pacifier was service and my motivation was fear. Because we live in a selfish world, this seemed to work for a while. As I would perform for others I would receive their approval. As long as I sought their good over my own the boat would not rock. I ran from relationship to relationship pacifying people with ill motivated service just as Jacob tried to pacify his brother. The thing about pacifiers is that they are nothing more than people pleasers without permanence. They temporarily accomplish the goal of buying time but never really accomplish anything of substance.

This way of thinking bled over into my relationship with Christ. I believed the more I served the more He would approve of me, as if I could perform my way into His heart. Much like the gifts sent to pacify his brother, I allowed my service to go ahead of my fellowship with God. My goal was approval while His goal was intimacy. Throughout 2011 He taught me that His approval came to me through one way – the sacrifice on the cross of His Son…end of story…no comma’s…just a period. Now my service is from the overflow of His love instead of the overflow of some fear. There is a song that includes a line which is His message to me that gives me freedom.

"Then You look at this prisoner and say to me 'Child, stop fighting a fight it's already been won"' Big Daddy Weave, Redeemed.


Whatever pacifier you are depending on for future comfort comes at not only a price but one that has already been paid. Don't look towards temporary calculations in search of permament blessings. He is already at the place you are striving to end up.

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