Broken and blessed
PROFESSIONS OF FAITH
Good morning, dear friends! This morning, I’d like to share my thoughts with you concerning this thing called “brokenness.” For the Christian, there is simply no other way to walk with Jesus and find rest for our weary souls. It comes only through the broken places we allow Him to take us, and trusting in His wisdom all along the way.
What is Brokenness?
Brokenness is an ongoing, constant way of life; a lifestyle. It is a moment by moment decision to agree with God about the true condition of my heart and life — not as everyone else thinks it is but as God knows it to be.
Brokenness is a shattering of my self will. It’s saying, “Yes, Lord” — no resistance, no stubbornness, no turning back – simply submitting myself to His direction and will for my life.
Brokenness is the stripping of my self-reliance and independence from God. The broken person has no confidence in his own righteousness or works, but he is totally dependent on the grace of God working in and through him.
Brokenness is the softening of the soil of my heart. It is the breaking up of the clods of resistance that keeps the “seed” from penetrating and taking root. Believers with broken, contrite hearts are receptive and responsive to the Word.
Roy Hession once said, “Being broken is both God’s work and ours. He brings His pressure to bear, but we have to make the choice…All day long the choice will be before us in a thousand ways.” Making the choice to follow God in whatever way He is asking is often very painful, but worth the effort. In comparison, I read a quote written in the sideline of my Bible that says, “Little people with little minds jog through life in little ruts, smugly resisting all changes that would jar their little worlds.” What a contrast! What totally different ways of looking at life! The first will bring blessing upon blessing, coupled with peace; God’s peace. The second will be a life lived only to self, with no thought for the welfare of another. There absolutely can be no peace in that kind of life! That sort of living only brings pain, isolation, and bitterness.
None of us would say we enjoy the process of being broken, would we? Definitely not while going through the process. In our pain, we often fail to recognize the hand of God at work. We only see our pain. I know that pain well, and I know you all do, as well. It comes in the form of broken relationships, sickness, death, loss of a home or job. I guess this is why we resist the process of being broken, but friends, I tell you there is no greater joy than knowing we are walking at peace with ourselves, our world, and our God! We must go through the crushing process, so that we can be whole.
Martin Luther once said, “God creates out of nothing. Therefore until a man is nothing, God can make nothing out of him.” Having said that, let me share what the Word has to say on this matter.
There was once a father, having two sons. Their responses in this story reveal the true condition of their hearts. The first we know as the “prodigal son”. He had shamed his family name by squandering his inheritance. Alone and poverty stricken, he was truly broken. Realizing he had nowhere else to turn, he made a decision to repent; he chose the way of brokenness and humility. He made the choice to return to the place where he had failed and wounded his family in the process. He longed to be reconciled with those he had wronged. There was no self-justification, no making light of his behavior, no excuses, no blaming others. He knew his guilt and was repentant and needing mercy from those he wronged.
The response of the boy’s father is a powerful picture of the love of our heavenly Father, when we come to Him in genuine repentance. This…this was a time for a celebration. You know the story…what a party, what a rejoicing they had, at the return of this one time rebel. The story has a great ending! And so can ours! When we go to the Father in brokenness, so repentant for whatever is between us, there is great rejoicing in heaven!
Remember, though, there were two boys in this story. The older one was not so thrilled at the return of his brother. This son had always been faithful to his father. In fact, he was out in the field working when the younger brother returned…faithfully doing his father’s will. He’d never given his dad a moment of grief. He’d never been like his younger brother; rebellious. At least, not outwardly. But friends, God sees so much more than the surface; He sees the heart.
As the older son approaches, hearing all the celebration for his lost brother, he becomes very angry. His response to his father was, “Dad, all these years, I’ve been very faithful to you! I’ve NEVER caused you any grief! This son of yours (not, my brother) has done nothing but cause you heartache, and yet, you’re throwing him a party??” And he would not go to the party.
Don’t we see this today? It’s the typical response of those who are unbroken people. They have rights, you know. When they don’t get the treatment they feel they deserve, they rant, or pout, or punish others; they throw a pity party for themselves, as did this older son. His final blow-up came as he verbalized his jealousy and anger over his brother’s lavish treatment. “Dad, you never gave me a fattened calf, or even a goat, for that matter! Yet, this son of yours (not, my brother) has squandered his inheritance with harlots (says who?) and now, the whole town is celebrating! It’s not fair!!’ Son, life is not fair. Don’t we all respond, at times, to what seems to be injustice? Don’t we all want our own way? Don’t we often pout or wound others when it doesn’t happen? Friends, do we often fail to see “the elder brother” when he is staring back at us in the mirror? Listen, friends, broken men and women have nothing to protect, and nothing to lose. When we reach the place of brokenness, there is freedom like we’ve never known! We are free from ourselves and all our ugly passions. We want nothing more than to be close to our Father, to please Him, and to share that peace that comes no other way, than through brokenness.