There is a difference between the desirable breaking or redirecting of our self-will (so we become more useful) and the often-destructive breaking of the inner spirit (broken-hearted). We should live in the attitude of brokenness where the focuses is on God but not broken-heartedness that focuses on self, and the inevitable hurtful events of this sinful world. Hardships should not break our spirits or shatter our self-reliance, just the confidence in the natural flesh that we can fight the battles on our own (Prov 15:13, 17:22, 18:14).
Life’s experiences can have a devastating effect on our whole personality. Depending on our reaction we can either become hard and unresponsive through trying human solutions or else in humility if God is given all the pieces of our broken dreams and we co-operate in His restorative and remodeling programme an inner radiance is produced by a life yielded and dependant on Him (Isa 61:1). Through coming into wholeness, we can minister with compassion into the lives of those with similar needs from a genuine place of empathy (2 Cor 1:4). In my own strength I can’t but He is more capable than I am and I’ve committed myself into His hands, “Being confident of this, that He who began a good work [in me] will carry it on to completion” (Phil 1:6). All we can offer Him is our brokenness and confusion, from that He can make something of eternal significance and worth, bring wholeness into our personality and effectively work through us as yielded channels ministering life to those in need.
The process: God’s work in usThe hard, God-resistant, self-reliant, proud nature within needs to be broken so we are pliable in His hands to be effectively used in His service. It is the stony hard heart being replaced with a responsive heart of flesh (not carnal, but tender and humble) that yields to His voice (Ezek 11:19, 36:26). Brokenness is an acknowledgement ‘I can’t do it without Him’. There is no joy or usefulness in being broken except to release the potential within. The container needs to be shattered for the contents to flow out (Mk 14:3). It’s not defeat, rather a place from where we can begin to tap into the endless resources of God. The latent powers within can only come forth as the exterior shell crumbles. From that crushed defective position where what we held dear is but a pile of rubble and ashes of defeat can arise a new creation as we surrender to His Lordship, moving on in a continual walk of brokenness and reliance on His provision where the character of Christ shines through. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps 51:17, 147:3). This is not a demeaning
stance, instead a place of humble submission and recognition that without Him I can do nothing of eternal value yet I can do all He requires of me through His enabling (Zech 4:6; Jn 5:30; Phil 4:13). God resists the proud but is close to those who are broken (Ps 34:18; Jas 4:6). An unbroken horse is of little value until its immense power and ability is harnessed with its allegiance being redirected from its own futile selfish desires to those of its master and so to be of enormous value to humanity. It is strength under control. It is not destroyed, instead harnessed or channelled constructively. Likewise, the clay on the potter’s wheel does not dictate to the potter but submits to His design, so respond to His directions and the Holy Spirit’s persuasions in our hearts (Isa 64:8). A broken spirit doesn’t resist or fight back, instead it is pliable, responding in submission; ‘Make me and mould me after your will, You are the potter, I am the clay’. God breaks us to remake us what He wants us to be.
The process: our surrenderBeing broken before God is not a place of weakness, rather a place of surrender, of humble acknowledgement that ‘He is Lord of my life, I give up my rights and desires
The potential within is released when the container is broken
because He redeemed me, I am no longer my own’. His aim is to release the potential within so we can be more useful in living for His glory and purposes not our own. Often coming to the place of being broken is accompanied by tears. Like Peter we realise we have failed in our allegiance and surrender to the Master’s claims and have reached the end of our puny resources (Mt 26:69-75). We are painfully aware how close sin is to the surface. Something triggers off an issue that we thought had been fully dealt with and we discover to our shame it is alive and well. Yet don’t stay in the place of failure and defeat, repent and move ahead wiser and in closer relationship with the source of life. His dealings with us are designed to break the resistant, self-willed nature so in effect we lay it on the altar of sacrifice – the place of death.
The process: reconciliation
We often make the mistake of trying to get more of God’s power so He can work through us in a greater way. If we are truly born again we have received the Holy Spirit, having the power within. The problem is the unbroken flesh (self-centeredness) preventing the life within being manifest. It’s not that we don’t have the Holy Spirit, it’s a question has He got us?
Bring the broken parts to Jesus for Him to make whole
basic starting point, loving God with our whole being and our neighbour as ourselves (Mk 12:30,31).
The process: discipline
Brokenness also comes through discipline. “Do not despise the Lord’s discipline because He loves us” (Prov 3:11,12). He desires His life within to be released and flow out to touch humanity (Heb 12:10-12).