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). In God's eyes, brokenness is being so crushed by the sin and darkness of the world that we acknowledge our coping mechanisms don't work in spite of our efforts and we recognise there is no place to turn but to Him. He designs to bring about our spiritual brokenness for His glory and our good. He calls this godly sorrow that because of humility leads to repentance (2 Cor 7:10).
How do I respond to the crushing events of life?
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 us
The 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. It is the Holy Spirit (not my efforts) that bring the change through a growing experience of the reality of my union with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection.
The process: our surrender
The potential within is released when the container is broken
coming to the place of being broken is accompanied by tears as we reached the end of our puny resources. 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? Don't deny Him what is rightfully His.
Bring the broken parts to Jesus for Him to make whole
We all have areas of broken relationship with God, with others and even disconnection within ourselves, displayed by symptoms that originate from our impaired spiritual lives but are evidenced on the emotional level. We need a deep spiritual solution to such issues, not just dealing with the surface symptoms. Relationship reconciliation is the basic starting point, first loving God with our whole being and then our neighbour as ourselves (Mk 12:30,31).
The process: discipline
In our brokenness we seek Christ through repentance
broken we are open and more willing to listen to God, as He reveals flaws in our character and then asking Him to help us have the victory. God seldom uses arrogant and unbroken people, rather those who are increasingly dependent on Him. True brokenness from God will produce lasting transformation in us, with the reliance on our flesh exchanged for reliance on Christ in us who is our life (Col 3:4). Consider the lives of Moses (who had been brought up as the grandson of Pharaoh), Peter and Paul amongst others who only after repenting from pride were in a fit position to be used by God (Moses – Ex 2:10, 3:11; Num 12:3; Act 7:23-25; Peter – Mt 26:33,35,69-75; Act 2:14ff; Paul – Act 9:1-5; 1 Cor 15:9; Phil 3:4-11). Is it any wonder Peter could later reiterate, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (1 Pet 5:5).
See also: altar, broken-hearted, co-operation, dealings of God, death (to self), disability, discipline, failure, humility, meekness, pride, reconciliation, rights, self-sufficiency, self-will, submission, surrender, wholeness, will.