When we hear the word “broken”, our thoughts probably conjure up a negative image. Something that is broken is usually not wanted and is considered useless to us. When talking about a person, someone who is described as broken is usually in dire straights and at a precarious point in his or her life. No one wants to be ” broken”.
In God’s dictionary, however, brokenness is a crucial characteristic for a Christian. In Psalm 51, David’s psalm of repentance after he was confronted by the prophet Nathan for his adulterous liaison with Bathsheba and his successfully murderous plan against her husband Uriah, David said in verses 16 and 17: “For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; you are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise”. In Psalm 34, his psalm that expresses the joy of God’s forgiveness, David said in verse 18: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”.
Additionally, in Isaiah 57:15, the prophet said: “For thus says the high and exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy. ‘I dwell on a high and holy place, and also with the contrite and lowly of spirit in order to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite”. And finally, in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5, Jesus said this in verse 3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. Who are the “poor in spirit” ? Those who are spiritually broken.
You see, brokenness, spiritual brokenness, is very important to God. But just what is spiritual brokenness? First let me tell you what it is not. It’s not walking around with a gloomy frown on your face wailing “woe is me”. It is not looking bitter like you just got through sucking on a sour lemon. It is not living aimlessly without purpose or a plan. To put it simply, brokenness is understanding the fact that without God you are spiritually bankrupt. It is dying to self (more on this in a later blog) and giving Him the reigns of your life. In my previous blog, I talked about surrender. Surrender and brokenness go hand-in-hand – spiritual brokenness is surrendering your will to Him.
Spiritual brokenness is knowing that, without God, you are, and can do, nothing. It is a total, desperate dependence on Him in every aspect of life. It is a cry from the depths of your soul that shouts: “God I need You; God I want You; God, You are everything to me”! In his song entitled “I Can’t Live Without You”, Dennis Jernigan penned these words that simply, but clearly, define spiritual brokenness; “I can’t live without You, here in my life. I can’t live without You, how could I survive. I know life without You is just getting by. I can’t live without You in my life”.
Now I know that brokenness is not a popular topic in most Christian circles and is not talked about in many churches because it sounds so negative. However, brokenness is anything but negative!! It is the way to the heart of God. Think for a moment about a wild stallion that a rancher buys. It is strong, beautiful…and wild! It calls the shots and does what it wants. It has enormous potential to the rancher but in it’s wild state it is not useful to him. So the master must “break” the horse of it’s will. To be sure, the horse doesn’t like the breaking process and fights the rancher with all his strength. But, after a long and tedious process, the beautiful, wild horse is now broken and surrendered to the master, and can now fulfill the purpose for which the rancher purchased him. Also, before it is broken, the wild stallion will not sit still long enough to experience the gentle caress and loving care of his master. But after it is broken, it now understands just how much his master loves him, and experiences his warm embrace and gentle care.
Aren’t we like that wild stallion – created with lots of potential but “wild”? We call the shots and our will takes center stage. But when we trust in Jesus as Savior (i.e.:are purchased by our Master) He begins the long process of breaking us of our will so that He can be in control. Like the wild horse, we don’t like the breaking process. It hurts and we fight against God with all our strength. After all, we want to be in charge! For some, unfortunately, they fight Him all their lives and never come to the point of brokenness (and miss out on the most important thing in life – intimacy with God). However, for those who are finally broken of “self”, they become useful to God, bear much fruit, and fulfill the destiny He has planned for them in this life. And, most importantly, they will come into an intimate, loving relationship with their Master.
My friend, are you on the journey of brokenness? Do you understand that God is everything, and I mean absolutely everything, in your life? Have you surrendered your will to Him so that His will for you is all you desire? Brokenness is the only way to wholeness. Be broken in his hands and experience the wholeness that only He can give!