Somewhere around the fall of last year, God began speaking to my heart about the gravity of my own sin. It is not until we understand the gravity of our own sin and the mercy God has extended to us that we truly understand the grace we have received and that which he expects us to extend to others.
The conviction started with the beginning of what many Christians refer to as The Beatitudes.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit (Matt. 5:3).”
What does “poor in spirit” mean? That is the question that began my journey to brokenness. Brokenness is a place of humility (James 4:10), no judgment without self examination (Matt. 7:1-5), always considering others above ourselves (James 2:3-4), no self-righteousness or self sufficiency (Prov. 21:2-3), taking no offense when others speak ill of us (Matt. 5:11-12), and loving your enemies (Matt. 5: 39-40, 43-48).
Christ himself lived this way. Christ Jesus: “Who, being in the very nature of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, be humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! (Phil 2:5-8 NIV).”
The God-man Jesus, the perfect image of God in the flesh, creator of all things, King of the universe came to earth and assumed a position of slavery and homelessness, with all that entails. If anyone had a right to claim equality with God the Father, it was Jesus. And yet, we try to claim that right with our thoughts, questions, and actions. We question God’s will? We claim our ways are better than his statutes? We depend on ourselves? We have no shame and boast about our sins? We encourage others to sin in the same way? Yet Christ says to us, “Become nothing.”
We are to become nothing, as he became nothing. The proper translation of the term “servant” in this passage is the Greek word, δούλος, which literally means “slave.” Jesus, the master, became a slave for his father and for us. I stand in awe of that Jesus.
I often reflect on the life, ministry, and leadership of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I think about the pictures and stories when men spit in his face, and he literally offered his other cheek. It is hard for me to imagine being broken in that way. If someone spit on me, I would want to retaliate. I would want to spit back and fight because I had been disrespected, and in those thoughts God reminds me, “You are not broken enough yet. Let me break you again.”
The reality is, when criticized, insulted, or judged, we must remember that we are all worse that we actually believe. The only proper response in our conviction is, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner (Luke 18:13b).” The poor in spirit and those persecuted for righteousness will inherit God’s kingdom. Jesus encouraged his disciples on the Sermon on the Mount:
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matt. 5:11-12).”
Living broken means living a life of total surrender to the Lord. It is a life of self emptying, poverty, and slavery before God. Living broken puts our lives in proper prospective and helps us see things from God’s point of view. Brokenness cultivates the fruit of the spirit in our lives (Gal 5:22). Brokenness reminds me to humble myself before the Lord, knowing that he will exalt me in due time (Luke 18:14b).
Will you live broken today?
© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2012
3 thoughts on “Wilderness: Live Broken”
This is a great post. We must all be broken and humble ourselves before God. We do serve an awesome God. Thank you for writing this.
That’s a powerful question: “Will you live broken today?” I’ve always loved a quote by Bob Pierce [founder of World Vision]: “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.” And on the other hand, there’s a favorite story of Festo Kivengere: “”One day a little girl sat watching her mother working in the kitchen. She asked her mummy, ‘What does God do all day long?’ For a while the mother was stumped, but then she said, ‘Darling, I’ll tell you what God does all day long. He spends his whole day mending broken things.'”
I love Bob Pierce’s quote! I have it on my blotter board above my laptop and think about it often. I just finished reading, “The Hole in Our Gospel” about World Vision’s work and look forward to supporting them. Thank God for mending broken things and making all things new! Blessings,