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What Does It Mean to be Broken?

We continue our meditation on Peter being broken and made tender to the Lord by his three-time denial of Christ. While we have adequate resources to fight our battles, the Lord often lets us carry on until we come to a place of brokenness and an end to self-will.

For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants, when he sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining, bond or free (Deuteronomy 32:36).

The Holy Spirit will bring us to a place where we find ourselves helpless and at the end of ourselves. When we reach the point of crying out to Him, and God’s work in us is complete, then the Lord has compassion on us, i.e., when He sees that our strength is gone and we have no reserve backup plan, then God steps in to fight our battles for us. When we are weak, then we are strong in Him (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). Can I ask you, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what is God teaching you through your life experiences at this present time? Are you like Peter and broken before God?

In Chapter 18 of the book of Jeremiah, the prophet was taken down to the potter's house and watched him making a jar of clay on a wheel. It was all bent out of shape and could not be used. The potter took it off the wheel and started again with the soft, pliable clay to form it into what he wanted to create. The lesson that God was teaching Jeremiah and Peter (and us, too) is that God will reshape every one of us through brokenness. All He needs is a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). A.W. Tozer once said, "God never uses a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply."

Brokenness? What is it?

Brokenness is the working of God in a person's life leading to the abandonment of oneself to a place of complete dependence and trust in the Father’s care. John Collinson, an English Vicar, put it this way:

“When to do the will of God means that even my Christian brothers will not understand, and I remember that even His brothers did not understand or believe in Him, and I bow my head to obey and accept the misunderstanding; this is brokenness. When I am misrepresented or deliberately misinterpreted, and I remember that Jesus was falsely accused, but He held his peace, and I accept the accusation without trying to justify myself, that is brokenness. When another is preferred before me, and I am deliberately passed over, and I remember that they cried, "Away with this man and release unto us Barabbas," and I bow my head and accept rejection, that is brokenness.

When my plans are brushed aside, and I see the work of years brought to ruins by the ambitions of others and I remember that Jesus allowed them to lead Him away to crucify Him, and He accepted that place of failure, and I bow my head and accept the injustice without bitterness, that is brokenness. When to be right with my God, it is necessary to take the humbling path of confession and restitution, and I remember that Jesus made Himself of no reputation and humbled Himself to death, even the death of the cross, and I bow my head and I'm ready to take the shame of exposure, that is brokenness. When others take unfair advantage of me because I'm a Christian and treat my belongings as public property, and I remember that they stripped Christ and parted His garments casting lots, and I bow my head and accept the spoiling of my goods joyfully for His sake, this is brokenness.

When one acts toward me in a wrong way, and I remember when Christ was crucified, He prayed, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do," and I bow my head and accept any behavior towards me as permitted by my heavenly Father, this is brokenness. When people expect the impossible of me, and more than time and human strength can give, and I remember that Jesus said, "this is my body given for you," and I repent of my self-indulgence and lack of self-giving for others, this is brokenness.”

May you find Christ’s strength today in whatever you are going through. Keith Thomas

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Taken from study 61 in Luke: Peter, the Broken Disciple


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