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Resuscitating our Faith Through Brokenness

Resuscitating our Faith Through Brokenness

Luke 19:28-42 After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.'" Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" They replied, "The Lord needs it." They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it.     As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."     As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes.

Jesus entered Jerusalem triumphantly to the sound of “Hosanna”, but another god was already there--the pride of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Its followers seemed religious and upright, but Jesus compared them to “whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness”. In other words, their faith was dead. Jesus wept over their condition and their lost opportunity to truly know God and His peace.

What is it that blinds us to the peace of God “in this our day”? Do we have another god, an unholy nature that controls our life? More than once God has brought me face to face with a god in my life, and I knew that I should give it up, but I didn’t do it.

Now Jesus’ tearful words “If you had only known . . .” cut directly to the heart. These words point toward the consequences for our own sin and willfulness. Therefore, “what might have been” is hidden from our eyes because we did not completely yield to Him. Oh, the deep, unending sadness we feel for “what might have been”! The best we can do now is to let this sadness break our prideful spirit. If we have the right kind of sorrow, godly sorrow, God will turn “what might have been” into a wonderful lesson to resuscitate our dying faith.

2 Corinthians 7:10 Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.

Those who sorrow over their own weaknesses and sins and then let it go at that, have a sorrow that only makes them worse. They only feel sorry for themselves. Godly sorrow makes us humble, repentant, and broken, because we recognize we have hurt God and others. Godly sorrow confesses sin and doesn’t make any excuses for it. Godly sorrow is willing to make restitution. Godly sorrow places us in position to receive forgiveness and the righteousness of Christ.

Righteousness is a gift of God through faith in Jesus Christ. But godliness is not a gift, it is the result of our repentance and the work of the Holy Spirit conforming us to the image of Christ once we have embraced brokenness. Usually the last thing we want to do is to give up our cherished self. What then will motivate us to desire brokenness?

Matt 11:28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

Learning from Jesus how to be broken, gentle, and humble is authentic New Testament Christianity. However, it is rarely seen in today’s church where people are taught to be strong, independent, and forceful.

Roy Hession’s book The Calvary Road says this about brokenness: “The Lord Jesus cannot live in us fully and reveal Himself through us until the proud self within us is broken. This simply means that the hard unyielding self, which justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights, and seeks its own glory, at last bows to God’s will, admits it’s wrong, gives up its own way to Jesus, surrenders its rights and discards its own glory—that the Lord Jesus might have all and be all. In other words, it is dying to self and self-attitudes. . . . “Being broken is both God’s work and ours. He brings His pressure to bear, but we have to make the choice.”

Jesus had the same choice to make just a few days after entering Jerusalem, in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Luke 22:41-44 He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

People are mistaken if they think they become instantly holy and godly by praying for it. Again, righteousness is a gift. We are made right with God because of what Jesus did, not by anything we do or have done. However, godliness can only be gained through brokenness and obedience to Jesus, learning from Him how to walk in humility.

Phil 2:5-8 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature 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, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!

Ps 22:6-8 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him."

We see Jesus willing to have no rights of His own, willing to let men revile Him and not say a word, willing to let men tread on Him and not retaliate or defend Himself. Above all, we see Him broken as He meekly goes to Calvary to become men’s scapegoat by bearing their sins in His own body on the Cross.

It didn’t come easy for Jesus, who knew no sin, to humble Himself to the point of being completely cut off from God there at the Cross. The very thought caused Him such agony that His sweat became like drops of blood. In anguish, He asked His Father if there was any other way for us to be saved than for Him to drink this cup of suffering, separation, and death—but then He responded, “Not My will, but Yours, be done”.

Likewise, there is no other way to a godly faith than through brokenness and dying to our self. “Come, follow me,” Jesus says. We, too, must come to a place where we surrender our self-love and self-preservation and say to the Lord, “I am ready to take Your yoke upon me and learn from You how to die to myself, to pick up my cross, and follow You.”

Many believers mentally understand the importance of brokenness, and they may agree that it is the only door to the godly life of faith they desire. However, in their hearts they cannot find the motivation or willingness to embrace death to self. If you find yourself in this place, God has an app for that!

We will discover God’s app if we spend time reading and meditating on the passages of Scripture that describe what it cost Jesus to become a sacrifice for our sin. Ask God to open the eyes of your heart to truly see Him as if you were there, watching Him suffer and die for you. You might even try watching the movie “The Passion” this week. This vision of Christ’s love for us will help break us and create a love and desire in us to follow Jesus on this path of brokenness that leads to godliness. It will resuscitate our dying faith, making us dead to self and alive to Christ.

Brokenness breaks the fallow ground in our hearts, giving us a better understanding of ourselves and Jesus. Brokenness produces good soil in our heart so the Word of God and the Holy Spirit can produce fruit—Christ-like character in our lives.

John 12:24-26 I am telling you the truth: a grain of wheat remains no more than a single grain unless it is dropped into the ground and dies. If it does die, then it produces many grains. Those who love their own life will lose it; those who hate their own life in this world will keep it for life eternal. Whoever wants to serve me must follow me, so that my servant will be with me where I am. And my Father will honor anyone who serves me.

To produce fruit, seeds must be broken open and die. Once they die and are buried, the transformation begins. Nothing of its former existence remains. It has died in the process of giving life. Gone are its identity, form, independence, value, and beauty. All has been surrendered so it can be transformed into a new life that will produce more fruit after it matures.

Admittedly, we resist this process of brokenness and dying to self. It is hard to give up our agendas, objectives, aspirations, desires, and interests. But that is what we must do to be born again or revive a dying faith to become godly and fruitful.

Our example is Jesus. His life was humble and broken. He came only to do the will of His Father who sent Him. We hear Jesus repeatedly say this, even in the Garden of Gethsemane when He is praying to the Father to take the cup of death from Him.
The will of the Father was that Jesus be broken and planted like a seed. He was beaten, spat upon, mocked, beard plucked out, a crown of thorns mashed into his skull. Then he is given 39 skin-tearing, blood-splattering lashes on his back and sides. Then a splintery heavy cross is placed on his back and he was driven through the crowds of people, carrying his cross up Calvary’s hill. His hands and feet were nailed to the cross. He hung on that Cross, naked, taking our punishment for our sin, not His sin; He did have any. He died for you and me. His side was broken open by a spear and blood and water flowed. Just as the seed dies and is placed in the ground, Jesus was placed in a tomb. What was this seed going to produce? What fruit would he bear? He was about to come up out of the ground, the first of many to be resurrected. His death and resurrection produced life, Eternal Life, for you and me.

We must follow Jesus’s example. I am not talking about sack cloth and ashes, or crawling up stairs until your knees are bloody. What I am talking about is in Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

If we want Eternal Life, we must crucify the sinful nature and bury it in baptism. If we want to revive our faith and produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit, we must be broken and dead to self. Our will must break to do His will. Our agendas and plans must become dead to His will and His way. God uses brokenness to rid us of ourselves. It is a painful but necessary process that produces the love, peace, and joy that Jesus wants to give us. But, prideful sin blinds and prevents us from knowing in these things in this, our day.

Brokenness also releases a fragrance of love towards God that others notice.

Mark 14:3-6 Jesus was in Bethany. He was at the table in the home of a man named Simon, who had a skin disease. A woman came with a special sealed jar of very expensive perfume. It was made out of pure nard. She broke the jar open and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head.

This woman was abused and misused. She was rejected and unloved. Then she met a man who loved her. He took her sin and worthlessness and gave her forgiveness and value. She realized that and it broke her. It broke her to know he loved her, and she wanted to break open the most valuable thing she had and give it to him.

Likewise, Jesus loves us! He wants us to be broken, too. When we are broken, we won’t care what people say about us. When we are broken, we will be poured out as a fragrant perfume before the Lord. Others will notice, and some will think we are wasting our life. However, in our brokenness, there is no person who can stop us and there are no words that can slow us down from serving Jesus.

The Pharisees and indignant people said what this woman did was foolish and a waste. Even today, when proud, religious people and unbelievers observe others lavishly worshipping and pouring out their love in brokenness, they stand back with arms folded and say “what foolishness, what a waste.”

In reality, what is being wasted is that which is still bottled up in our spirit. It must be released. Satan wants us to hold it in. God wants to break us so it can come out. It is expensive. It has a high price on it. It’s our worship. But we are afraid. We try to worship. But that pure worship, with a fragrant aroma, like that woman gave to Jesus is yet to be experienced. Why? Because we aren’t broken. Our hearts have become hard. Our faith has become old, in danger of dying. We don’t love Jesus or appreciate what He did for us like that woman did. We need a fresh vision of what Jesus did for us.

This fragrance in us will be wasted if it is not released. The only wasted fragrance is the fragrance that is still bottled up and unused. The only wasted worship is the worship we have bottled inside us. Ask God to break you today. Don’t waste your life, give it to Jesus. Worship Him with your life. Brokenness always leads to a new level of intimacy with the Lord.

Furthermore, brokenness allows God to use us for multiplication.

Matthew 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

When we are broken, humble, full of the Holy Spirit, and Christ-like, God can use us to make disciples. When we are like Jesus, we become His ambassadors and people can see Jesus in us. As a result, the Church will multiply like it did in the first century.

We need God to resuscitate our dying faith today. First, break any other god you cherish. Then ask God to break you, too, and make you like Jesus. It will be painful, but it will be worth more than anything you give up.  Make Jesus the most important relationship you have. Make Him more important than yourself and you will know the peace and joy He desires to give you, which is currently hidden from your eyes.

If you are not a Christian, make Jesus your Lord and Savior today. Come to Jesus humbly, confessing and repenting of your sin, die to your old nature in baptism, and receive His nature, the Holy Spirit.