by Charles F. Stanley
Bible Study: God's Purpose For Brokenness
Sermon: God's Pathway Of Brokeness
It can be tempting to think we need very little improvement. Ask around, and you’ll hear many people concede they could probably use a bit of “maintenance” on one or two problem areas (preferably without being caused any discomfort). Yet most will add, “But I’m a good person.” Don’t be fooled—the Father refuses to settle for humanity’s inadequate view of “good enough.”
God sees each believer as the person he or she will be when fully yielded to Jesus Christ. He then sets about achieving that complete renovation by transforming the individual’s present self into the image of His Son. We could say that God is our “interior designer.”
Through this “remodeling” process, God continues His work of molding us into the likeness of His Son. Humans are born “bent away” from the Lord. Our natural inclination is to please and serve self, which is the opposite of a God-honoring lifestyle. But when we become believers, our Father begins to bend our will and ways back toward Him. We must cooperate with Him and yield to the process. Otherwise, we are of little use to the kingdom.
The Lord wants to eradicate every thought pattern and activity promoting dependency on anything other than Him. This means that relying on oneself to attain security, salvation, or physical and emotional comfort are outside His will. Actions that advance a person at the expense of others—in one’s career, relationships, or ministry—are also ungodly.
If we resist bending toward the Lord, He may break us by allowing pain to enter our life. As a result, we are driven to Him in surrender. To break a person may sound harsh, but God does this work in love. He sees beyond the hurt to the outcome—we will be more mature and faithful servants for having walked through trials. And as we take each hard step, our loving Father stays by our side, offering guidance and comfort. Seeing the benefits He has brought about through my hardships, I can honestly thank Him for every period of brokenness I’ve experienced (Rom. 8:28).
Steps to Healing
The truth is that we all have areas of selfishness that need to be bent or broken by God’s hand. We must begin by looking inward and asking our heavenly Father to help us discover wrong habits and thought patterns, including resentments or bitterness. Then, we must surrender to His work so we can become wise and useful servants—with hearts healed of the wounds inflicted by sin. The healing process can be painful. Yet God uses suffering to mold His children. Although wonderful, happy times feel great, times of affliction tend to produce growth.
Another essential step in the remodeling of our inner lives involves removing whatever is unnecessary, damaged, or outmoded. In our case, what must go are the areas of self-will that hinder our relationship with the Lord.
Brokenness is God’s way of dealing with the part of us that wants to act independently of Him. He targets habits, attitudes, and even relationships wherein we act independently of His purposes. Then skillfully and lovingly, our Father arranges circumstances that will allow us enough discomfort to realize our dependence upon Him. And He takes hold of interests that are dear to our hearts in order to coax from us the rather humbling question, “Lord, what more would You have me surrender to You?”
Conforming our will to God’s restores us to function as He intended: sons and daughters wholly dependent on their heavenly Father. In the midst of our transformation, pain from His tools may temporarily obscure the beauty of His design. But nothing is more splendid to God than a committed, obey-at-all-costs follower. Submit to Him so that He might reshape you into the servant He desires.