Brokenness 2- What God Wants

What God Wants is important when it comes to your life… tell me what you want, what you really, really want?

When difficulties come into our lives, most people ask the question, “Where are you, God?” In asking this question, we make an assumption that God either must not have known what was about to befall us or else he would have prevented it. Or we assume that God must not love us, because if he loved us, he would keep us from all hurtful times and hard experiences.

Both assumptions are wrong. So why knows What God Wants?

 

The fact is, God knows. And God loves. So what’s going on then, and what is the Lord after?

 

JOB… WHAT GOD WANTS

 

To look closer at this, consider Job. Job was a good and godly man, yet he was on the end of a bad deal.  When pain, turmoil or disaster comes our way, many ask the question, “Who caused this, God or Satan?”  What we see in the book of Job is that Satan causes the pain, but God, in His infinite wisdom, at times allows bad things to happen to good people.

 

Job 1:8 (ESV Strong's)

And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”

 

God rejoiced in Job’s faithfulness, but then Satan stepped forward and accused Job, saying he is only righteous because he gets what he wants. So we need to know What God Wants.

 

So God gave Satan permission to touch Job’s possessions, but not his body. Satan attacked, and Job’s sons and daughters, flocks, herds and servants were killed. Did God kill them? No, but He gave liberty for Satan to do it.

 

Job 1:21 (ESV Strong's)

And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

 

Despite the pain and loss, Job refused to blame God. So Satan was given permission to attack Job’s body. How many of you know that brokenness often leads to sickness. Also, those he loved turned on him. His friends tormented and accused him instead of encouraging him, and his wife said,

 

Job 2:9 (ESV Strong's)

Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”

 

God knew that Job was broken. While we may not understand why God allowed it, or What God Wants, we do know that God never abandoned Job, not even for a moment. God knew of Job’s afflictions, but He also knew how these would serve to refine and deepen Job’s trust in the Lord.

 

The thing is, no matter how broken we might feel, God sees the beginning and the end of our lives. He has a good future designed for us. He has a hope that can drive us on in the toughest of times. We may not know what our future holds, but we know who holds our future, and we can trust Him.

 

In all this, Job learned not to question God, but to yield to His sovereign will. Job never accused God, and he never dictated terms, he submitted to God, and as he yielded to God, God saw fit to restore his fortunes, twice as much as he had before.

 

WHAT GOD WANTS IS MOTIVATED BY LOVE

 

We need to recognise that God does not allow brokenness in our lives because he is ruthless, cruel, heartless, or without compassion. No! To the contrary. God sees the beginning and the end, He sees the full potential for our lives, and what God wants is that He deeply desires an intimate, loving spiritual relationship with us. Paul writes,

 

Romans 8:38-39 (ESV Strong's)

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

God loves you so much, He cannot bear to see you continue in your sin, to see you remain in a lukewarm spiritual state, and He will not stand idly by and watch as His plans and hopes and dreams for you go unfulfilled. God is not about meeting your demands, He’s about meeting your destiny!

 

What God Wants is to bring about His best for us, and for us to experience Him in the fullness of His love, wisdom, power, strength, and goodness. He allows brokenness in our lives in order to bring about this blessing… a closer, deeper, more mature walk with Him.

 

DISCIPLINE OR PUNISHMENT?

 

Brokenness is often confused with punishment, but the Lord’ discipline is not the same as the Lord’s punishment.

 

Punishment is for unbelievers. It is an expression of God’s wrath, and is what someone who rejects Jesus faces. Eternally there will be punishment in hell, and many experience some of that even here on earth. Punishment is not designed to rehabilitate, it’s designed to be the just and fair consequences of our sinful actions.

 

Ephesians 5:6 (ESV Strong's)

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

 

Discipline, on the other hand, is for believers, it’s for you and I, and God’s purpose is to lead a believer to confront, remove, or change any habits, attitudes, or beliefs that keep the believer from growing more like Jesus. Discipline is a training tool that God uses to make us whole and spiritually mature. It is God’s method for preparing us for a supernatural, Holy Spirit inspired ministry of service.

 

Hebrews 12:11 (ESV Strong's)

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

 

Punishment flows from God’s wrath, but discipline flows from God’s love for you.

 

GOD’S PURPOSE FOR BROKENNESS... WHAT GOD WANTS

 

God loves you, and has a plan and a purpose of your life. Yes. He will allow brokenness in your life, but His motivation is love.

 

Hebrews 12:5-6 (ESV Strong's)

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

 

God’s purpose is not to break our spirit, but to break the stubbornness of our wills. Have you ever met a child who has never been disciplined? Undisciplined children grow into egotistical, self centred, self serving, narcissistic adults. Loving parents discipline their children. Why? Because they love them and want them to grow up into kind, beautiful people who bless others. Some people cause happiness wherever they go, while others cause happiness whenever they go.

 

And so God, our perfect Father, allows pain and difficulties and even brokenness into our lives not because He delights in our pain, but because He is shaping us into the destiny He has planned for us. These painful circumstances and situations are tools that God uses to bring us to a position where we are willing to surrender and yield our lives completely to him.

 

VICTIMS OR VICTORS?

 

So can Christians see themselves as victims? The whole modern world see themselves as victims. Nothing is ever their fault. Even criminals blame their past, their upbringing, peers, substances or anything else except their own poor choices! All of these may be true, but in the end, each one chooses.

 

Deuteronomy 30:19 (ESV Strong's)

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,

 

If you are going through brokenness today, you can choose how you see yourself.  When you see ourselves as a victim, you live in the past and wallow in your pain. But if you choose to see yourself as dearly loved by a God who is preparing you for a special future and service, which He alone knows, then you will find strength to endure the past pain and move forward.

 

Victims blame circumstances, but victors rise above circumstances. The choice is yours, but you know what God wants.

 

Romans 8:28 (ESV Strong's)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

All things, even the bad, even the painful, even the things that leave you broken, God can bring about good in your life through these things, and all it takes is for you to choose to trust Him.

 

I was once ripped off for a large sum of money by someone I trusted. I remember the night this all happened, how I sat in a room thinking I was going to lose my home, and I was completely broken. I remember feeling numb, like I had no emotion, almost like I had no soul.

 

But then I realised that I had a choice. I could choose to be the victim, and I was being victimised by someone I loved, or I could choose to be the victor.

 

This brokenness could have affected me for the rest of my life. I could have got mad at God, I could have got mad at myself. But I chose at that moment to trust the Lord. To step up and be the person He wants me to be. To be a victor!

 

Today, if any experience in your past is defining you—other than your salvation experience—then you have serious work to do. If you are still finding your past is controlling you, then you very likely are allowing yourself to be victimised, rather than allowing yourself to be redeemed and healed by the love of God. As long as we see ourselves as victims, we cannot embrace the wholeness God has for us, but today we can choose to become victors!

 

HINDSIGHT IS 20/20 VISION

 

They say hindsight is 20/20 vision. In other words, looking back I can see what God was doing. At the time, however, and at the moment of brokenness, you cannot see from God’s perspective, because the pain blinds you to what He was doing.

 

In the heat of the moment, it’s so hard to see what the Lord is doing. If He is a God of love, why does He allow me to hurt so much? When it’s over, however, we can begin to see the truth, the perspective that God has had all along. If you’re broken right now, if you’re hurting, if you’re in pain and there seems to be no hope for you, then God is not standing afar, He is right there, and He’s hurting too!

 

Psalms 34:18 (ESV Strong's)

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

 

The word “crushed” in the Hebrew means destroyed, or ground into powder. And some of you here feel exactly like that… crushed into powder, not just beaten down or hurt, but utterly pulverised into fine powder. But the Bible says,

 

Psalm 147:3 (ESV)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

 

Isaiah 57:15 (ESV)

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

 

Do you need reviving this morning? That's what God wants.

 

When I look back in my life, I can see clearly how God has changed me. At times I’ve  been broken, shattered, beaten, smashed, pruned, and chiseled, and frankly I didn’t like the feeling of brokenness any more than you do. But I can tell you this—I thank God for what he’s done. Every chisel blow, every hammer blow, every cut of the knife, every slice into my innermost being, every tear, every pain, every hurt, every loss, every disappointment, every disillusionment, every moment of despair has been worth it, because I trust my Lord, and I know God has refined me, and out of the crushed and broken spirit He is building something great for His Kingdom!

 

SILVER REFINED

 

We call our church Ignite, because we recognise our need of the purifying flame that God uses to refine our lives.

 

Proverbs 17:3 (ESV Strong's)

The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.

 

Isaiah 48:10 (ESV Strong's)

Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.

 

The process of refining silver is an ancient art. The brokenness you feel is the result of affliction, but it’s this very flame of affliction that God uses to purify or refine your life.

 

The refiner’s fire is not a wildfire, or an incinerator, it is a specific flame at a specific temperature and it burns for a specific purpose. The silver must be held in the middle of the fire, because that’s where it is hottest. It is heated and liquifies, and then impurities, what is called dross, floats to the surface, and are scraped away.

 

This process is repeated again and again, up to 7 times, and each time the silver is heated hotter and hotter, and each time dross is removed.

 

The silversmith watches closely, because he knows that if the silver is left in the flame for even a moment too long it can be destroyed. The flame is carefully set, carefully controlled, and the master silversmith carefully watches and waits.

 

And if you ask the silversmith how he knows when the silver is fully refined, when it is truly pure enough he would smile and tell you…

 

“It is fully refined when I can see my image reflected in the silver.”

 

Psalms 17:15 (ESV Strong's)

As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness; when I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness.

 

This brokenness, this trial, this test you are experiencing is to purify you so that Jesus is reflected in your life.  If the furnace seems hot right now, remember that God is not punishing you, but allowing affliction so as to lovingly refine and purify you. The purpose of all this, the reason He is working all things for good, is so that He can see His image reflected in you.

 

Ephesians 4:22-24 (ESV Strong's)

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

If you’re going through a furnace right now! In your marriage, in your finances, in your relationships, in your walk with God, then let us share the journey with you.

Brokenness... This could be the most broken, anxious and dejected generation in history. Around 20% of all Australian’s aged 16-85, 1 in 5, suffer from anxiety and/or depression, that equates to around 3.5 million of us clinically depressed.

We have more things, more ways to communicate and more opportunities than any generation in history, yet more of us are more anxious, depressed and utterly broken by life than ever before.

 

When something is broken, we generally don’t equate that with blessing. Oh, I lent you my car and you broke it… wow, I feel so blessed! The love of my life just broke my heart,… awesome, I feel so blessed! Yeah right.

Brokenness, in our life or in anything, is usually associated with pain and loss. So to start a series equating brokenness of spirit with blessings seems paradoxical, but it can become reality for you.

 

We all experience brokenness in our lives at some time. The overwhelming feeling that your entire world is shattered. You don’t want to raise your head off the pillow, you feel like the tears will never stop flowing. Sometimes there’s a void in your heart that seemingly cannot be filled, a sorrow that cannot be comforted, a wound for which there seems no healing.

 

And you’re not alone in feeling like this. I just spoke at a Junior High camp, and one of the leaders who is a Youth Pastor told me that more than half of his youth group is being medicated for anxiety and depression.

 

If you get knocked down enough, you can feel broken and crushed in spirit.

 

BROKENNESS IS NOT ALWAYS BAD

 

Hosea 10:12 (ESV Strong's)

Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

 

Fallow ground is long term, it’s hard and crusty and like cement. Over the years, many of us become tough and  hard, set in our ways and unwilling or unable to change, even to grow, and unresponsive to God.

 

Though it may not feel great at the time, Brokenness exposes the real you underneath. It’s painful, it’s hard work, but we must keep our eyes not on the depressive pain of the moment but on ultimately what God has in store for us.

 

Jim Wilson writes,

Brokenness isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A farmer doesn’t plant his crop in cement; rather, he chooses good soil, breaks it up, and then sows the seed. Unbroken soil does not produce abundant crops, but broken, cultivated soil incubates life. A butterfly could never flutter in the spring air without breaking its cocoon and neither could an eaglet emerge without breaking its shell.

 

Jesus could not feed the four thousand until he broke the bread (Mark 8:1-8). The sinful woman could not pour the costly perfume over Jesus until she broke the alabaster box (Luke 7:37).  We could never know salvation without Jesus’ broken body (1 Corinthians 11:24).

 

In many ways, we are not useful until we are broken.

 

 

LIFE INVOLVES BROKENNESS

 

Life often involves brokenness. Often there’s a combination of many causes which add together to form debilitating and overwhelming condition we recognise as brokenness.

 

Someone might hurt you, let you down, attack you or speak ill of you. A situation might break your heart, or a loss, or a fear. Then you lose sleep thinking about it, so you find yourself tired and flat and run down. Next up, your immunity is compromised, so add sickness on top of everything else, and so your misery compounds.

 

Listen, if you’ve experienced this you are not unique. Everyone does at some time, and often there is no immediate cure. I cannot wave a magic wand this morning and make it all better, but we can covenant to walk the road with you. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s not an oncoming train!

 

Psalms 34:18 (ESV Strong's)

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

 

I can’t make your brokenness heal quicker. I can’t solve your life’s problems. But I can offer you a firm hope, and that is this… in my experience, if you turn to the Lord in your brokenness, He is close, closer than ever before, and He is ready to save your crushed spirit.

 

So don’t focus on the path of brokenness you are currently walking, focus instead on the fact that it will not last forever, and when you come out the other side, the blessing will be greater than ever before.

 

WHAT PRICE BLESSING?

 

Most of us want blessing in our lives, we want to be mature, successful, godly and have blessed family, finances and life.

 

I once saw a Ferrari, and I thought that’s a beautiful car. I thought to myself, I can’t afford to have a car like that. But then I stopped and reflected… if I sold my business, my house, my computers and maybe a child, I could probably afford that car. Thing is… I don’t want it that bad.

 

So how bad do you want to be blessed? The Psalmist wrote

 

Psalms 71:20 (ESV Strong's)

You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.

 

So how bad do you want to be blessed of God and used to bless others? In an age where most Christians seem to think that God is their personal slave, to get them the prosperity or healing they want, any talk about brokenness seems to fly in the face of popular preaching.

 

But God is more interested in changing what we desire, far more than he is in giving us what we demand. God is constantly refining us, fashioning us, and making us into the people He has destined us to be. But like a sculpture, the process involves chipping bits of stone off us, and that’s painful. Yet as we are broken, but by bit, an new, better, beautiful you emerges.

 

GROWTH IS A PROCESS

 

Growth is a process. It includes setbacks, failures, pain, hard lessons, and yes, brokenness. It involve both spiritual growth, and the renewal of our minds and emotions.

 

Old habits die hard. Old desires cling to us despite our best efforts. Old sins, old struggles, old relationships, all of these take time, and pain, to overcome. But while the process might be painful and difficult, the result is none the less good.

 

So, instead of running from brokenness and avoiding it at all costs, I’d encourage you to take your pain to the Lord. Today you can look beyond your brokenness to the blessing that will come if you fully yield your like to the Lord.

 

James 1:2-4 (ESV Strong's)

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

 

BROKENNESS TO CREATE A PERFECT VESSEL

 

Jeremiah 18:3-6 (ESV Strong's)

I went down to the potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand

 

Have you ever watched a potter at work. If he creates something that is flawed, perhaps a design fault or a bubble in it, then he doesn’t try and accommodate the flaw… he just breaks it up again, smashes it down into the wheel, and starts afresh.

 

The potter’s purpose is not to destroy his work, but rather, to make a more beautiful, more perfect work—to shape and fashion something more wonderful and more functional.

 

And that’s also how our heavenly potter shapes our lives. Sometimes He can repair a small imperfection, but often times He sees fit to break that piece of clay back to its original form and start again building something far better. I know it hurts, but let the pain drive you to God, not away from Him.

 

If you’re feeling broken, feeling flat, feeling let down or tired or sick or just miserable, then you need to step back and let the potter have a His way. You can try and shape your life, sure, but it won’t be as good as what the master can do.

 

ALLOW THE POTTER TO RESHAPE YOUR LIFE

 

The purpose of this first message in the series is simply to ask you to yield to the hands of the Master Potter.

 

Most of us are pretty self sufficient. We know what we want in life, and we shape our own pot and follow our own destiny. And sometimes brokenness is a wake up call to say, hey, stop trying to shape yourself and let the Master have a go.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

 

When you come to Jesus, it’s a new start, but it’s not the end, it’s only the beginning of your new life.  The growth, the moulding, the shaping, the maturing takes time, takes effort, takes discipline and it takes pain to become what God wants.

 

This is why Paul could write,

 

Romans 8:28 (ESV Strong's)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

 

All things, even the pain, even the brokenness, even at your lowest point, He is there.

 

Psalms 23:4 (ESV Strong's)

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

 

Overcoming brokenness and being shaped into the person God wants is not a passive task on your part. You’re still involved, but the difference is you need to yield to the Lord, and not be in control.

 

Yielding means that instead of getting angry at God, getting bitter, or jumping to solve everything yourself, you trust in God and rejoice in the fact that, despite the pains He is shaping your life into something beautiful.

 

Amy Carmichael tells the story of being in an Indian potter’s workshop. He asked her to to try and make a pot. She tried, but was a dismal failure. He asked her to try again, and she refused, but he insisted. This time though, the potter asked her to relax her hands completely, and he sat behind her, and he placed his hands over hers. Then as the wheel turned, the potters hands guided hers, and a beautiful pot was formed. He congratulated her on making a perfect pot, but she said she hadn’t done it, he had. Oh no, he replied, there’s no clay on my hands, you are the one who made it, not I.

 

IT’S TIME TO LET GO

 

Remember that old song… something beautiful, something good, all my confusion He understood. All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, but He made something beautiful of my life.

 

That’s the challenge if you are broken today, even if you have been for a long time. Maybe your heart has been broken, maybe your health, your finances, your family or your life. If you feel crushed, if you’ve suffered loss, if you’ve tried and tried and done your best, but you still feel broken inside, and your tired of the struggle.

 

Today it’s time to let go, to let your hands go limp and allow God, the Master Potter to guide you and create the beautiful destiny He has in mind for you.  You can trust Him, you can let go and allow Him to mould and shape you into your destiny.

 

I know some of you are tired. You’re flat, you’re broken, you’re down. Sometimes you just want to cry, or run away, or just stay in bed. But don’t stay broken a moment longer than you need to. Don’t blame God, because He doesn’t bring pain to your life and He’s hurting too. But yield to Him, and let Him make lemonade out of the lemons life has handed you.

 

It all starts with a decision. A decision to let go and let God take control of your hands on the potter’s wheel.

 

Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV Strong's)

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

If you’re weary, burdened, bruised or broken, if you’re tired of the fight, tired of the seemingly endless brokenness, then this morning God is calling you. In brokenness there is hope, the incredible hope of blessings. It all starts with a decision…

 

It’s time to yield to Him.