You are Broken to be Beautiful. I’ve been speaking about brokenness, and many have told me how they have felt something shift deep in their spirit. We all face brokenness at some stage, and it is never pleasant, but in God’s economy it’s often necessary to allow Him to shape and form our lives. We talked about the potter smashing down the clay to reshape something beautiful, and we likened brokenness to the crucible within which God refines us as silver.

But many of us don’t see brokenness as a positive at all, but rather as a negative, something some might endure, but many just fall apart in. Today I want to look at brokenness as God’s pathway to maturity.

Romans 5:3-4 (ESV Strong's)

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

 

BLINKERS ABOUT BROKENNESS

 

The fact is, for many of us, brokenness is inherently negative, and we have blinkers on with regards the plans and purposes God has for brokenness in our lives. Blinkers stop a horse from seeing the big picture, and only allow them to see a small portion of their vision straight ahead. Likewise, we sometimes have blinkers on and only see brokenness as bad, and so we miss seeing the big picture God has for us.

 

Even our speech gives this away… We talk about mental or physical problems, we call it a breakdown. When we talk of relationship collapse, we call it a break up. When we suffer financial loss it is called going broke. Brokenness is all around.

 

So what kind of barriers stop us seeing brokenness as a crucible within which God refines us for future glory and service?

 

TRUSTING THE WRONG THINGS

 

In life, we all need to trust somebody or something. You trusted that your car would start this morning. You are trusting that chair you’re sitting on to hold you up.

 

Proverbs 3:5 (ESV Strong's)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

 

As Christians we would claim to trust the Lord, but frankly very often our actions contradict what our mouths say. God’s purpose in brokenness is for us to fully trust Him, and anything else we trust in, intentionally or unintentionally, becomes a flaw in the clay as He shapes our lives.

 

So what kind of things do we trust in that cloud our vision of brokenness?

 

1.     WEALTH

 

In our society, wealth often brings with it power, and these two are something we often trust in.  Those with money or possessions usually turn to them instead of God.

 

It is not wrong to be wealthy. Wealthy people can bless and use money to God’s glory, so money itself is not evil. John Wesley was once criticised for taking dirty money from bars and brothels, and he said, “Give me as much dirty money as you can and I’ll show how clean I can make it!”

 

1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV Strong's)

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils.

 

It doesn’t say money is, it says the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Why? Because when we love money we rely on it, we trust in it. But wealth cannot buy you out of trouble. Take the blinkers off, and realise that if you have wealth, you are blessed, but Wealth can disappear in a heartbeat.

 

I have an income in Optometry, and most of my peers are wealthier than I, and all they think about if making more money. But God has shown me that even my ability to earn wealth is from Him, so I must rely on Him not my profession.

 

Deuteronomy 8:18 (ESV Strong's)

You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth.

 

If you have money, great! Use it for the Lord, but never lose sight of the fact that God gives you the ability to earn money.

 

2.     IMAGE

 

Most of us care about our image or appearance. We generally look in the mirror at least once a day, we pay to have our hair done, and some pay for cosmetics or even cosmetic surgery. Going to the gym is often not about fitness, but about appearance. But beauty fades, folks, even with lipstick and makeup. Any coat of paint on an old barn helps, but it’s still an old barn!

 

Proverbs 31:30 (ESV Strong's)

Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

 

If you’re beautiful, good for you, but don’t trust in beauty or appearance, because it fades.

 

3.     REPUTATION

 

Many people don’t see brokenness God’s way because they are really trusting in their reputation. It might be built on your family, your success or your accomplishments, but reputation is precarious at best, and can be destroyed in an instant.

 

Proverbs 22:1 (ESV Strong's)

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favour is better than silver or gold.

 

Having a good reputation is wonderful, but we should not rely on it. In several occasions in my life, I have had to entrust my reputation to God when others have attacked me, because trying to defend it makes you look guilty. Take the blinkers off and realise that your reputation is nothing without God.

 

4.     TALENTS AND GIFTS

 

Very often the most gifted people struggle the most with brokenness. They are determined to succeed, and see their talents as tickets to becoming someone special. The problem is not in having talents. It’s in relying on them. Talented people usually trust their talents instead of God, and God will use brokenness to realign their perspective.

 

As a singer I cannot tell you how many times I have been broken as an singer, or a pastor for that matter. I have received aggressive, accusing letters and emails, criticising and demeaning my abilities and talent. Through brokenness and humility God has taught me to not trust the talents He’s given me. Here’s the correct perspective on your gifts and talents… don’t trust them, trust God.

 

Ephesians 2:10 (ESV Strong's)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

 

WE ARE ALL CONTROL FREAKS!

 

Without doubt, you and I are control freaks. We would rather rely on ourselves, our own abilities and our own efforts rather than God. Even as Christians, we say we trust in God, but we tend to yield “almost all” of our lives. Lord, I give you everything, oh except this small bit. I want to control that myself!

 

So then we tell God how to bless us rather than trusting Him that He knows best.  We control our lives and decisions, then blame God when it goes wrong.

 

Proverbs 19:3 (ESV Strong's)

When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.

 

The biggest blinkers we wear are our own inbuilt need to control our lives, and the only way to remove this or any of the blinkers we have is to be broken, as painful as that might be!

 

If a child has a favourite toy, and you try and gently take it from them, hey almost instinctively snatch it closer.  Our natural tendency when God begins to target an area for breaking in our lives is to cling to that area even more.

 

Generally speaking, most of us know what it is that we must yield or submit to God. Whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, we kind of know when we are withholding an area of our lives. We reason it away, but deep down, we know we’re holding onto control!

 

I remember Fiona describing the time God asked her to give up chocolate. She fought, who wouldn’t, and eventually prayed and said, “God, it’s only chocolate, it’s not a big deal.” He replied, “If it’s not a big deal, why won’t you give it up!”

 

So today God is asking you to yield to that area to Him. Not just to speak it, but to do it. To yield every area of your life to Him, including that one.

 

James 2:17-18 (ESV Strong's)

So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

 

He’s not saying you’re saved by works, but he is saying that genuine faith is accompanied by works. Saying you yield to the Lord is one hint, living a yielded life is another.

 

What is it He is breaking within you right now, that you need to yield to Him and say, as Jesus said,

 

Matthew 26:39 (ESV Strong's)

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

 

BROKEN TO BE BEAUTIFUL

 

I once had a horse called Sasha, and she was wild and out of control. I realised she needed to be broken in, so my dad and I spent a lot of time gaining her trust, and eventually got the bit in her mouth and the bridle on, then this saddle. I remember standing in the saddle, and my dad said, “Go on Son, throw your leg over.” I did, she went ballistic and I was thrown off, diving for cover beneath her kicking legs.

 

But we persisted, and eventually she was broken in and we were able to ride her. Unbroken she was useless, even dangerous, but broken she was useful and even happy. I broke her stubbornness, but it never broke her will. She initially refused to yield to my will, but when she did she became a blessing to everyone around her, she was more productive and she was even happier.

 

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.

 

Take the blinkers off today and see brokenness as the crucible within which God is lovingly refining you. Can you trust God that He will not allow brokenness in your life to hurt you, or destroy you, but to create His own masterpiece in you? He longs to take the pieces of your broken, shattered life and put them back together, creating something far more valuable in the process.

 

BRING THE PIECES TO JESUS TODAY

 

There are areas of my life where I struggle to yield control to the Lord. Finances especially. I add things up, then see how I can solve God’s problem for Him! As we look to our future as a church, I have to yield this area to God!

 

Kingsurgi is an ancient Japanese art of repairing broken bowls using a special lacquer laden with gold. This repair method celebrates each artefact’s unique history by emphasising its fractures and breaks, instead of hiding or disguising them. The result is that the repaired piece is even more beautiful and valuable than the original, revitalising it with new life.

 

This is God’s reason for allowing brokenness into your life. He does not want to destroy or harm you, but He longs to take the shattered pieces of your life and create something new, something more beautiful and more valuable. But he cannot do this until you bring the broken pieces to Him, until you give them to Him and let go!

 

Today is the day for you to truly yield everything to Him, to take the broken pieces of your life and allow God to repair it and make something more beautiful and valuable.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (ESV Strong's)

He has made everything beautiful in its time. (Your time may not have come yet, but it’s coming!) Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

 

You may not know what God is doing, you cannot see the beginning from the end, so you mustn’t trust your own control over His.  It’s time to let go and let God, because He longs to make something beautiful out of your pain and your brokenness.

 

Stop trying to control that problem area you struggle with. Stop trying to do God’s job for Him, and just yield it. Give it to Him, step back and let God be God.

 

Some of you here have specific areas of control in your life that you have held onto for years. You love God, you’ve committed to serving Him, but there are areas where you choose to retain control, and where you are scared to give control to God, fearful He’ll take them away.  God needs these areas broken and yielded to His will, and then He will work the miracle. Can you trust Him, knowing His ultimate desire is to build something more beautiful and valuable in you?

 

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.

 

Today I’m asking you to stop controlling the shattered pieces, and bring them to God. Let Him repair you with His gold. All it takes is a decision to yield, truly yield to Him.

 

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.