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?
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.
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.
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.