Summary: Brokenness leads to Breakthrough - which leads to Breakout!
“Break” or “Broken” is a word that is very sensitive to context.
- Give me a break.
- Don’t break the glass.
- Let’s break bread together.
- Break it down for me.
- You deserve a break.
- I’m broke.
At first glance, it seems that break takes on a different meaning in these phrases. But it really doesn’t – it means the same thing. When I use it in different phrases – it is like looking at the word from a different perspective. I want to talk a little bit today about brokenness.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalms 51:17 (NIV)
The word doesn’t sound very appealing, does it? But really – it depends on your perspective.
Let me just go ahead and tell you where I’m going with this message. We’re going to use the word in three different ways, to illustrate a different perspective of the same process in our lives.
- I must experience breakdown
- so Jesus can break through
- and allow me to break out.
So the subtitle for my message today is Breakdown, Breakthrough, Breakout.
To illustrate this concept, let’s look at the story of Jacob:
Jacob was a man that wanted desperately to get somewhere. His desire was demonstrated even at birth. The Bible tells us that there was something about Jacob’s spirit that God loved. But Jacob kept getting in the way! He lied to his dad. He cheated his brother. He stole from his uncle. So here Jacob is in chapter 32 – rich, but still not happy. He is a broken, middle-aged man with a family and no place to call home. His uncle Laban is pursuing him from behind. He’s just heard that his vengeful brother is bringing his armies out to meet him. Jacob has just split his large family up and sent them in two different directions, in hopes that at least some of them will survive the slaughter that is sure to come.
You might ask – why is this happening to Jacob? I thought the Bible said that God loved him! I thought Jacob was the child of promise…
He is. And God does. The problem is – there has just been too much of Jacob in the mix. God can hardly get a word in edgewise. You see – Jacob needed a breakdown – of his pride – his will.
Some of you may be experiencing some struggles, some difficulties in life. Oh yes – God loves you. As a matter of fact – He loves you so much that He isn’t going to let you mess up his plans for you! He’s working against the pride, the strong will. As long as you stubbornly persist in having it your way – He can’t do anything.
18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. Prov 16:18-19 (NIV)
Paul spoke about how God worked against pride in his life:
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor 12:7-10 (NKJV)
You see, He has to break before He can bless.
- Disciples gathered twelve baskets of bread that had been only 5 loaves – broken and blessed.
- Mary left the Pharisee’s house with a broken alabaster box – and a Word from God.
- Jacob walked away from God’s presence with a broken leg – and a new name!
- The resurrected Christ still bore the marks of a broken body.
As a matter of fact – it is the mark of his broken body that he uses to prove his identity. Like Jesus - the sign of a true Christian will be healed wounds.
Paul bore these marks:
Finally, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. Gal 6:17 (NIV)
That’s why Peter tells us:
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13 (NIV)