A young lady revealed to her pastor, “I just can’t seem to live the Christian life the way I should. I’m frustrated, I do not have spiritual victory or a sense of accomplishment. I struggle with the simplest forms of obedience. I’m constantly defeated. I’ve trued everything. I’ve attended churches where they speak I tongues, perform healings, and have all kinds of extraordinary spiritual experience. I’ve spoken in tongues myself, I’ve been slain in the Spirit, and had ecstatic experiences, I’ve been prophesied over, and have experienced several supposed miracles. But despite all of this I’m not pleased with my life, and I know God isn’t pleased! I’ve tried to get everything from Him that I can, but I’m still not satisfied. I’m still miserable and want more. The pastor’s response, “I think you’ve discovered the problem yourself. The key to spiritual victory and true happiness is not trying to get all you can from God, but in giving all you have to God!”
A wonderful surrender prayer, “Lord. I want to give you me!”
On September 29, 1904, Evan Roberts listened to a sermon by Seth Joshua, in which he repeated the words, “Lord, bend us, bend us!” The Holy Spirit used that simple statement to break Evans’ heart. The following Monday night seventeen young people in his Bible class responded after hearing Roberts tell them, “You must put away all unconfessed sin; you must put away any doubtful habit; you must obey the Spirit promptly; and you must confess Christ publicly.” God’s Holy Spirit was poured out upon Roberts. The effects were felt throughout the Principality of Wales. One-hundred-thousand were converted within six months. Soon, the revival hit England, Ireland, and America. It leaped across the Pacific to India. It had an effect in South Africa, and was preparatory to all missionary work in South America. But the ignition point was Evan Robert’s willingness to be broken.
“And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him. Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:1,2 NLT).
“Brothers and sisters,” this is written to fellow believers (to us). An unbeliever cannot give his body, his mind or his will to God, because he has not given himself.
“I plead with you,” from the Greek, Parakletos, an advocate, one who pleads the cause of another, one who councils or advises another from deep concern for the other's welfare.
The word give, is used in Greek for offering a sacrifice. It describes a priest placing an offering on the altar. It carries the idea of surrender or yielding. It is a command. “That is what Paul is urging us to do here. He says God is interested in you bringing your body and making it available to him. When he says to “present your bodies,” it is the the Greek aorist tense. That means it is something you do once for all; it is not something you do over and over again. You do it once, and then you set the rest of your life on that basis. So there comes a time when God wants you to bring your bodies to him. It amazes me that God would ever want our bodies. Why does he want my body? I can hardly stand it myself, at times! But God says, “Bring your body.” Perhaps the most amazing thing is that Paul has been talking about the body all the way through this section of Romans. He tells us the body is the seat of what he calls “the flesh,” that antagonistic inclination within us that does not like what God likes and does not want to do what God wants. We all have it, and somehow it is located in or connected with the body. Our body is the source of temptation. It is what grows weak and wobbly. That God would want this is amazing! And yet he does” (Ray Stedman, www.RayStedman.org).
This should be easy since our bodies are already His!
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16). The word “dwell” in Greek means “settle,” that Christ may settle in and feel at home in our lives. “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him” (Ephesians 3:17 NLT).
“Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19,20 NLT).
“The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
“Because of all He has done for you,” “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. Because His compassions fail not” (Lamentations 3:22,23). What has God done for us? He has given us salvation; His graciousness toward us; our freedom in Christ; righteousness; kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them. Mercy is God’s love in action: John 3:16,”God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…”
“A holy and living sacrifice,” Paul’s challenges the believers in Rome to sacrifice themselves to God, not as the animal sacrifices on the altar, as the Mosaic Law required, but as a “living sacrifice.” The dictionary defines sacrifice as “anything consecrated and offered to God.” As believers, how do we consecrate and offer ourselves to God as a living sacrifice? “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
“Under the Old Covenant, God accepted the sacrifices of animals. But these were just a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Because of His ultimate, once-for-all-time sacrifice on the cross, the Old Testament sacrifices became obsolete and are no longer of any effect (Hebrews 9:11-12). What does a living sacrifice look like in the practical sense? The following verse (Romans 12:2) helps us to understand. We are a living sacrifice for God by not being conformed to this world. The world is defined for us in 1 John 2:15-16 as the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” All that the world has to offer can be reduced to these three things. The lust of the flesh includes everything that appeals to our appetites and involves excessive desires for food, drink, sex, and anything else that satisfies physical needs. Lust of the eyes mostly involves materialism, coveting whatever we see that we don’t have and envying those who have what we want. The pride of life is defined by any ambition for that which puffs us up and puts us on the throne of our own lives.” (http//www.gotquestions.org).
Under the Old Testament sacrificial system, God never accepted partial sacrifices. So for the believer it is impossible to be, “sort of committed,” (That would like sort of pregnant or sort of married). We are either committed or not committed. It is not possible to be a partial sacrifice.
“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him” (Romans 12:1,2 The Message).
A pig and a chicken were walking down the road together. As they walked along, they saw a sign advertising a breakfast to benefit the poor. The chicken said to the pig, “You should donate a ham and egg breakfast.” The pig replied, “Not so fast! For you it would just be contribution, but for me it would be a total life commitment.” The pig understood that, for him, it is not possible to offer a partial sacrifice. Nor is it possible for believers to offer a partial commitment. Considering all that God has done for us, it would be unreasonable not to give ourselves completely to Him! A wonderful surrender prayer, “Lord. I want to give you me!”
“This is truly the way to worship Him.” Considering all that God has done for us, it would be unreasonable not to worship Him! Spiritual worship does not necessarily consist of elaborate and impressive prayers, intricate liturgy, stained glass windows, high pulpits, lighted candles, flowing robes, and classical music. Spiritual worship dies not require great talent, skill or leadership ability. There is nothing wrong with any of these, and God certainly deserves the best. Most of the aforementioned things are perfectly acceptable in our worship, but they are only acceptable when the heart and the mind of the worshiper is totally focused upon God. Acceptable worship that honors God is sincere, loving, heartfelt devotion and praise from His children. Sincere worship places God on the throne of or hearts. You are holy, O you who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel (Your people)” (Psalm 22:3 NASB).
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world.” “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever” (1 John 2:15,16 NLT). Phillips translates Romans 12:2, “Don't let the world around you squeeze you into its mold....”
What these verses are really talking about is…Brokenness: The word brokenness does not appear in the scriptures, but it is a most important concept in the Christian life. Brokenness is expressed in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 when Paul writes, “Even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (NLT).
The first step to brokenness is giving God your body, which is already His! (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19,20 ).He is Lord! Lord in Greek is kurios, meaning, lord, master, owner, ruler, to have dominion, to conquer. In the New Testament the meaning of Lordship is very clear, it means the One who has absolute authority. To surrender to Lord, means to relinquish possession or control to another, to submit to the power, authority, and control of another. Brokenness can only occur when we submit to Him without reservation. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” (James 4:7-10).
“Brokenness is a state of mind, whereby we recognize our personal weaknesses and limitations before God, and surrender to his will. Now please don’t miss this: total surrender is the starting point of brokenness! Brokenness is the state of being in which we yield control. Repentance is brokenness and surrender in action. Surrender, brokenness and repentance are character traits of people desperately desiring the Lord.” (GotQuestions.org)
Brokenness can only occur when you come to the end of yourself, “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and His rule” (Matthew 5:3 MSG) A person will only throw himself at Christ’s feet when he grasps the reality that he deserves divine judgment for his sin and that his sole hope is Christ’s mercy. This is where a life of brokenness begins. “The broken man,” observed William MacDonald “is quick to repent. He does not try to sweep sin under the carpet. He does not try to forget it with the excuse, ‘Time heals all things.’ He rushes into the presence of God and cries, ‘I have sinned.’”
Brokenness produces true humility. Until our pride is broken we will not humble ourselves before God or men. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you…” (1 Peter 5:6 ESV). Brokenness and humility are the results of a deep consciousness of personal guilt before God over sin, seeing our overwhelming need of a Savior, and then clinging to Christ as a result. People who are in a right relationship with God will grow in brokenness and humility until their dying day.
To us, broken things are despised as worthless, but God can take what has been broken and remake it into something better, something that He can use for His glory. Broken things and broken people are the result of sin. Yet God sent his Son, who was without sin…so that we might be healed.
He went all the way to Calvary to die so that we can live. His death has made it possible for broken, sinful humanity to be reconciled to God and be healed.… “But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” (Isaiah 53:5 NLT). (http//www.gotquestions.org).
“Our generation has been programmed to pursue happiness, positive self-images, and cures for our hurt feelings and damaged psyches. But God is not as interested in these ends as we are - He is more committed to making us holy than to making us happy. There is only one pathway to holiness, one road to genuine revival, and that is the pathway of humility or brokenness. Brokenness is where true revival begins…Our generation has been programmed to pursue happiness, wholeness, affirmation, and cures for our hurt feelings and damaged psyches. But God is not as interested in these ends as we are. He is more committed to making us holy than making us happy. And there is only one pathway to holiness—one road to genuine revival—and that is the pathway of humility or brokenness. God is more committed to making us holy than making us happy. The Scripture makes it clear that this is the number one prerequisite to revival. “For this is what the High and Lofty One says—He who lives forever, whose name is Holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly’ (Isaiah 57:15 NLT).” (Brokenness: The heart God revives, Nancy Leigh DeMoss).
Brokenness is what we allow to God to make us. We cannot train ourselves to be broken or to be spiritual Christians; we cannot discipline ourselves to be broken; we cannot, just by great effort, bend ourselves to the will of God: we must be broken by the will of God.
God uses broken things. It takes broken soil to produce a crop, “This is what the Lord says to (His people), ‘Plow your unplowed fields, but then don’t plant weeds in the soil! Yes, circumcise your lives for God’s sake. Plow your unplowed hearts’” (Jeremiah 4:3 MSG). “I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:12 NLT).
The Word of God must plow through the hardened ground of our spiritual lives. Broken ground produces crops; broken grain produces bread; broken bread gives sustenance and strength. The alabaster box had to be broken to anoint the Lord, (Mark 14:3). Peter had to be broken, weeping bitterly, he came back with power to preach courageously. (Luke 22:62; Acts 2).
“This is My body, which is broken for you” (1 Corinthians 11:24). We know that the Bible says in John 19:36; Exodus 12:46, “A bone of Him shall not be broken.” Then how do we explain, 1 Corinthians 11:24? Although not a bone of Jesus body was broken, His skin and flesh were torn and broken by the blows of rods and fists; whippings and scourgings; by thorns; nails, and a spear; His body might truly be said to be have been broken. Most of the early Bible manuscripts omit which is broken. The King James translators, not realizing the significance of Jesus’ bones remaining unbroken, incorrectly embellished the Greek text. They added the words which is broken to the text – that are not in the original text. The English Standard Version (ESV) reads, “And when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
What is Brokenness? Strong's Concordance: “sheber: destroy, smash, crush, break, fracture.”
Brokenness begins with the simple request, “Sir, we would see Jesus” (John 12:21). As in His day, today people want to see His miracles; His acts of compassion; and hear His voice. But brokenness is not just in seeing Jesus, it is genuinely, seeing, hearing, touching, and then surrendering ourselves to Him, presenting ourselves as “Living sacrifices.” It is placing ourselves on His altar voluntarily, completely committed to Him.
”The committed Christian is preoccupied and absorbed with his Lord's glory. The very purpose for which we exist is to give glory to God…He is concerned only with living to give glory to God. He's not concerned about himself. He's not preoccupied with his own glory. He's not worried about what brings honor to him. He's not on a popularity binge. He's not trying to climb the ladder, to get something bigger and better for himself. lives so that whatever he does brings glory to his Lord. He realizes that it doesn't matter what people think of him, but only that they glorify God. His motive, his theme, his goal, his reason, his purpose is to give the Lord glory in everything he does. His life reflects the attributes of God, and God is praised by the way he lives” (John MacArthur).
Isaiah 43:7 NLT, “Bring all who claim Me as their God, for I have made them for My glory. It was I who created them.”
1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
1 Corinthians 6:19,20, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
Brokenness brings wholeness: D.L. Moody said, the happiest man he ever met was in Dundee, Scotland. He fell and broke his back when he was fifteen-years-old. He had lain on his bed for forty years and could not be moved without a lot of pain. Probably, not a day passed in all those years without acute suffering. But day after day the grace of God had been granted him. When Moody was in his room, it seemed to be as near to heaven as he could get on earth. When Moody saw him, he thought that he must be beyond the reach of the tempter, and he asked him, “doesn’t Satan ever tempt you to doubt God and to think that He is a hard Master? “Oh yes,” he said. ”He does try to tempt me. I lie here and see my old schoolmates driving along, and Satan whispers, ‘If God is so good, why has He kept you here all these years? You might have been a rich man, riding in your own carriage.’ Then I see a man, who was young when I was, walk by in perfect health, and Satan whispers, ‘If God loved you, couldn’t He have kept you from breaking your back?’” And what do you do when Satan tempts you?” Moody asked. “Ah, I just take him to Calvary and show him Christ, I point out the wounds in His hands, His feet and His side, ‘Doesn’t He love me?’ The fact is Satan got such a scare there nineteen-hundred-years ago that he can’t stand it; so he leaves me every time.’” That bed-ridden saint of God did not have much trouble with doubts, he was too full of the grace of God.”
Brokenness costs: In 1 Chronicles 21:22-24, God commanded David to offer a sacrifice on Ornan’s threshing floor. “Then David said to Ornan, ‘Grant me the place of this threshing floor, that I may build an altar on it to the Lord. You shall grant it to me at the full price, that the plague may be withdrawn from the people.” But Ornan said to David, “Take it to yourself, and let my lord the king do what is good in his eyes. Look, I also give you the oxen for burnt offerings, the threshing implements for wood, and the wheat for the grain offering; I give it all.’ Then King David said to Ornan, ‘No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.’”
There is a price to pay for brokenness. We are all faced with the offer of Ornan. Your husband or wife cannot be broken for you; your parents or your pastor cannot be broken for you. Romans 12:1, “YOU present YOUR bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is YOUR spiritual service of worship. “I will not offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing.”
You can have my heart, though it isn't new,
It's been used and broken, and only comes in blue,
It's been down a long road, and it got dirty along the way,
If I give it to you, will you make it clean and wash the shame away?
So beyond repair, nothing I could do,
I tried to fix it myself, but it was only worse when I got through,
Then you walk right into my darkness and you speak words so sweet,
And you hold me like a child, 'til my frozen tears fall at your feet.
You can have my heart, if you don't mind broken things,
You can have my life if you don't mind these tears,
Well, I heard that you make old things new, so I give these pieces up to you,
If you want it, you can have my heart.
–Buddy & Julie Miller–
Unless otherwise noted, the New King James Version of the Bible was used. Also The New Living Translation (NLT); The New American Standard Bible (NASB); The Message (MSG); The New Century Version (NCV); The Amplified Bible (AMP); The King James Version (KJV), The New Life Version (NLV); English Standard Version (ESV); J.B. Phillips New Testament; Easy to Read Version (ERV); Common English bible (CEB); NET Bible (NET) and The Living Bible (TLB). Contemporary English Version (CEV).
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