I did something the other day that I seldom ever do. I listened to one of my own tapes. It was an old one. Thirty-eight years old to be exact. It was one preached in 1980 when I was pastoring Southcliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. I made reference in that sermon to another series of sermons I’d just finished. I remember that series too. It was on “Brokenness!” That old sermon got me to thinking about some truths that not much thought is given to today. One of those truths is about our “being broken.”
No one is more grateful for the Grace of God and His ability to be our strength and life than am I. To exalt the finished Cross work of Christ and what His ensuing resurrection have accomplished on our behalf in my preaching, is what I LOVE to do. To know He not only died that we might live, but He has come to be our very life, is incredible as well. To live in light of all THAT is the point of faith and faith IS for us the victory as 1 John declares. HE is HIMSELF our life and our strength. It doesn’t get any better than that!
But the truth I’ve just set forth in words is NEVER experienced PERSONALLY, except in the experience of “brokenness,” and therein lies the problem. “Brokenness ” is a lost concept in our present day it seems to me. The beatitude found in Matthew 5:3 touches on this with the statement that says this, when properly translated, “Oh the blessedness of those who are poor [think broken or humbled] in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
Much is said today in our pulpits that could very well be glorifying the flesh instead of our Lord. “You are good, you are wonderful, you are capable, you can do anything you’ve a mind to when you are thinking correctly,” is being said with much enthusiasm. But such teaching may, in fact, be a stumbling block to the reality of Christ and his strength and life being real to us and in us.
This is because “brokenness” PRECEDES genuine “faith” being exercised. Listen to a spiritually mature individual, [Paul] at the height of his journey with Jesus, cry out in brokenness, “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:24).
Notice his “crying out” was because of his admitting his “weaknesses” in brokenness, [read wretchedness] and it’s THAT which catapulted him to the cry of faith, “But thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”
Someone said, “The greatest badge of honor for the Apostle Paul was NOT his giftedness, his intelligence, or his many accomplishments. His greatest badge of honor was his willingness to admit his own weaknesses! Nor did he merely endure them; he exulted in them so that the STRENGTH and LIFE of his LORD could and would be experienced and all that he gloried in.”
He was so wise to be “Looking off unto Jesus” since that’s what true faith is, reflecting on the object of our trust, but that ONLY and ALWAYS follows an admission of a personal “CAN’T,” so one can really trust His “CAN” completely!