Matthew 16:24 – 25 NKJV
“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.”
GIVING UP CONTROL: BROKENNESS
It is human nature to look out for yourself. You don’t have to teach a baby this. One of their first words they may say is, “Mine!” Parents work hard at teaching their children to share and to look out for others.
“The pronouns “my” and “mine” look innocent enough in print, but their constant and universal use is significant. They express the real nature of the old Adamic man better than a thousand volumes of theology could do. They are verbal symptoms of our deep disease. The roots of our hearts have grown down into things, and we dare not pull up one rootlet lest we die. Things have become necessary to us, a development never originally intended. God’s gifts now take the place of God, and the whole course of nature is upset by the monstrous substitution.”
A. W. Tozer “The Pursuit Of God”
We can be controlling and stingy at times. What does it mean to give God control of our lives? If we give God control, will He totally change us into something we don’t want to be? After all, allowing God to have control, with His time and purposes, takes too long.
How many of you have “helped” God out by going ahead with your own idea of what should happen?
Even if God birthed within us a vision or a goal, we try to hurry up the process in our own wisdom and power. But all we end up doing is make a mess of things.
We either do one of two things when it comes to control:
1. We don’t wait and take control our self.
a. We can see this mistake with Sarai (Sarah).
Genesis 16 (recap) Sarai had her Egyptian maid, Hagar, conceive Abraham’s child and Ishmael was born. Eventually, in God’s time, He allowed Sarai to conceive and Isaac was born. The two brothers fought, and their descendants fight to this day.
Sarai knew the promise that God gave Abram that his descendants would be as many as the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5).
Sarai had yet to give Abram a child. She was old and well past child bearing years.
Genesis 16 shows us what happens when we try to make something happen in our time instead of waiting on God for His time and purpose.
When we don’t wait for God’s time, and try to make things happen in our own time, only mistakes are made. Waiting is one of the hardest things for us humans to do, but when we do, we are blessed.
Our self-sufficiency can destroy us and our pride will prevent God’s favor and blessing to manifest in our lives.
The flesh is hard to tame. The only thing that will tame it is to lay it down at Christ’s feet and say, “Have your way in me.”
2. We submit and give God control
a. Jesus gave up control to the Father when He literally laid down His life for His Father’s will.
Jesus said it well in Matthew 26:39b (Amplified Bible) “…My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will [not what I desire], but as You will and desire.”
The process of surrendering our all to Christ can be a difficult and painful process, yet extremely rewarding once we do it.
Philippians 1:21 (NKJV)
“For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
Dealing with your flesh
Now dealing with your flesh is hard. Your flesh or your will, doesn’t want to die.
It will scream out at you to stop. It will scream out in self-pity to have its way. Be aware of it when the time comes for you to let go of your control to God. If self-pity wins, sin has won. Press through the pain of letting go of your will. You will feel uncomfortable.
Peter, when he stepped outside of the boat, I’m sure, felt uncomfortable. His flesh said, “This doesn’t feel right.” “I’ve never felt this way before.” His spirit wanted to reach Jesus, but his flesh wanted to go back to the familiar (the boat) and be safe and comfortable again.
The world will tell you to look out for yourself, stand up for your rights, but God requires us to be broken and have a contrite heart.
Psalm 51:17 NKJV
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and contrite heart – These, O God, You will not despise.”
It’s never fun to die. It costs us something. Our will has to die. Flesh wants to run when it is costly or painful.
Amy Wilson, with the Christian Literature Crusade, expresses this thought well:
“God, harden me against myself,
The coward with pathetic voice
Who craves for ease and rest and joy.
Myself, arch-traitor to myself,
My hollowest friend,
My deadliest foe,
My clog, whatever road I go.”
A. W. Tozer states in “The pursuit of God” about dying to our flesh: “You have to pull it from its roots. The ancient curse will not go out painlessly; the tough old miser within us will not lie down and die obedient to our command. He must be torn out of our heart like a plant from the soil; he must be extracted in agony and blood like a tooth from the jaw. He must be expelled from our soul by violence as Christ expelled the money changers from the temple. And we shall need to steel ourselves against his piteous begging, and to recognize it as springing out of self-pity, one of the most reprehensible sins of the human heart.”
Sounds like fun, right! Our flesh will scream to have its way. We are only deceiving our self if we let it win. Part of our flesh is our pride. Pride comes in so many packages. One big package is our stubborn will.
There has to be brokenness within us to bring us to the place of giving God control.
What is brokenness?
I think brokenness is more an attitude than an incident. There are many elements to brokenness.
1. Brokenness is a state of true humility.
a. We can try and be humble, but true humility is realizing our need for God. It is a knowing that life evolves around Him and not us.
b. True humility is a heart that wants to continually please God first and foremost above our own needs and wants.
c. True humility will prove itself. It proves the one whom it represents.
If we are walking in true humility, we will not want to be seen, or to be first in line, or to be expecting others to wait on us.
d. True humility will look out for the interests of others instead of always looking out for itself.
e. A true sign of humility is a person who is willing to serve, even when no one is looking. Are you a true humble servant?
2. Brokenness is the absence of pride.
There is a kind of pride that has a “Look at me” spirit attached to it. When you see it in others, it leaves a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. Have you ever watched American Idol or some other talent show? There are contestants who think they are “all that!” and there are contestants who are humble. Often those who think more highly of themselves then they should never make it on the show. They usually get mad and start shouting profanities because they didn’t get to go on to Hollywood and continue with the contest.
I’ve encountered prideful people many times as a Pastor and a Worship Leader working with a teams or people in the congregation. Satan fell from heaven because of his pride (Isaiah 14:12 – 15). I can see why worship team members may struggle with wanting to be seen, and even churches struggle over what kind of music is to be played during the service.
When working with teams, I’ve found the members who have pride built up in their hearts are the hardest to work with. The truly broken, humble members will want to help out in any way or in any place there is a need. Prideful members will want to be seen and want to have their way.
Those members, who have pride in their hearts, eventually will have to choose between two choices.
When pride is in our hearts, we have one of two choices we can make;
1. We will finally notice the pride and want to change
2. We will harden our hearts and continue deeper in our pride. This could possibly lead to destruction.
Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV)
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Isaiah 64:6 NKJV
“But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousness are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
Since experiencing first hand the destruction from my own pride, I’ve tried to warn other people of this possibility, but the only true school is the school of hard knocks. We all have to live it to really understand it.
Pride is an element that will defile us if never addressed. It’s easy to allow pride to build and grow in our hearts. It’s easy to shrug it off, as if it is not important. If you don’t think you have a lot of pride in you, don’t be deceived, everyone is susceptible to “pride buildup.”
Mark 7:20 – 23 (NKJV)
“And He (Jesus) said, ‘What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.’”
We should never think we can handle pride. Always lay the compliments people give you at the foot of the cross and leave it there. These “jewels” that were given to you are really Christ’s.
There is much grace for those that rid pride from their lives. It is an on going process. We will always be tempted with pride or self sufficiency, especially if you are in ministry of some sort. Practice laying down your pride and self will before God.
After pride was revealed in my heart, brokenness came. I saw and smelled the stench of my righteousness. I have seen first hand what my pride caused in the lives of so many people.
How does brokenness come?
►We can make bad choices
►Circumstances out of our control (Someone or something happened to you)
►We come to the reality of our humanity compared to God’s holiness and wisdom
►We come to the end of ourselves. (Prodigal son)
3. Brokenness makes us reach up to God (Someone Who is bigger then us).
As a human, we are “fixer.” We try to fix the problem like Sarah and we end up making a bigger mess. I arrived there from my own hands of my attempted suicide. How could I have come to that place? I use to be able to trust myself in hard times. Never did I think I would ever try and kill myself… Have you ever thought that?
It has been many years now since that dreadful dark time in my life, but from that time came brokenness in my heart which I desperately needed.
I’ve thought long and hard about brokenness and what it really means spiritually.
…The realization of who I am compared to God.
…A true humility and submissive heart to God.
…A heart’s cry of desperation to a loving God.
…Waiting on God’s time, not mine.
…Laying down my crowns and dreams for God’s
…Not wanting my will, but God’s
…Letting go of my control to God.
…A heart of obedience and thankfulness towards God.
…A realization of my self-righteousness compared to God’s
…A knowing that I’m lost without God.
Why is it so important to be broken before the Lord?
1. Our pride can keep us from a close relationship with God.
1 Peter 5:5b (NKJV)
“…God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
2. Being broken automatically gives us a teachable heart. It gives us grace to walk through any struggle or circumstance humbly and with open ears to wise counsel.
3. When we are broken and humble before God it makes us more sensitive to others and their needs. We have compassion and understanding towards others and what they are going through. If you lack compassion, chances are you are prideful.
4. God can use broken things more than He can use rigid things.
Brokenness and pride cannot coexist. God cannot use a person who is not broken and completely surrendered to Him. We need to be pliable in God’s hands. Remember His is the Potter and we are the clay.
“A lack of brokenness causes a person who is used by God to become proud and arrogant. However, when one is broken, their heart resists pride. Therefore, they can be used to a greater degree.”
Pastor Cho, Seoul Korea
Broken things God used: (“Broken to be used!”)
1. Jesus was broken, yielding to His heavenly Father’s wishes instead of His own. (Luke 22:42) He allowed His precious body to be broken for all of us.
2. Jesus took the five loaves of bread and broke them to feed the huge crowd (Mark 8:1 – 10)
3. The sinful woman brought the costly perfumed oil and broke it and poured it on Christ’s feet. It meant nothing until she broke it open and poured it out for her Savior (Matthew 26:7, Mark 14:3, and Luke 7:37).
God uses broken things. Brokenness causes repentance and desperation for Him. There has to be a deep brokenness in us to experience all that God has for us. Broken vessels for God’s glory. Relying upon His sufficiency not ours. This moves the heart of God!
At my point of brokenness, all I could do was cry. When people would come and talk to me about my past, I was tearfully broken. I couldn’t stop the tears.
Sometimes brokenness is all we have to offer people. This is a good place to be. God can take our brokenness—our nothing, and multiply it into something. God is working on our behalf. We can trust Him in the middle of our brokenness.
Where are you today? Where is your heart? Do you have pride or arrogance built up in your heart? Have you tried to fix things on your own? Have you given your control back to God?
God never allows brokenness to come without making you whole again. You will see how much God loves you, and to what extent He will go too bring total and complete healing into your life from any circumstance you’ve experienced in the past, or what you may be going through right now. Trust God to bring healing and wholeness to your life. He never leaves you incomplete. Unlike human nature, God’s nature is to fix us. First He usually brings us to a place where we see our humanity and then, once we discover humility, God starts the healing process in us in such a way we are totally and completely healed of any pride. Then, somehow, someway God makes beauty from ashes, especially the ashes that were started by our own match we lit.
You will be triumphant as you walk humbly with God and others. God is good all the time, even when He brings correction into our lives. Yield to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. You will be forever changed for God’s glory. It’s a safe place to be in the Potter’s hands.
Pastor Kris Belfils