November 11, 2012

Brokenness before wholeness

Few people want to be called a crackpot, or even a cracked pot, but that is something like a major aspect of spiritual growth.

I started my walk with Christ in great confidence. Now that God was on my side, I felt as if I could do anything. Besides, I was in love with Jesus Christ and most of us know the attitude that accompanies being in love. We are optimistic to a fault and failure never crosses our minds!

However, I had to learn a few things. One of them was that I cannot live this new life in my own strength and confidence. God had to break that pride and change my thinking.

And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. (Jeremiah 18:4)

Brokenness does not happen to all Christians. At least it seems like some of us are more stubborn than others. I feel as if I’m one of the stubborn ones. I know what God wants, but deeply resist it.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)

How does God “spoil” a vessel that He is forming? The process is painful, even embarrassing. For instance, He may throw difficult circumstances at me. Once I saw a potter stand several feet from the pot on her wheel. She picked up lumps from the floor and hurled them at the pot, reshaping it to suit her. God can do that too.

Sometimes failure does it. When I try in my own strength to do the will of God, He does not allow continued success. After a time, I begin to get the message, that I’m trusting myself and not Him. This is also humbling.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5–6)

Another way God brings brokenness is through great disappointment. He knows how to make me understand that I cannot have my own way or control my own destiny. I’m His child, not His spoiled brat. Even when I want what He wants, I cannot by my own will make it happen. In helplessness and sorrow, I must acknowledge that He is Lord and I am not. In true brokenness, this is not mere words, but a deep change in the way I think.

As a cracked pot, I’m certain that God is not finished with me. However, as long as I am spinning on His wheel and being reworked by His hand, I am increasing in confidence, not in myself but in the fact that He is the Master Potter, and He knows what He is doing.

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