From Brokenness to Surrender

We all have a story to tell of our life experiences. Each one of us encounters failed plans, broken dreams, misery, and even tragedy. These are the “trails of life” that scripture refers too. During such hardship we may break down. We can become broken by circumstances, by poor relationships, by physical trials, and even by the consequences of our own actions. There are many hurting people. Hurtful words and actions have lasting effect on our lives. It has been said, “Be careful with your words. Once they are said, they can only be forgiven not forgotten.”

“Words scar more than you think.” “The tongue has no bones but is strong enough to break a heart.”
When we find ourselves hurting and broken, we often find ourselves asking, “What to do” when facing the pressures and rejections of life? The truth answer is much different than what we might have imaged.

Victory is found as we move from brokenness to surrender. Life As God Intended begins with God who is Life. He is more than the answer to life’s problems, He is Life. As Job declared, “The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life” (Job 33:4). God never intended us to look for answers in ourselves or in others, because answers are not needed when God’s Life is being experienced. Gaining more knowledge, strength, strategy, or skill will not meet our needs or cause us to be content during the “ups and downs” and bumps in the road on the journey of life. It is only when we abandon humanistic reasoning and learn to rely on God totally and completely that we discover God’s purpose and experience God’s Grace for the journey. As we surrender ourselves in brokenness, we discover God. Getting to the point of surrender is often by traveling a road of pain and suffering.

In this world, broken things are despised and thrown away. When something is broken or damage, we no longer have any use for it, (and this includes relationships with people). In marriage, when relationships break down, the tendency is to walk away and find someone new rather than work at reconciliation.

The main reason brokenness is the road to surrender, is because that is where we find ourselves. Brokenness is needed for us to discover our inadequacy to live independent of God. It is due in part to the fact that we cling tenaciously to the flesh patterns of sin to live our lives independently. However, before we can live, we must die. Die to pride and all that is foreign to who God has designed us to be. Therefore, helping someone to “perform better” or helping them to accomplish their selfish goals – is foolish. To instruct a person to grow whose basic problem is selfishness is not only unhelpful but would seem to be immoral.

Helping someone to “feel better” who is suffering and hurting due to selfish choices is not an expression of love but rather it is enabling them in a codependent relationship. To do so is to encourage and strengthen their narcissistic tendencies. Behavioral modification is not God’s solution. Surrender is God’s way not improving a broken situation.

This is truly a paradox. It would seem that what a broken person needs are relief, a solution or what the world would call coping mechanisms to deal with hurt and pain. Surrender would seem to be admission of defeat, to give up. Surrender speaks of God’s solution.

It is the strange paradox of the Gospel. “God’s ways are not our ways says the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). “We live by dying” (Romans 14:8). “We win by losing” (Matt. 16:24-26). “We are saved by dying” (1 Corinthians 1:18). “We overcome by surrendering” (James 4:10). “We come in first when we are last” (Matt. 19:30). “God confounds all the calculations of human wisdom and knowledge” (Matt. 11:25). His ways are just the opposite of what we thought. “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong” (1 Cor. 1:27).
Paul proclaimed, “Yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things, and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him” (1 Cor. 8:6). This is just the opposite of man’s solution to the problem. Man’s main problem is control. We have not learned how to function as God designed.

Human beings are derivative creatures who derive their nature and character from the spirit of Satan or the Spirit of God, and thus, are under the domain and authoritative control of one or the other. Adam and Eve’s choice of sin put them under the control of “the spirit that works in the sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2) as “slaves of sin” (Rom. 6:20). Paul explained that he was sent to “turn (convert) Gentiles from the dominion (control) of Satan to the dominion (control) of God” (Acts 26:18).

Paul later explained to the Colossians that “He (God) rescued us from the domain (control) of darkness (Satan) and transferred us to the kingdom (control) of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13). The basic problem Christians have is giving up control. They may hold on to their natural self-oriented patterns of the “flesh” (Gal. 5:19), many people are paralyzed by their fear of inadequacy and insecurity, their fear of not being in control of the circumstances of life and their fear of not being able to solve their problems. Control issues deeply effect relationships, due to the perceived need to control. These “control freaks” may play “lord-of-the-ring.” Seeking to be in control of the situations of life will not contribute to a God-honoring solution.

Brokenness is necessary – In order for us to willingly give up control and allow God to do what only He can do— “Be God.” God takes advantage of the hopeless environment that we find ourselves, often desperately broken. Brokenness occurs when we no longer place our confidence in the flesh as a way of functioning. Fleshly self-confidence is understood to be useless. As a result, we will live from an attitude, which says in effect, “Lord, I cannot do it, but you can. You can do with me, and to me, anything you believe best.” The process of brokenness is a painful one, but necessary in our lives, if we want to experience the resurrected life of Jesus and enjoy an intimate relationship with Him. The pain produced by the process of brokenness can come in many forms, such as: a difficult spouse, child, or relative, an illness, divorce, death, job loss, financial problems, church persecution, rejection from friends, or any other painful circumstance.

God uses it all and even may coordinate circumstances for His purpose and our wellbeing. Brokenness may not feel like it is for your wellbeing, but it is. God uses your flesh, the flesh of others, and the world system, and, yes, even the Evil One to workout God’s purpose for our lives. Sadly, most of our time and energy is spent on blaming ourselves, others, or the devil and we forget to ask, “God, what are you “up to” during my pain and difficulty?” If God loves us, and is sovereignly in control of our lives, then He is also in control of every difficulty, painful circumstance, and trial in our lives.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Philippians 2:13 “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
Philippians 1:29 “For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”

Brokenness benefits me in at least three specific ways:

1. Brokenness teaches us total dependence on the Father Jesus lived His life on earth functioning as a man not functioning as God. He was still fully God, but He gave up His authority and divine prerogative to function as God, subject to all the things that man is subject to, and functioned purely as man, although without sin. When He calmed the seas, raised the dead, healed the infirmed, spoke and taught the truth, He did so by His Father working through Him. Most Christians relate to the things Jesus did under the assumption that He was “better” equipped because, after all, He was God. Not so. We are just as “equipped,” as Jesus was to live the life God has given us.

John 5:19 “Jesus therefore answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son does in like manner.”
John 7:16 “Jesus therefore answered them, and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me.”
John 12:49-50 “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me commandment, what to say, and what to speak, and I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore, the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told me.”

John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from me you can do nothing.”

2. Brokenness allows us to experience “Oneness” with Him. “Oneness” indicates union. Ontological Christian union describes our union in Christ. The word “ontological” refers to being or essence. The Christian derives his identity “out of” God’s character and being.

The very Being of God by the presence of the Spirit of the Living Lord Jesus must be present and functioning in the receptive Christian in order to have Christian life.

John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.”
John 17:20-23 ““I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.”
Because the Christian is in union in Christ, the adversities of the trails of life press us into the arms of Jesus. We derive our strength, our identity “out of” God’s character and being. When the pain becomes more than we can bear, His Life is there to “bear it” and to “bear us” through the painful journey.

3. Brokenness conforms us to the image of Christ. Our spirit has already been made in the likeness of Jesus; that is our identity, who we are now, but our soul is another story. Our will needs to be dealt with that we might “choose” to depend on Christ moment by moment. We previously made volitional choices to obey sin and brokenness will free us from our selfish dependence that we would rely more fully on Christ.

Phil. 3:8-10 “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I might know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.”

Brokenness keeps us dependent on the Lord, clinging to Him and resting upon His Life, where we become conformed to His image experiencing an intimacy with Him, a “oneness,” that is born out of a deep, heartfelt need.

The things that must be broken are:
– Our ways of trying to avoid the very things we fear most.
– Our ways of trying to get what we need and want.
– Our love affair with these familiar beliefs, laws, ways that are most precious to us.
– Our desire to control our lives and the lives of others.

Surrender – is an attitude of the heart that is the result of having settled the issue, once and for all, of whom is best suited, God or me, to plan, provide for and “live” the Life I’ve been given. Surrender implies that we are not in control of our life – no self-sufficiency. It only occurs in a life of love and faith, wherein we trust that the Other will love us no matter what, and trust that such love will seek our highest good and do us no harm. In total openness and transparency, we surrender and relinquish control with no thought of self-protection or reservation, indicating “You can do anything you want with me or to me – anything!”

To setter this issue, two things must occur:

1. We must come to the end of ourselves and recognize “the futility of my flesh” (our inability to meet our needs our way, using our own resources.)

2. We must believe in the SOVEREIGN GOODNESS of God and be willing to trust Him in all things.

It will be impossible for us to choose to walk in faith (depending, trusting and resting) and experience the abundant Christian life, which is Jesus Himself, unless these two issues are settled in our minds—this must become our personal conviction. This is the result of the brokenness process, where our confidence has shifted from ourselves to Jesus.

The result of brokenness will be:
1. Our willingness to relinquish our “rights”
2. Our choosing to walk by faith.
3. Our recognition of our weakness and His strength.

John 3:30, “He must increase but I must decrease.”
What are “rights?” These are things that I demand from God and others: “Things must be a certain way” (I need to be healthy, happy, have a certain job, money or career, be married, get divorced, have children, etc.) “People must be a certain way” (I need to be loved and respected by my spouse, child, friends, have my employer acknowledge my accomplishments and receive credit that is due me, have my parents treat me with love and respect, or in-laws, etc.) “I must be a certain way” (I need to do the right things, I cannot fail, I need to be a perfect parent, daughter/son, friend, spouse, be successful, etc.) “…to be okay.”

We live in a world that reinforces wrong beliefs and attitudes that are antithetical to what the Bible teaches, such as: “I deserve to be loved and respected by_.” “I refuse to be a ‘doormat’ for___.” “I need to take care of number one!” “I need,” “I need,” “I need!” Yes, we do need, God created us dependent. However, He never intended for us to meet those needs through sinful or selfish means. Only God can successfully and perfectly, meet our needs. In order for us to receive from God, we must allow Him to give of Himself and meet our needs, we must release our rights. This is how we can participate with God, and what He is doing, this is God’s way that we might “live out” of His Life and shut the door to our flesh.

Whenever we find ourselves struggling, it may be because we are demanding a “right” of some kind. God has given us emotions that will register negative feelings. Understanding our God given emotions. They can be helpful warning signs that we are being tempted to revert to the flesh to get our needs met apart from God.

For illustration’s sake, let us refer to these emotions as “flashing red lights.” These emotional “flashing red lights” are indicating to us that we need to stop, look and listen! The “red lights” are pointing us to a “right” that we need to surrender. This is why it’s really important that we not ignore our feelings by stuffing or suppressing them. While we never look to our feelings to control what we do, our feelings are very good indicators for getting our attention back on the truth. These “red lights” are similar to the indicators and gauges on the dashboard of a car—they get your attention!

By releasing “rights,” we are transferring the deed of ownership to the True Owner. “Whatever we own, soon owns us.” This is the principle of ownership. Who is the rightful owner of your life? Whose life are you now living? Is not the Christian life – The Christ-Life? So, do you have any rights to claim? Did Jesus demand “rights?” Did He demand to be loved and respected? Did He put Himself first? Jesus humbled himself even to the point of death.

In Philippians 2:5-8 Paul writes, “Have this attitude in yourselves, which was also in Christ Jesus, who although He existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

God created man with the ability to choose. “Free choice” presents a person with the ultimate choice of either the illusion of living in INDEPENDENCE separated from God or the reality of TOTAL DEPENDENCE on God. Our choice of independence is tied to “our rights” as we perceive them. These “rights,” are core beliefs or lies, which must be replaced with the truth through surrender. Sin says, “I have a right toand I must defend this right!” The spirit says, “I give up my right to and I am willing to risk feeling/experiencing___so that Christ’s life may be manifested in me.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-11).

Releasing rights, moment by moment, is how we practice surrender. “We can do all things through Christ” (Phil. 4:13) as we “walk by faith” (2 Cor. 5:7) trusting Him to be our Source and Provision to provide whatever we might need in the moment. Living from an attitude of surrender allows us to rest knowing that God is using every circumstance and every relationship we encounter to “conform us to the image of His Son” (Rom. 8:29) and to advance His purposes far beyond our own. The result is “inner peace” (Phil. 4:6-7).

Living from an attitude of surrender also allows us to enjoy a new and higher approach to life from an Eternal viewpoint, which will bring our experience of life into harmony with the reality of our union in Christ (Colossians 3:1-3). This is victory! This is Life As God Intended.

This is truly liberating. As we experience more and more of the inner peace and true joy that comes from living in an attitude of surrender, we will begin to know and experience the love of God as never before. This is God’s greatest desire for us— that we would be able to live in “relational intimacy” with Him, moment by moment, experiencing and living in His fullness. Our surrender opens the door to this new way of Life in Him!

This was Paul’s prayer for us in Ephesians 3:16-19 “…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all fullness of God.”

It is only appropriate to conclude this discussion on surrender with a prayer of surrender. Would you join me in praying the following prayer with me?

Lord Jesus, I give You permission to use my life and to work in me and through me in any way You choose. I confess to You that I once claimed a whole host of “fleshly rights” as mine and I now ask You to cleanse my heart from the lie that these are “my rights.” I claim the finished work of Christ on the cross in each of these areas. I belong to You, and I am under Your control. You can do with me anything You please. In faith, in the name and authority of the Lord Jesus Christ, I recognize that this is a covenant with You. Now that I have surrendered ownership of my life to You, You will never give it back to me. “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Living the Victorious Life

Living the Victorious Life

Living the Victorious Life

Living the Victorious Life

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