Christ Your Broken Life"
There is an old saying that I have always
liked, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Many times we have set out to
make something that is working, work a little better, only to end up breaking
it where it won't work at all. This is where the saying, "If it ain't broke,
don't fix it" originated. We may spend our lives trying to fix what is
not broken. We must remember "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Yet, when our lives are broken, they need
fixing. Too often, when something is broken, we spend all our time trying
to figure out why it is broken. We have a natural curiosity to know the
"Why?" behind what is happening to us. We ask questions like, "If God is
an all good God, why is our world broken?" The most difficult thing to
understand in life is why pain, problems and suffering are a part of it.
If we are not careful, contemplating "Why?", will leave us bitter and cynical.
Spending all our time philosophizing about why our world is broken does
little to mend our broken lives. Job's friends came to him and began contemplating
the reason for Job's suffering, but that only made his difficulties more
agonizing. Job's wife was agonizing as she exclaimed, "Curse God and die!"
When God finally spoke to Job, he revealed that Job didn't need to know
the "Why." Even if God were to explain the "Why", Job couldn't have understood
There is a song titled "Bring Christ Your
"Bring Christ your broken life, So marred
He will create anew, Make whole again;
Your empty, wasted years, He will restore,
And your iniquities Remember no more."
Bring Christ Your Broken Life"
The beauty of the Bible is seen in God's overwhelming
joy in salvaging our broken lives. Ultimately sin is to blame for all life's
brokenness. The beauty of the Bible is that God teaches us how to get on
with a broken life. God teaches us how to turn our defeat into victory
through divine healing. The greatest demonstration of God's power throughout
the Scriptures is how God salvages broken helpless lives. God's power for
healing is unbelievable and this is the reoccurring story throughout redemption
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would
bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of
God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and
saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles, but
the LORD delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones, not one of them
will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will
be condemned. The LORD redeems his servants; no one will be condemned who
takes refuge in him. (NIV)
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their
wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Our greatest need is to realize our need of
God's healing. Jesus came to heal our broken lives.
Jesus said, "The Spirit of the Lord is on
me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has
sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for
the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's
favor." (Luke 4:18-19 NIV)
When life isn't working, we try to fix it,
we try to "fake it till we make it", or we dwell on why it is broken. In
John chapter 9, we find a man born blind. The religious folks were contemplating
why he was born blind. Was it his sins or his parents sins that caused
him to be born blind? Jesus answered, "Neither this man nor his parents
sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be
displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him
who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world,
I am the light of the world." (John 9:3-5 NIV)
It is never too late to find God's healing
for our brokenness. God desperately wants to work his work in each
of our lives even if we believe it is too late. Samson found healing at
the end of a wasted life. Manasseh found healing after filling Jerusalem
with innocent blood in rebellion to God's ordinances. (2 Chronicles 33:9-16)
A thief found healing as he was dying on a cross with Jesus Christ.
What Causes A Broken Life?
Brokenness occurs when we try to live life
on our terms and come up empty. The Bible is full of examples of broken
lives. They are broken because they tried to follow God while they lived
their lives according to their own plans.
Abraham was called by God, yet, he tried to
live life on his own terms for the next forty years. He had his own survival
plan all worked out. Notice what Abraham told Abimelech after lying about
Sarah being his sister.
And Abimelech asked Abraham, "What was your
reason for doing this?" Abraham replied, "I said to myself, 'There is surely
no fear of God in this place, and they will kill me because of my wife.'
Besides, she really is my sister, the daughter of my father though not
of my mother; and she became my wife. And when God had me wander
from my father's household, I said to her, 'This is how you can show your
love to me: Everywhere we go, say of me, "He is my brother." '"
Abraham came up short numerous times. He tried
to fix life's problems without God's help. During all his wandering, he
was trusting in his own plan for safety. He lied about Sarah being his
wife on at least two occasions. He had a child by his wife's servant. God
finally gave Abraham a son and then asked him to sacrifice. It was at this
point in Abraham's journey with God that Abraham finally said, "The Lord
will provide." But Abraham didn't learn to trust God until he was completely
broken by his self-willed life. After God substituted the lamb for the
sacrifice of Abraham's son, Abraham called God "Jehovah-jireh", in Hebrew
this means God will provide. But Abraham couldn't see this until all of
his own plans were shattered.
Shattered dreams and broken lives empower
us to see what is wrong with our lives as we gain new insight into ourselves.
It is when our plans fail and our dreams are shattered that we begin to
see what is not right with our lives. It is then, we are convicted of our
own sinful stubborn self-willed lives. It is then, we realize our insensitivity
Jacob knew God's plan to fulfill God's promise
to Abraham's descendants through his descendants. He knew he was the one
God had chosen to keep the dream alive. He was constantly reminded of this
by his mother. So Jacob set out to make it happen. To make it happen, he
cheated his twin brother Esau out of his birthright . He ended up fleeing
for his life with nothing but the clothes on his back and a stone for a
It was in his brokenness that God appeared
to him and reaffirmed the promise to Abraham to him.
Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran.
When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun
had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay
down to sleep. He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the
earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending
and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am
the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give
you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants
will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west
and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will
be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch
over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will
not leave you until I have done what I have promised you." When Jacob awoke
from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was
not aware of it." He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This
is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven." Early
the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and
set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place
Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. Then Jacob made a vow, saying,
"If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking
and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely
to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that
I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give
me I will give you a tenth." (NIV)
Even though the covenant is made, Jacob spent
over twenty years living life according to his own plans. He spent over
twenty years of his life cheating and being cheated. Again he was forced
to flee for his life, only to find himself coming face to face with the
problems he had fled over twenty years prior. Finally, he had to face his
brother whom he had cheated out of his birthright.
It was there at Peniel that Jacob had his
last wrestling match with God and won. It was there at the end of the road
that Jacob realized that all his plans were hopeless without the blessings
of God. He refused to relinquish his grip on God until God blessed him.
It was there that he finally understood his need of God's help and blessing.
Attitude is Important
As we deal with our brokenness, attitude is
all important. Self-esteem is an attitude toward self. Love is our attitude
toward others. Faith is your attitude toward God. Hope is your attitude
toward the future. Forgiveness is your attitude toward the past. Everything
revolves around attitude.
Attitude is our most valuable asset when our
dreams are shattered and lives are broken. Attitude determines whether
we become bitter or better. If we rebel against life's problems we end
up cynically bitter and brittle. If we fail to respond properly in times
of brokenness our emotional wounds will fester and the hurt will multiply.
If we repress the pain it will resurface through anger, guilt or misbehavior.
The wonderful thing about all this is that
attitude is a choice made by each of us. We have the God-given ability
to choose our response. We have the ability to make a choice for the greatest
outcome. It is the attitude we choose toward life and in times of shattered
dreams that create our greatest possibilities.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever
you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your
faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that
you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks
wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding
fault, and it will be given to him. (NIV)
Adversity test our attitudes toward life and
God. If we choose anger and avoid personal responsibility our wounds will
not heal. We may lick our wounds and hide them from others, but our wounds
will not heal until we make the proper spiritual response to God.
The most difficult thing to understand is
why pain, problems and suffering are a part of life. If we are not careful,
life's pain and suffering will make us bitter. Whatever the reason for
pain and suffering, remember that God can use it for our greatest good.
This is the major way God demonstrates his ultimate power over sin. He
can use it to our good and his glory. But our attitudes must remain flexible
enough to receive God's will.
Most personal growth takes place in times
of affliction. Some lessons can only be learned by loss. During adverse
times our difficulties introduce us to ourselves. Adversity provides the
pop quizzes of life to show what we are made of. A proper attitude will
allow God to enter our shattered world to begin the process rebuilding
and restoring our lives.
Recognizing Our Brokenness
Confession is an important part of recognizing
our brokenness. On Pentecost the Jews "were cut to the heart" as
they recognized their brokenness. They cried out, "what shall we do." They
recognized their brokenness and claimed responsibility.
Failing to claim responsibility for our broken
lives only brings misery. We may want to excuse our responsibility by saying,
"I haven't done any worse than anyone else." We tend to excuse ourselves
because everyone else is doing it; we rationalize about our sin. But until
we recognize our sin as part of the dilemma, our misery will continue.
Sometimes we make apologies sound like justification
rather than confession. We may say, "That person brings out the worst in
me!" But if the worst wasn't in me, no one could bring it out.
As long as we blame others we remain the same.
Adam said, "The woman you put here with me-- she gave me some fruit from
the tree, and I ate it." (Genesis 3:12 NIV) Blame focuses my problem on
someone else and refuses to look at myself. We say, "After all that is
the way God made me."
Confession halts denial. Until
we claim responsibility for our broken world, we will never gain the insight
needed for beginning a new life. When we claim responsibility through confession
we gain insight to what we have done wrong and are able to make proper
adjustment for a better life according to God's direction. "No broken world
ever begins to be rebuilt until this moment of insight is initiated. And
the longer it takes to reach that moment, the more difficult it will be
to rebuild a broken world and minimize the consequences." 1
Isaiah discovered a new life through his brokenness
as he cried out "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean
lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen
the King, the LORD Almighty." Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a
live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With
it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your
guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for." Then I heard the voice of
the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said,
"Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:5-8 NIV)
Confession is of little value without
repentance. In our modern world we can confess our sin, recognize
our responsibility and still not repent. Confession brings
us to admitting the sin and calling it what it is, but it is repentance
that determines that I am not going to continue to make the same mistakes.
Repentance is the distinctive quality that determines I don't want to be
a repeat offender. Repentance is where we turn our lives around. "The freest
person in the world is one with an open heart, a broken spirit, and a new
direction in which to travel." 2 It is repentance that gives us a new direction
Rather than repent, we often just fill our
lives with hectic activity as we leave our lives empty of God. We deceive
ourselves into believing that busyness is the same thing as repentance.
But our busyness prevents us from slowing down and reflecting properly
on what is wrong. Instead of spinning our wheels faster, we must stop and
see if something else needs to be done.
Often when life is broken, we just work harder
on our own to try to fix it. You may see the difficulty, feel the pain
and sense the need to reevaluate things, but instead you choose to just
try harder the next time around. The difficulty with this type of thinking
is that we will just keep going around, around and around because we are
unwilling to face our difficulties and respond to them correctly. Until
we respond correctly we cannot confess or repent.
We want to fix life own our own terms. We
are like Abraham and Jacob, we try working longer, harder, better and try
to be more ingenious so we can fix our problems ourselves. We want to maintain
control of our own lives. We want to be god of our own lives.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it, . . .
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;
For as He gives His beloved sleep.
When troubles come and go, and then come full
circle to slap us in the face again and again, it is usually because we
have failed to learn what we needed to learn to take life to the next level.
We have tried to manhandle our lives.
There is a particular monkey that is trapped
by drilling a hole in a gourd. The hole is made just big enough for the
monkey to get his hand through. Then fruits and goodies are placed inside
the gourd. The monkey reaches her hand inside and grabs a handful of goodies,
but she cannot withdraw her hand with a handful of goodies. Rather than
releasing her grip on the goodies, she chooses to be caught.
Many of us react to life in the same manner.
We hold onto our old lifestyles and find it impossible to have a new lease
1. Gordon McDonald, Rebuilding Your Broken
World, (Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 64.)
2. Ibid. pg 153
3. Allan Nelson book, Broken In The Right
Place, is an excellent book on brokeness. The concepts in this sermon
were gleaned from his book.
4. Allan Nelson, Broken In The Right Place,
(Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, 1994.)