|Posted on March 21, 2012 at 2:25 AM|
Brokenness vs. Woundedness
Has God repeatedly tried to get your attention about something that he wants to teach you? In the last three weeks I have been repeatedly challenged to face the value God places on brokenness. Here are the ways he has spoken to me about it: through Watchman Nee’s book The Release of the Spirit, through a seminar in Thunder Bay on Spiritual Fatherhood, through God speaking to me in a picture, through a conversation with a friend, and through Promise Keepers this last weekend. (I wonder if God gets tired of clicking the “Send” button on the same email to me over and over and over… Thankfully he is a God of grace.)All that to say that he has my attention.
In today’s society, humility is generally interpreted as weakness. Anything that attacks the image of strength and self-sufficiency is rejected. The ideal woman is strong, lean, and competent. The ideal man is even stronger, self reliant, and fast with a gun (if you watch any action movies). In contrast to this unrealistic standard we are confronted with the ideal to which God calls us. God places a high value on brokenness.
He calls us to it, leads us through it, and brings glory to himself and ourselves by it. Paul seems quite proud of his low times; he points to them as proof that he is God’s worker. And he says that the very fractures God allowed into his life are the cracks through which God’s glory shines most clearly. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9b. At Promise Keepers one of the speakers said, “God takes strong men, he weakens them, he heals them, and then he uses them.”
Today’s society calls us either to self-sufficiency or to woundedness. The message is that we deserve a pain free life. To achieve that state, we’ll fixate on the pain of our wounds until all the pain is gone. (How are we supposed to be pain free when all we do is live in our pain?) Woundedness is a life of emotional illness. Woundedness is self focus: “What about me and my pain?” An emphasis on woundedness never heals the wound.
Brokenness vs. Woundedness
Healed Wounds Open Wounds
Victory Acting out of Pain
God Focus Self-Focus
from Spiritual Fathers by Dan Schaffer
Brokenness is not the end. It is part of the pathway en route to a specific goal. Watchman Nee says in The Release of the Spirit that the Holy Spirit is released through our spirits when our outer man is broken. “Outer man” refers to our soul and body together. He declares that “Everyone who has received grace has the Holy Spirit dwelling in his spirit. Whether he can be used by the Lord depends not on his spirit, but rather on his outward man. The difficulty with many is that their outward man has not been broken.”
We enter into great error when we focus on the breaking process more than God does. Father always has a specific goal in mind when breakage is occurring: the replication of his Son, Jesus Christ. His goal is to see Christ formed in us and shining through us. The breaking isn’t the goal. Jesus is the goal.
Therefore, it is necessary to look for God’s hand in every experience. We have a deep belief that anything bad in our lives is to be rejected and defeated. What if that bad thing is the very tool of God’s hand to produce brokenness? Shall we reject it? We do expect God to remove sickness, pain, sad hearts, conflict and depression from our lives. But it is too easy to focus on the bad thing and completely neglect God!
The primary difference between brokenness and woundedness is where we are looking. In woundedness, we are looking at our sorry selves. In brokenness, we are trusting God to produce something good out of the bad.
In the midst of pain, where are you looking?
Still learning… Pastor Keith
Categories: Following Jesus