Jul 2, 2005

The Difference Between Being Broken and Being Useless

My heart tonight is heavy. I have been looking around to see if it is just my perception or if it is almost too late.

Christianity has become so commercial. What used to pass for holiness, is now considered passe', and what some used to recognize as sin, is now looked at with an unoffensive eye. Those who at one time were the holy rollers, and the mighty workers for God, have somehow lost sight of what is important. Even our preachers, like the word says, are preaching, or doing, listening, carefully manuevering through the tithe-payers, rather than doing "thus saith the Lord."

I have pondered the meaning of the scripture, "I looked for a man to stand in the gap, and found none." I do not believe that everyone has lost their fire or their zeal for God. I believe some have hidden their talent and their anointing, rather than face the ridicule of others. And I believe still others have had their talents buried for them, because they don't fit with what is popular.

Preachers! Wake Up! "Watchmen, what of the night?" "What meaneth the bleating of the sheep?" The difference between being broken and being useless needs to be addressed.

In many churches, gone are the days of intercession, of all night prayer meetings, of fasting til we see results. Instead they have been replaced with programs, singing groups, special events, and other activities to "reach them where they are at." Where are the hungry souls? They still exist! Brokeness is an act of contrition, of deepening one's walk with God to the point where, no matter what happens, "I must touch Jesus!" Somehow I must get across to him the needs of those around me. I cannot be who I am called to be, without first being broken. I have to get rid of the parts of my life that are a hinderance, and a stumbling block. I have to commune with God and learn from him.

The boy David, knew how to talk to God. He knew how to be a help to those around him. He also knew how to fight the battles alone. He didn't have help when he slew the lion or bear, save God. He wasn't even backed up by the army of "saints" when he slew Goliath. He went into battle alone, and without all the trappings of what others expected for him to be "right."

But he was more than just a warrior. He knew how to sing praises, and he knew how to get God's attention. A man after God's own heart. Sure he was human, and he made mistakes, but he knew it wasn't about him. To many people, the ones making the most noise, or being upfront in the action are the ones who make a difference, and the ones that are important. However, the bible doesn't see it that way. "He that is first shall be last, and he that is last shall be first." "Create in me a clean heart, and a right spirt." "They that hunger and thirst after righteousness, shall be filled." Many passages tell us exactly what to do, but there are also many that tell, that we have hardened our hearts and wont listen.

God cannot, and will not, use a vessel that is just for show. Sometimes we start off in the right attitude and with good intentions, but we get sidetracked by circumstance, or our own perceptions of what is good or not. Instead of really seeking God in prayer for direction, we try to make it happen, and we lose the humbleness of our hearts. My heart is so burdened tonight for someone, they have heard, and yet they remain unchanged. We have let our lives get derailed by a trial, or a test, or just because of our lack of committment. Hardened in our hearts and fill with our own imaginations and beliefs, we lose sight of what is really important.

Saul was such a person. Sure he was king, and he had been put in charge of God's people, but he let circumstance and others opinions cloud who he was meant to be. He failed because he listened to the wrong voice. He forgot to be humble, and use the gifts of God like he used to. Choirs have to be choreographed, the preacher has to preach so long, and we can't forget that special offering we were going to take for the new thing we need for that one deal. Sound familiar? We don't use those that don't fit the image of what we want to portray. If some slip by the wayside its ok, as long as we don't offend those who seem to be moldable. Rather shouldn't we be looking for the hunger more than the manner of personality? Are we jealous if God chooses to use someone else? Do we do everything we can to see that change doesn't occur?

That is the difference between being broken, and being useless. When our position, or our perception become more important, than our impact in changing lives to see God, reagardless of who we think they are, then we are useless in God's sight.

Saul was so afraid of the abilities that God had given David, that he refused to see him for what he was. Oh sure, when he needed something from David to appease his own ideas, he was friendly, and welcoming, but when it looked like David may get some attention, he had to stop it. He tried many times to kill David. I guess he felt that if David wasnt' there, he would still be in charge. However, God had already made his decision. Saul had lost his committment, and had become useless. He listened to what the people said. Eventually, he even consulted a witch.

There is a place and a committment to God that each of us must find, and no one can make it happen for us. No one else's prayers and good works can keep the backslider from going to hell. Sure, we can extend God's mercy, and pray he gives them time, but it is a one to one consecration, and humbleness of spirit that matters. Sometimes we get caught up in homiletics, and in choreography, or "tradition" that we leave God entirely out of the picture. It doesn't matter if we grew up in a "christian" home or the world. Our relationship with God is the only thing that matters.

Trials will come, and test will shake us to our very core, but they are not brought to weaken or destroy us, but rather to show us where we need work, or even as a reminder of how strong He really is, if we are leaning on him. We need sometimes instead of the jump and shout, to find a place of solitude and desperation in touching him. A hunger, and a reaching, that stirs and breaks us to our very soul. Yes, we can lean on him. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding, and he will direct thy path."

When the children of Israel went up to do battle against the Midianites, they were few in number, and God wouldn't even let them use a sword. A trumpet, a pitcher, and a lamp was their only weapons. And yet when that pitcher was broken, the light shown out to their brothers around the camp, but it also destroyed the will of the enemy, and fear came upon them and they fled or were killed by their own Midianite warriors. A broken vessel led the way to victory. Something we would think as not any good, and would throw out, God used for his glory.

Jesus was broken for us on the cross, and he was submissive to the pain and suffering, and ridicule, and he saved us. What would happen to us, if we allowed ourselves to be broken?

Are you willing to be broken? Or will you end up being thrown out, because you are no longer useful? Lord, let me be broken, for you!