Broken and Spilled Out
A thing which is broken; shattered, twisted, batteries dead, springs sprung — no longer wanted, useless. A person who is broken; shattered, twisted, scarred; broken trusts, broken dreams, hope gone, victimized and deeply, deeply bruised. No one wants to be “broken”.
And yet, if one carefully reads the Scriptures he will see that brokenness is precisely what the Lord is seeking of us. Or, as Watchman Nee writes in Release of the Spirit, “there is just one basic dealing which can enable man to be useful before God: brokenness.”
Jesus said in Matthew 16, “If any man will come after me, let him first deny himself and daily take up his cross and follow me.” Only now do I begin to feel the weight of His words, “for whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but the one who will lose his life for my sake, will find it.” Jesus promised that I could have life, and “that MORE ABUNDANTLY.”
The dilemma is this: It is only as I die to myself that I can apprehend that more abundant life. Jesus didn’t come to save me, but to kill me, and then raise me up. He puts it this way: “Except a grain of wheat fall to the ground and die it abides alone, but if it dies it will bear much fruit.”
Jesus didn’t come to save me, He came to kill me, and then raise me up.
After David was confronted with his great sin by the prophet Nathan regarding his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, he fell on his face before the Lord, broken under a great weight of guilt and remorse. He cried out to God, “You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; nor are You pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise” (Ps 51:16-17).
On another occasion David declares: “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Ps 34:18) In Matthew 5:3, Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” – the “poor in spirit” are those who are spiritually broken.
We resist brokenness. I don’t want to be broken. You don’t want to be broken. We feel pity for those we see as broken. We set up programs to “heal” the broken – little realizing that our brokenness presses us against the thinnest of membranes separating us from life in the flesh and living in the spirit.
It’s really alright to be broken. God’s Word says that He is very near the brokenhearted, and He saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18) If you will allow Him, Jesus will pick up the pieces of your broken life; the shattered dreams, the violations, the wounds and scars of abuses, the broken trusts, the abandonment and rejection, no matter how horrible or ugly; and create in you a sweet aroma of healing and restoration for countless lives. If you continue to hate the brokenness it will become a foul smelling stench that pushes everyone away from you.
If you continue to hate the brokenness it will become a foul smelling stench that pushes everyone away from you.
While Jesus was visiting friends a woman of questionable character entered the house where Jesus sat carrying a flask filled with a very rare and precious ointment. She broke the jar and with it she anointed the feet of Jesus, and as she wept before Him she dried his feet with her hair. (Matthew 26). In this extraordinary act of humility and devotion this woman demonstrates a valuable truth: The outward man must be broken in order to release our inward, or spiritual man. I am challenged again by the words of Nee:
“The Bible tells of the pure spikenard. God purposely used this term “pure” in His Word to show that it is truly spiritual. But if the alabaster box is not broken, the pure spikenard will not flow forth. Strange to say, many are still treasuring the alabaster box, thinking that its value exceeds that of the ointment. Many think that their outward man is more precious than their inward man. This becomes the problem in the Church. One will treasure his cleverness, thinking he is quite important; another will treasure his own emotions, esteeming himself as an important person ; others highly regard themselves, feeling they are better than others, their eloquence surpasses that of others, their quickness of action and exactness of judgment are superior, and so forth. However, we are not antique collectors; we are not vase admirers; we are those who desire to smell only the fragrance of the ointment. Without the breaking of the outward, the inward will not come forth. Thus individually we have no flowing out, but even the Church does not have a living way. Why then should we hold ourselves as so precious, if our outward contains instead of releases the fragrance?” (Watchman Nee, Release of the Spirit)
Oh, I am so guilty of treasuring the alabaster box, but the treasure held in my earthen vessel is contained and not released. Men may see me, admire me, envy me, follow me; but I am hiding Christ and He is not seen, because of me, because I remain unbroken. We talk a lot about the cross in the church. It is such a familiar symbol to us that we lose its meaning. But what is the cross really?
It is the cross that crushes our alabaster.
The cross is an instrument of death; death to the outward man so that the inward man, the aroma of Christ can be released. The cross kills the outward man and all that belongs to him—our opinions, our ways, our cleverness, our self-love, our all.
“When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Simply put, brokenness is giving up on yourself, dying to yourself. It is understanding that without Him you are spiritually bankrupt. Surrender and brokenness go hand-in-hand – spiritual brokenness is surrendering your will to God. Spiritual brokenness is knowing that, without God, you are, and can do, nothing. It is a total, desperate dependence on Him in every aspect of life. It is a cry from the depths of your soul that shouts: “God, I need You! I want You! I can’t live without You! You are everything to me!”
It is the cry of my heart
Broken and spilled out
Just for love of you Jesus
My most precious treasure
Lavished on Thee
Broken and spilled out
And poured at Your feet
In sweet abandon
Let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee