Thursday 31 January 2013

Broken By HIM! by Rich Novek

A Blogpost from Rich in Christ

loaves and fishesContrary to what most believe, the loaves and fishes Jesus used in the feeding of the 5000 (which by the way DID NOT include the number of women and children, so the number was probably closer to 15,000) amounted to a kids lunch.  Meaning these “loaves and fishes” were more the size of sunfish and pieces of pita bread than tuna and loaves of French bread.
And here is what is so amazing, before the bread was fit to be distributed, it had to first be…Broken By HIM!
And He directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and BROKE THE LOAVES. Then He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. Matthew 14:13-21
There is a type of brokenness that isn’t really brokenness at all.  This brokenness is external and results in a deeper attitude of self for self-love, which includes a clinging to life and the things of life, as well as a fatalistic “what’s in it for me” attitude towards life.
And then there is HIS brokenness, which is an internal brokenness that leads to Life, that is, if we allow Him to have His way.  This REAL brokenness leads to only One thing, which is the end of a life focused on us and our own self-preservation.  This way that leads to Life becomes the doorway to a level of spiritual maturity where the “Other Love” of Christ IN and through us becomes all that matters…and our ONLY Life.
How do I know this?
Because for most of my own life I lived this exact way, believing I could never measure up to God.  Though I did believe God loved me, I didn’t think He really liked me.  So in my blindness to who he was I lived a self-centered life, always walking in the condemnation of my past or the fear of my future.  We know God is supposed to love us, but relationships can only be REAL and thrive when the people involved like each other.  God likes us…and we really are His friends.  And His friendship isn’t based on anything we do or don’t do FOR God.  He likes us for US!
And when the believer finally knows his loving Father and discovers the truth of who he is IN Him, it paves the way for a relationship “IN” Him that pushes everything else out from the center of life, to the place where God literally becomes his or her only Life.
This process of taking the everyday Christian from a self centered life of “Jesus for me” to the Real Life of “Jesus for others” also includes much brokenness.
The broken bread (Christ) distributed by Christ is a perfect symbolism of the brokenness within.  And it is also the only way, like the 5000, we will ever have the opportunity to experience Christ alone as our all sufficiency, and know and participate IN the REAL Life of Christ IN us and as us…for others.
And when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is my Body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” I Corinthians 11:24
But is His Body really broken today, or is His Body still living under the illusion that their life is their own to live the way they want to live?
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to HIS OWN WAY; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6
There is A WAY that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Proverbs 14:12
This way of man, which from all outward appearances seems completely innocent is the one thing that keeps believers feeding at the table which contains only the infantile things of God.  There is only One Way and it isn’t our way.  His Way is the only Way, Truth, and Life.  Every other way leads to one form or another of (spiritual) death.
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will IN ALL THINGS GROW UPINTO HIM who is the Head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:14-16
And it is the performance based “different gospel” that Paul talks about in Galatians 1 and II Corinthians 11 that says “you can live for God and continue living for yourself” and that enables the people of God to continue walking down the way that never allows them to grow up into the full stature of spiritual men and women, while believing in their heart of hearts they are doing the will of God by serving the other master of their own way
In the same way His body (the loaves) could not be distributed to the people sitting in the presence of Jesus, God CANNOT distribute His Body unless they have also endured the same brokenness and suffering as He did.
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found IN Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith IN Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of (His) Faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him IN His death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Philippians 3:7-11
This is why the message of the Cross, which is foolishness to the unbroken and un-yielded believer who is NOW perishing on the Vine, is so vital to the Christian’s life today.
Until we as His Body allow Him to take us to the place where we no longer take a thought for our own Life, He will not be able to will and work IN and through us His perfect plan, the plan He has held in His heart before the foundation of the world.
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be One, Father, just as you are IN Me and I am IN you. May they also be IN us so that the world may believe that you have sent Me. I have given them the Glory that you gave me, that they may be One as we are One— I IN them and you IN Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent Me and have loved them even as you have loved Me. John 17:20-23
My prayer is NOT THAT YOU TAKE THEM OUT OF THE WORLD (of brokenness) but that you protect them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. John 17:15-16
Embracing brokenness (which is by the way a life that is completely foreign to our American culture and way of life) and a life of losing to gain, dying to live, and being blinded to see, is the ONLY WAY that we as His Body will ever do the “greater things” He has left for us to do, and not us, but Him IN and through us.
Our brokenness is our only Hope!
For it is God who works IN you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13
And it is this very Life of God within us that can only come forth as we embrace the daily circumstances of Life instead of running and hiding from them or being so consumed in a life of preserving ourselves for ourselves that we can’t even recognize this “other” Life.
The only question that remains for us; Do we love Him enough to allow Him to complete the “good” work He has begun IN us for His eternal plan and His Glory alone?

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