The Mars Hill staff is in a series of devotionals drawn from the book, A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. We share highlights from the book each week, but we invite you to get a copy and read along with us. The drama is a multi-act play telling the stories of three kings. It is a portrait of submission and authority within the Kingdom of God; offering hope and healing to the spiritually wounded.
From the time we are born, our most basic goal is to grow, learn, and mature. This happens on a physical level, an emotional level, a mental and intellectual level, and a spiritual level. While much of our learning is concrete and can be easily acquired through parents and education, there are other aspects of becoming the people God means for us to be that require a different kind of schooling.
In our devotional today, the author suggests that God has a sacred school of submission and brokenness. It is not a school that many sign up for willingly because being broken can be a painful process. What does it mean to be broken? The kind of brokenness we are talking about here is similar to the breaking of a horse. As a wild animal, a horse has much potential and power, but no discipline or true direction. And if you think about it, a wild horse has the “appearance” of freedom, but it is only the freedom to be wild and live for self.
A horse that is broken is broken not in spirit, but in will. This horse now has the capacity to cooperate with his good master and do so much more. This horse also has the advantage of coming under the shelter and protection of the one who has broken him. He will always be fed, have a place to sleep, be groomed, doctored, and kept from harm. He will learn and accomplish greater things and he will experience the love and care of his master on a regular basis.
All people go through some experiences of brokenness just in learning to be disciplined and interact, work, and live well with others. We learn at a young age to respect authority and to wait our turn and to share with others. That is part of the “growing up” process. But the Lord wants even more for us. He wants us to know Him and follow Him (remember our lesson from Chapter 3!) so that He can help us fulfill our greatest potential.
Brokenness is the process of recognizing that God is the one in control, and then submitting to His leadership. And because He is perfect and good, we can trust Him, love Him, and enjoy letting Him lead. Brokenness means we no longer hold onto agendas of our own apart from God.
Consider what the following verses have to say about brokenness:
- The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit—
O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject. – Psalm 51:17 NET
- TheLord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are contrite in spirit. – Psalm 34:18 NASB
- Grant me the ultimate joy of being forgiven!
May the bones You crushed rejoice! – Psalm 51:8 NET
- For thus says the high and exalted One
Who lives forever, whose name is Holy,
“I dwell on a high and holy place,
And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit
In order to revive the spirit of the lowly
And to revive the heart of the contrite. – Isaiah 57:15 NASB