Friday, September 16, 2016


The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. (Psa 51:17)

What does brokenness look like?

We know it cannot be a good thing. The word itself engenders a negative feeling in the pit of the stomach. It is obviously not something to be desired.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. (Pro 17:22)
A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. (Pro 15:13)

This is where we begin to get into problems. We have our own set of filters through which we interpret things.

Everyone knows that a broken spirit is the last thing any of us would want for ourselves or anyone else; and these two verses seem to bear that out.

However, the word “broken” in these two verses is not the same word that was discussed in the last article.

This word is only used four times and has the idea of “smitten” or “afflicted”, meaning “to drive away.” It comes from a word that is used only once in the OT in Job 30:8, and is translated by the comparative ‘viler.’

According to the “Dictionary of Word Origins” by John Ayto, 1990,
“The ancestral meaning of ‘vile’ is of low status, quality, or price, cheap, common; its use as a common epithet of ‘horribleness’ is a secondary development.”
Vile comes into our language from Latin via Old French, which dates the word to the middle of the 13th century.

I’ve bored you with the etymology of the word so that you can understand why the word is used in our passages from the King James Version. The word does not have exactly the same meaning for us today. Many of the more modern translations have a better rendering of the word, bringing out the subtle difference.

While the two verses mentioned above (Pro. 17:22 and Pro. 15:13) have the word “broken” in connection with the spirit of man, it is not the same “broken” that has been the point of our discussion.

Hopefully you read “Harness of the Lord”. If not, take time to read it now by clicking here.

Considering Bro. Bill’s vision in light of our question, “What does brokenness look like,” we should be able to see that it is something desirable, something we should be “pressing toward.” (Phil. 3:14)

There is a deception in the land today that would cause us to be taken away from this pursuit. This deceptive teaching looks and sounds good on the surface, but it will only leave heartache and wounded spirits in its wake.

The main reason I call it deceptive is that it takes too much for granted when being taught. There is an assumption that everyone within earshot is ready for this particular teaching at this particular time from this particular perspective of this particular preacher.

I am speaking of the so-called need for everyone to “know their identity.”

It started out as the need to know our identity in Christ, and I am sure that is what is meant when the shortened form is used today.

At first glance, anyone would—and probably should—challenge my assertion of it being a dangerous teaching.

We have multitudes in the church who come from backgrounds of abuse in one form or another.

Abuse of any kind—physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, sexual—is debilitating, and its long-term effects are horrendous, rendering its victims almost incapable of any kind of positive outlook for themselves.

Many, by sheer force of will, manage to maintain an exterior of “It’s good. I’m okay,” but inwardly they are dying. It is often a slow, tortuous death sometimes even resulting in suicide.

For those who have come to faith in Christ, the message of “finding your identity in Christ” seems to be a way to lift these battered souls out of the pit of despair.

It just doesn’t work, though.

Because the focus is still on ‘self.’

The Lord definitely desires your healing in these areas. Your spirit has been wounded, broken, and it needs healing; but He has a plan and a method that runs contrary to our normal way of thinking.
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isa 57:15)
He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. (Psa 147:3)

I have such a strong belief in the power of the word of God as stated in Heb. 4:12, that it often taints my acceptance of things that “work,” or, at least that ‘seem’ to work.

I also know that “need” is not necessarily a call nor motivation to ministry, no matter how hard we want to believe otherwise. For instance,
Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. (John 5:2-3)
You know the story. Jesus only went up to one man even though they all were needing to be healed.

My point is that—to my limited knowledge—there is no scriptural precedent for the “shotgun approach” to healing.

Is there a place for helping someone discover their identity in Christ?

But, it is a part of the discipling process, which is not done with the multitude.

The old proverb, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” applies here and “…is a key concept to keep in mind when talking about individual change management.” (emphasis added)

I cannot state it any better, so for a fuller understanding of how this applies, read the full article from "Industry Week.

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