Today’s devotional presents one of the most important teachings that Christians need to understand in order to be able to wait on God in faithful, hopeful trust during the darkest hours of their walk with the Lord. It is something that all Christians must experience to some degree. What is this experience? It is brokenness: the process of God breaking our pride and selfish spirit.
The Bible warns us of the dangers of pride.
“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18).
It is a very dangerous thing for God to use a man or woman in a very powerful way. It could destroy them spiritually. Sinful human nature is prone to allow pride and self-exaltation to take over, which could lead to serious sins. We have seen examples of well-known Christian celebrities who received human accolades and praise. In due time they fell into sin because of pride, self-confidence, power, and wealth.
The greater the brokenness in one’s life, the greater our usefulness to God:
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise” (Ps. 51:17).
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).
The way to true greatness in God’s work is first humbleness through breaking and then exaltation. The truly humble will never seek the highest position, set personal goals of self-advancement, or seek recognition for their achievements. They are content to serve God in whatever capacity He calls them, whether considered a high or lowly position by man.
God wants all of His servants to strive to obtain this attitude of humility. Therefore, He leads them into varied situations to bring this about in their lives:
“ ‘For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.’ If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? . . . Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (Heb. 12:6, 7, 11).
The breaking experience is from God. It is God’s discipline and is never pleasant. Breaking times are the dark times in one’s experience. They are times when our prayers seem not to be heard and God seems far away and uncaring. They are often times when we feel unproductive in God’s service. Broken experiences are often times of severe temptation and even a major fall. Yet, in the end it will produce glorious results in God’s children. Of this Paul wrote: “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). Trials are the means God uses to develop in us endurance, faith, and humility—Christ’s character.
Pride is a symptom of not being broken. Pride is deceitful. We can think we are humble and not self-seeking, and yet pride is very much a part of our life. The Bible tells us that the “heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9).
It is important for us to become aware of the evidences of whether we are proud or broken. Humble people do not consider themselves great; they are small in their own eyes. They always give God or others the credit for any success they experience. The humble will not let a perceived weakness or inability keep them from serving God.
Pride gets in the way of God being able to use us most effectively. It also gets in the way of our happiness. Ellen White wrote:
“It is the love of self that destroys our peace. While self is all alive, we stand ready continually to guard it from mortification and insult; but when we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall not take neglects or slights to heart. We shall be deaf to reproach and blind to scorn and insult” (Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 16).
What amazing statements. When we are broken and pride is subdued, we will not take it to heart when someone scorns or insults us. We will be able to immediately let it go. Why? Because if we are humble through brokenness, we are not constantly seeking to exalt self and protect it from insult.
Personal Reflection and Discussion
1. What is a major barrier to God using us in a significant way?
2. How does God break our pride?
3. What are the characteristics of the breaking experience?
4. If I get my feelings hurt easily what does that say about me?
5. What are the characteristics of humility?
• Call your prayer partner and discuss this devotional with him/her.
• Pray with your prayer partner:
1. Pray for God to baptize you with His Holy Spirit.
2. Pray for God to revive you and His church.
3. Pray for God to lead you to overcome all pride in your life.
4. Pray for the individuals on your prayer list.
Excerpt From: Dennis Smith. “40 Days.”