Updated: Nov 9, 2019
Are you broken or are you just having a bad day?
Most men know what it means to be full of pride, but very few understand what it means to be empty and broken.
Brokenness is an important and often misunderstood word when it comes to building a relationship with our Heavenly Father. The Bible says in James 4:6 that "God opposes the proud, but He gives grace to the humble." Therefore, humility can be considered synonymous with being broken; whereas pride can be considered the opposite of brokenness.
In Psalms 51, King David cried out to God in one of his most famous prayers of repentance by saying, "A broken spirit and a contrite heart, You (God) will not despise." But what God does despise is pride; in fact, He says He hates it (Proverbs 8:13).
Some may argue this is just semantics, but brokenness shouldn't be underestimated and taken likely. In fact, brokenness should be taken very seriously if we ever desire and expect to communicate with a holy God on an intimate and personal level.
In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God says, "If my people, who are called by My name, will HUMBLE themselves, and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, THEN will I hear from Heaven and heal their land."
Promises that God makes comes usually with a condition, "If you do that..., then I will do this."
If you are humble, I will give you grace. (James 4:6)
If you are humble, I will hear you. (2 Chron. 7:14)
If you are humble, I will honor you. (Prov. 15:33)
If you are humble, I will heal you. (2 Chron. 7:14)
If you are humble, I will help you. (Psalm 147:6)
However, when we think of humility and brokenness, we often associate it with a feeling.
Feeling sorry for ourselves
Feeling bad about what we've done or didn't do
Feeling guilt and shame about our habitual sins
Feeling lost, confused, or even depressed about our circumstances
Feeling distant from God and un-loved by Him
Feeling like we're disappointing or letting God down
Men who experience this aren't really broken, they're just experiencing a very regretful moment, day, week, month, or season in their life.
The truth is, brokenness isn't a feeling, it's a condition of the heart. It's truthfully, and often painfully, seeing ourselves for what we are in the paralyzing light of a holy and almighty God – in need of a Savior (Romans 3:23).
It's not about how you feel; but realizing how much you need His amazing grace.
It's not about feeling sorry or bad about what you've done; but realizing that even on your best day, your "good doing" won't ever be good enough for God.
It's not about feeling guilt or shame; it's about knowing that a loving God allowed His Son to spare you from the guilty verdict you and I deserve.
It's not about you feeling distant from God; it's about pleading that He never removes His presence from you.
It's not about disappointing or letting God down; it's about realizing it's impossible to let HIM down when He's the one holding YOU up.
A brother in Christ recently asked me, "How can I change my (selfish) heart?"
I told Him, "You can't, but God can. Give your heart to Him, and let him change it for you; because the Father knows your heart best. God made you, and He specializes in healing broken hearts." (Psalm 147:3)
But the question is...
How can God change our heart? He does it through broken surrender. By being humble enough to say, "God, I give up, I can't do this without You. Help me."
How can God change our heart? He does it through broken submission. By requesting, "God, not my will, but Your will be done."
How can God change our heart? He does it through broken prayers. By asking Him, "God give me the strength and wisdom to do Your will, Your way." --- Then simply obeying His command(s).
Brokenness is realizing that you don't belong to yourself; you belong to God. (Gal. 2:20)
Brokenness is admitting that God doesn't owe you anything, but you owe Him everything. (Romans 6:23)
Brokenness is acknowledging that you're everything IN Him, but you're nothing without Him. (John 15:4-5)
Brokenness is refusing to blame other people for the pain in your past; instead, praising God for saving you from it and having a divine purpose and plan for it. (Gen. 50:20)
Brokenness is always falling towards the Cross, not running away from it whenever you inevitably fail or fall short of God's righteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Brokenness is honestly and humbly saying to God, "If you never do anything else for me, You've already done enough by sacrificing Your only Son for me." (John 3:16)
That's why pride is just the opposite of brokenness, because...
Pride focuses on you; brokenness focuses on Him. Pride says, "I deserve better"; brokenness says, "I deserve death, have mercy on me Lord."
Pride stubbornly tries to control in order to prevent failure; brokenness obediently surrenders and submits to be saved from failure.
Pride is a controlling suggestion sent from Satan to destroy you; brokenness is a loving request from God made to redeem and reconcile you.
Pride is rooted in the fear of man and his thoughts and actions; brokenness is rooted in faith, love, and the reverent fear of the Father and His judgment.
And while brokenness always requires humility, pride is always fueled by selfishness.
But more importantly, God promises to heal our brokenness, and He warns us that He hates our pride. He promises to always receive and respond to the cries and prayers of the broken, but He says He will always resist and reject the prayers and whining of the prideful. Just ask the Israelites. =)
So, the question is: "Do you possess a humble and broken spirit like King David or are you just suffering from broken pride like King Saul?"
And if you'd like to join a team of "Broken Men" who have been rescued, redeemed, and re-built by God, then check out the Real Men 300. We're an exclusive band of brothers who equip, encourage, and hold each other accountable to being the mighty warriors God called and created us to be.