In the last couple of posts, I’ve talked about the loss of loved ones. In reading two devotionals today, I’ve received some great truths about death and loss. I want to put together these devotionals in a post below. They are from Tony Evans in “Time To Get Serious: Daily Devotions to Keep You Close to God” and the devotion The Blessing of Brokenness from Micca Campbell published on Proverbs 31 Ministries.
When I look at Christians who are living defeated lives, I see people who are “pushing” their Christian lives. They don’t realize that the power they need is already under the hood. That power is the grace of God, which is the inexhaustible supply of goodness by which He does for us what we could never do for ourselves. Some of us have the misconception that we have the power to pull off the Christian life. But if that were true, we would be no different than a non-Christian who keeps the Ten Commandments (which is all human effort).
But God has endowed every true believer with an abundant supply of His grace. The grace of God is possible because of the sacrifice His Son made for our salvation. God has grace for every need we have. In the following scripture, Paul tells us that God’s grace also trains us in how to live the victorious Christian life. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.” (Titus 2:11-14) Grace will give us victory where we didn’t have victory. Grace will give us power where we didn’t have power. Grace will give us the ability to keep on keeping on when we want to give up.
“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” (John 12:24) No one enjoys the pain of brokenness. Normally it calls for a letting go of something near and dear to us. At the time, it doesn’t make any sense. I have learned that brokenness leads to an unexpected good. It’s for this reason that God breaks us. Not to cause us undue pain. Not because He doesn’t love us. Instead … God breaks us to bless us. He chips away anything that keeps us from finding our true life in Him.
God targets an area of our life that we’re unwilling to submit to Him. Perhaps it’s an unhealthy relationship we won’t release. It could be laziness that’s stunting our spiritual growth. Or even a bad habit that’s standing in the way of experiencing the fullness of God. Whatever the cause, our tendency is to hold tightly to these things because we believe it’s what we want. We’re convinced they please us by providing the joy, pleasure and fulfillment we seek. But God knows the truth. Only He can truly satisfy our deepest longings. All else is counterfeit to His provision.
Therefore, God selects the tools it takes to break our self-sufficiency and cause us turn to Him. When we give up our independence, we gain a new perspective of God’s plan and purpose for our lives. A great picture of this process is found in our key verse. “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).
Unless the kernel is buried and dies, it will produce nothing. It will remain a lone, solitary stalk of corn. Imagine passing a field that only hosted one blade of corn. You might ask, “Where’s the rest of this farmer’s harvest?” However, if the kernel dies, it will produce a great harvest.
Consider the life of Jesus. On earth, He was like a single stalk of corn. Yet, through His death, burial and resurrection, His life continually produces a harvest of souls. In a similar way, as long as I live a selfish life fixed on my own wants and desires, I will produce little. On the other hand, if I die to myself and live according to God’s plan, I will yield a productive life that’s beneficial to God and others.
It sounds difficult, I know, but the unexpected good of brokenness is that it revives the life of Christ in me. I become less and He becomes more. That’s a good thing! The more we become like Him, the more we become like the true selves God intended. The more love and patience I have in my heart, the more joyful and content I am with others.
Think of it this way. For the wheat to reproduce itself, it had to die. For Christ to reproduce Himself in others, He had to die. If I desire Christ’s life to be reproduced in me, I, too, must die to the lure of the world and my own selfishness. Then, I will experience the fullness of God I desire and reproduce disciples of the same kind. Jesus put it this way: “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:25). Sometimes God has to break me to bless me. As challenging as that can be, I’m thankful. Because honestly, I want the life God wants to give me instead of settling for the counterfeit.
God want us to depend on Him, and not ourselves. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Proverbs 3:5) When we seek Him first and ask Him to light our path and direct our steps, we are dying to ourselves and living in God’s grace. His power and grace can overrule our situations. God’s grace will give us victory where we didn’t have victory. Grace will give us power where we didn’t have power. Grace will give us the ability to keep on keeping on when we want to give up.