Broken by God
To walk in newness of life
we must deal with the Lord
day by day
In our previous Note (“Why Was Jesus Baptized?”) we considered how baptism signifies that we should not do anything apart from Christ and His divine life working within us. We still live, but now Christ lives within us in His resurrection life so that He is the one being expressed through us (Rom. 6:3-4, John 15:5, Gal. 2:20).
But, all this is on the side of the truth. So now we need to ask, how can we actually enter into the experience of such a living? And the answer is, by being dealt with by God and broken by Him. That is, the Lord must deal with us so that our natural strength, our ability to live apart from Him, is broken by the cross.
This is not a once-for-all experience. Even though at times we may pass through great crises in our life that turn us to the Lord in a deeper way, more often it is an ongoing, daily experience, sometimes even in very small things:
Then [the Lord] said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
— Luke 9:21
As we consider this very sober word, we must have a basic realization. God uses the cross, and the “crosses” He measures to us in our own lives, to deal with who we are, by bringing us into the experience of the death of Christ. Yet, how can we, on our side, “take up our cross”? For this we must be clear that to truly follow the Lord is not a matter of our desire, but of our decisions.
So, we can have all the desire in the world, but if it does not move us to heed the Lord’s word and submit to the cross, it means nothing. In all the great and small things that come to us day by day, we must choose to submit to the Lord and allow Him to subdue us and bring us closer to Himself. Then we will become those who truly know Him and take Him as our life.
Unfortunately, so often we Christians waste our sufferings, rather than gain the benefit from them!
Recently I have been reading and reviewing, once again, the excellent book, Spiritual Knowledge, by Watchman Nee. In it he states:
If anyone wishes to know God he must learn to have transactions with Him. In other words, he needs to deal with God and to be dealt with by God. Many Christians carelessly let difficulties or problems pass by without receiving dealings from God. They do not know why He sends them these difficulties ….For this cause, beloved, we must deal with God and receive dealings from God, and then shall we truly know Him.
— Page 15
No doubt, we often suffer due to our own mistakes, or because of our disobedience to the Lord, or because we are simply passing through the general sufferings that are common to the human condition, such as health, family, or financial problems, getting older, or the loss of loved ones. Even so, we must still believe that, under God’s sovereignty:
…All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
— Romans 8:28
Thus, we must exercise ourselves to seek the Lord in our circumstances, so that He finally appears to us and shows us the meaning of what He has allowed to come upon us, what particular aspect of our person He is dealing with. When that happens we will exclaim, as Jacob did, after his dream at Bethel:
Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not!
— Genesis 28:16
We will realize that God, not man, is behind it all, working in it to help us give up on who we are. That is the practical experience of the cross.
And if we are faithful to continue in this path, then, like Jacob again, this time after God touched his hip when he wrestled with Him, we too will have “wrestled with God and man, and prevailed” (Gen. 32:24-31). Though we “limp” in terms of our natural strength, we will live by the divine life and nature within us, and walk with the Lord day by day in “newness of life” (Rom. 6:4).
Still, there is a secret to being broken, which we will consider in our next Note.
— Up Next —
“The Secret of Being Broken”
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— 1 November 2021 —