Archive for June, 2010

22
Jun
10

Jesus will meet you there

Here is another beautiful song from Steven Curtis Chapman’s incredible CD Beauty Will Rise, Jesus Will Meet You There.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me, Your rod, and Your staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23)

Blessings, Torben

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15
Jun
10

Characteristics of a broken person

This is part two of two about what brokenness is, and what it is to be a broken person. Here I want to focus on what I believe are the true characteristics of a truly, broken person.

I’ve been blessed to meet a few broken people in the definition of brokenness that I described here. They are beautiful and life-giving to be around! I wish there were more like them, and I know, see, and recognize that there is a growing hunger in the world for what these wonderful people exhibit in their walk with God.

Broken people are humble. They understand that true humility is just agreeing with God. Nothing more. Nothing less. When God says about a broken person that he or she is perfect, pure, holy, and righteous at the center of who this person  is  – no matter what they do/say/think/feel or don’t do/say/think/feel, they humbly agree with it. They understand that superior pride is saying that I’m more than God says I am, and that inferior pride is saying that I’m less than what God says I am.

Broken people are teachable. They understand that God can speak through, challenge through, and bless through anybody of whatever age, gender, educational level or race. They understand that being teachable also means that you’re willing to admit when you are wrong, and they freely do that resting in God’s unconditional acceptance of them.

Broken people don’t control other people. They understand that control is an illusion that insecure people cling to. They embrace the freedom to make choices and live their own lives, and they extend this freedom to other people to make their choices, whether good or bad, without needing to control them.

Broken people are forgivers. They understand that they have been fully forgiven for Christ for all sins and short-comings past, present, and future, and they know that true freedom is hindered if I choose to not forgive other people, myself, or even God (!).

Broken people embrace themselves in their brokenness. They are aware of their sins, faults, and weaknesses. And while not using any of their weaknesses as excuses for making poor choices, they are free to embrace and accept themselves, even when they screw up, because they know that God does the same. They understand that God loves us in light of our weaknesses, not in spite of them. And they understand that Henri Nouwen was right when he wrote: “Self-rejection is the single greatest enemy of spiritual life, because it contradicts the voice that calls us the Beloved

Broken people know that they can’t do anything of real, eternal value in their own strength. They don’t say the absurd sentence “I need to work on that in me”, because they understand that life as a Christian is never about them trying to fix themselves or others. They understand that only as they rest in Christ, and allow him to do his work in them and through them, will their lives have lasting, life-giving impact.

Broken people are in the process of being healed. They understand that they can’t fix the wounds that they have own their souls. They cry out to God to reveal the wounds and idols (Psalm 139:23-24), and for him to heal the wounds (Psalm 23:3) and bring down the idols in their lives, and set them free to live lives of abundance.

Broken people are open and honest. They understand that they are free to live, make mistakes, and be the people that God wants them to be. They see no need to hide who they really are and even the mistakes they make when they try to meet their own needs in their own strength. They are open and honest with people and know that their security as people is not based on what other people think of them.

Broken people are truth-seekers. They know that Jesus is all Truth. And they know that if there is an area in their lives where they are not experiencing full freedom, it is because they still haven’t encountered the Truth in that area of their lives. They have seen and testify to Jesus being the Truth that sets people free (John 8:32)

Broken people are Kingdom-oriented. They understand that they are first and foremost citizens of God’s kingdom that’s breaking forth here on planet earth. They understand that what truly matters is getting to know God more and getting to know who I am in him, and then all other things shall be added as God pleases (Matthew 6:33)

Broken people have laid down their rights in front of God. They understand that we don’t have rights to family, friends, great places to live, health, wonderful stuff, mind-blowing vacations, etc. Because they have laid down these felt rights, and live in the reality that God is the giver of all good gifts, they are excited, surprised and thankful when great things and experiences come their way, but they also accept and embrace the fact that life doesn’t always turn out the way they hope.

Broken people are free to love. They love and accept people where they are, but with their lifestyle of love, acceptance, worth, and a sense of security they draw other people to the only One who is love, God (1. John 4:8).

Broken people don’t have to know everything. In a day and age obsessed with knowing everything that’s going on, always having a plan, and being in control, broken people rely on the fact that they don’t need to know everything. They rest in their Father, trusting that he always knows, and if he chooses to, he’ll let them know what they need to know. They live in the assurance that it’s okay to cry out and admit: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2. Chronicles 20:12)

Broken people rest. They know and have experienced that believers are just called to ‘hang loose’ in Christ as grapes on a vine (John 15). They rest in who they are in Christ, and they bring a fragrance of rest to all the stressed people around them. They have experienced that when you rest in who you are in Christ, you can experience both love (Ephesians 3:19), and peace (Philippians 4:7) that surpass understanding, even when circumstances are crazy, and you feel like your boat is about to go under (Mark 4:35-41)

These were just a few of the characteristics of the precious people that God is truly making a difference through, the truly broken people. I pray that God will take me further on this road of brokenness, that I may display all of these characteristics more and more fully.

Blessings, Torben

15
Jun
10

what true brokenness is

These past few weeks I’ve had quite a few talks with people about what brokenness really is. What does it mean to be broken? And is it a positive thing to be broken?

I am well aware that in regular English something that’s broken isn’t a positive thing. Right now our beloved car is in a body and paint shop, because it’s broken. It needs to be fixed to function properly again. Also, when we talk about people, ‘a broken person’ often means somebody where something devastating has happened to them, and they barely know how to get up in the morning. Maybe their spouse or child died, and they just don’t seem to be able to find many reasons to live, and have in most ways lost hope.

Obviously, I think of something and somebody very different when I think, talk and teach about brokenness and what it means to be a broken person. Anybody in the Bible who is significant enough to be mentioned several times and had positive outcomes of their lives went through brokenness-experiences and came out as broken people ready to live and serve God in powerful, grace-filled ways. It would take too much space to go through all of them, but everyone from Moses, Abraham, Jacob, and David to Peter, John, Paul, and countless others of the heroes of faith in the Bible went through brokenness and show us what it means, in what I believe is a biblical understanding, to be a broken person.

Brokenness is a process we go through, and it can take a few years or it can take decades, where God exposes our fleshly attempts to live life, to have our core needs of love, acceptance, worth, and security met in our own strength, and he shows how it is truly impossible to live the Christian life we want to live and make a radical difference in this world as long as we attempt to do it in our own strength and based on our own understanding and wisdom.

Brokenness is God’s gift to us where he exposes our sandcastles and causes them to fall, so we can learn to rest in who we are in him, and who he is, and build our houses on the only solid foundation of Christ.

Brokenness is necessarily painful, because ever since Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden all human beings ever born have an inbuilt desire to rebel against God, and try to meet our needs in our own ways. We struggle to surrender control, and we often don’t understand, even as Christians, that we truly are free to live the lives we want only when Christ is in control, and I just rest in him (John 15). Therefore God has to use all kinds of ways to encourage and invite us to surrender to him, and his love. But we must always remember that God doesn’t desire for us to surrender to his power, but to his love and kindness (Romans 2:4).

I’ll split this up in two entries and stop this one here. In my next blog entry, I’ll talk about characteristics of a truly, broken person that God delights in and loves people through!

Blessings, Torben




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