Broken to Be Fixed

Dr. Jack R. Taylor recorded a message entitled “The Strength of Weakness.” It is an honest, insightful exposition of the passage that was instrumental in launching Grace Notes 1998. God relplied to Paul’s earnest prayer to remove his “thorn in the flesh”:

“And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9).

Taylor mentions that the Exchanged Life commences with brokenness. To cooperate with this phase of the discipleship process we need to perceive that God’s providence includes all the circumstances that cause us difficulty (although God is not the author of sin–James 1:13). Joseph could eventually tell his brothers who betrayed him and sold him into slavery, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good…” (Gen. 50:20).

Jack Taylor said “God has you in the circumstances of his own choosing so He can fix you.” And he added this ditty:

“God is fixing to fix you, but if you try to fix the fix He’s fixing to fix you with, He will find another fix to fix you, until you let the fix He fixed for you fix you.”

Whew! (try saying that three times fast!). So the “fix” we are in (the trials we encounter) are benevolently designed by God through His mysterious providence to “fix us” (by breaking our self-sufficiency and independent will).

Watchman Nee observed two basic barriers to brokenness in the life of the believer. The first is the lack of insight regarding God’s providential design behind our difficult circumstances (our “fix”). The second barrier is self-love. Watchman cautioned, “Let us remember that the one reason for all misunderstanding, all fretfulness, all discontent, is that we secretly love ourselves. Many times problems arise due to our seeking a way of escape–an escape from the working of the cross.” [2]

To remove this barrier to brokenness we should sincerely pray:

“O my God, I have seen that all things come from You. All my ways these five years, ten years, or twenty years are of You. You have so worked to attain Your purpose, which is none other than that Your life may be lived out through me. But I have been foolish. I did not see. I did many things to deliver myself, thus delaying Your time. Today I see Your hand. I am willing to offer myself to You. Once again I place myself in Your hands.” [3]

Are we ready to roll up our sleeves and get specific about this? Reflect on these evidences of brokenness:

1. All rights surrendered

2. Willing to be rejected

3. Transparent – willing to share weakness

4. Vulnerable – willing to share failures

5. A sense of total inadequacy in self strength – 2 Cor 3:5

6. A sense of adequacy in Christ through His strength – Phil. 4:13, 2 Cor. 3:6

7. Trusting God whatever – resting even with external turmoil

8. Obedience out of a love motive because I want to, not because I have to

9. Recognizing the power in weakness

10. Willing to be weak

11. Willing to fail

12. A readiness to let others receive credit

13. Genuine humility

10. Placing value upon those who have little or no value to yourself

15. A readiness to affirm (build-up) others

16. Teachable

17. Willing to be out of control

18. Willing to be misunderstood [4]

Plan A is to fully surrender and trust in God because this plan is biblical. Plan B is brokenness…the process that most of us experience as disciples called to carry their cross. Although the apostle Paul’s experience was extreme, the pattern of brokenness is the same:

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh” (2 Cor. 4:7-11).

As true believers in Christ we have the assurance that we are united with Him; He lives in us by His Spirit. Yet if we want the full blessing of Christ living in and through us, then we need to say “not I, but Christ” (Gal. 2:20).

May God remove every barrier from our hearts so that we can allow our fix to “fix us.” Then we will have a greater capacity as vessels of Christ’s resurrection life.

Our Father, we bow to Your design for brokenness. Turn our struggles into surrender so that we can be vessels of your overcoming Life. In Jesus’ victorious name, amen.

[1] CD from Grace Fellowship International audio library. See his books at Listen to Dr. Taylor’s testimony about the value of Grace Fellowship’s ministry process here. For more on this theme, hear Dr. Phil Jones’ audio series on the Blessings of Brokenness (GFI).

[2] Watchman Nee, The Release of the Spirit, p.16.

[3] Nee, p. 16.

[4] GFI Exchanged Life Conference notebook.

Copyright 1998 by John Woodward. 3rd edition. Permission is granted to reprint this article for non-commercial use if credit is given to the author and GraceNotebook. Biblical quotations from the Holy Bible New King James Version (copyright by Thomas Nelson).