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The Beauty of Brokenness

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
August 19, 2021 8:00 am

The Beauty of Brokenness

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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August 19, 2021 8:00 am

It’s a fact: a broken bone can heal even stronger than it was originally. And Dr. Tony Evans says that’s true for the human spirit as well. Join us as he talks about the up side to falling down.

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When you hit rock bottom, it is because God wants you to know that He is the rock at the bottom. Dr. Tony Evans says brokenness is often the first most important step in healing. As scary as the prayer is, Lord, break me. When you are broken, you will see God, maybe for the very first time. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is the alternative with Dr. Tony Evans. Author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Restoring furniture involves stripping away any old paint or varnish to reveal all the scratches, gouges, and imperfections in the piece.

And only when the original veneer has been removed can the restorer completely give new life to that old furniture. Today Dr. Evans explains why the same is true for the human spirit. Let's join him as he explores the upside of falling down. Today I want to talk to you about the beauty of brokenness. That one of the premier ways that you discover Jesus Christ and His reality, His presence, and His power is through your brokenness. Now this isn't an easy sermon because that's not how we want to discover it. We'd love if every day we're full of shouting and hallelujahs and amens.

But if you lived any length of time, you know better than that. If you really want to see God's face, if you really want to be liberated so that the beauty of the life of Christ shines through, let me say that again. Brokenness is where God strips you of your independence, of your own ability to take care of yourself, where He strikes a blow at the flesh in such a graphic way that you have no strength left to fix yourself.

It is where He blocks every exit that you think is going to get you out of this so that He alone is your resource. Self-sufficiency creates a hard shell around us that blocks the life of Christ from shining through. We are raised to be self-sufficient, taught to be self-sufficient. We glory in our independence, which may be okay for folk, but it is horrific before a holy God.

When you say, I want to see His face, I'm tired of looking at His back, what you need to know when you say that is you're asking Him to break you. The Bible is replete with this truth, this humbling activity of God that strips us of our self-sufficiency. 1 Thessalonians 5, verse 23, But may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely, and may your spirit, soul, and body be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He says, I want you to be totally transformed, but please note how He wants you to be transformed. He does not want you to be transformed in your body, soul, and spirit. He wants you to be transformed in your spirit, soul, and body, and the order is everything.

The transformation you need, and I need, to strip us of our independence will not come by outward performance. It will come because the spirit transforms the soul, and the soul transforms the body. Many people want to get victory over things they're doing with their body without there being a transformation in their soul. You cannot get victory over what you're doing with your hands unless you're getting victory for that inner part within you that's telling your hands to do it. And you can only get victory over the soul, the self-life, when there has been the freeing of the spirit life.

So what happens is that the spirit transforms the soul, and then the soul transforms what the body does. But for that to happen, a breaking must occur. And in order to break you, in order to break me, in order to strip us down, God must ride your back like a bronco rider riding the back of a wild mustang. What's the process that God uses to break us?

Well, fundamentally, three things. One way He uses to break us is Satan. You may say, that ain't nothing but the devil.

You may only be half right. That may be God using the devil. Another thing God uses is sin. Now, God never endorses sin. God never encourages sin.

And in His government, what you sow, you reap. So it's a bad investment to sin, but He nevertheless will use it to accomplish His purpose. God used the sin of Moses when he murdered the Egyptian to strip him of his self-sufficiency. He said, I'm going to deliver Israel from the bondage of Egypt.

I am the man. And he went out ahead of God and did evil, and for 40 years he wandered in the wilderness, and God stripped him of his ability to ever say, I'm going to do it again. In fact, when God came to him and said, come on, deliver Israel, he said, who me? I can't deliver nobody. I can't talk without stuttering.

How am I going to deliver anybody? When he thought he was ready, he wasn't. When he thought he wasn't ready, he was.

What was the difference in that 40-year track? He moved from self-sufficiency to insufficiency so that God could become His sufficiency. I will speak through you, John Mark. John Mark said, I'm ready for the ministry, Paul. Paul said, come on, go with me then. But it got tough out there.

It got rough out there. And the Bible says, and John Mark said, I can't take this any longer, and walked away from Paul. Paul was hot. And he and his companion, they got in an argument, I can't use John Mark.

I can't have somebody who whipped me one minute and go, quit when the going gets tough. And Paul said, I can't use that man anymore. John Mark went home a broken man.

But a few years later, after Barnabas got a hold of him, worked with him, ministered to him, Paul said, somebody find me John Mark. I think I can use him now. He uses sin to break you.

Oh, but here's the regular one. He uses circumstances. There's another word for those, trials. Now listen to me, folks.

Listen carefully. When you go through a trial that is a circumstance of life that burdens you down, could be a marriage trial, a job trial, a financial trial, you know, a circumstantial trial, a health trial. It could be any circumstance in life that breaks you down. Don't mistake the hand of man for the hand of God.

Let me explain what I mean. God may have intentionally allowed that trial, that person, that problem, that situation to break you down. If he is trying to break you, changing jobs, changing mates, changing circumstances doesn't solve your problem. Because he's going to use that new mate to break you down.

He's going to use that new job to break you down. Because if he's breaking you, he's breaking you and there's nowhere to run. You say, if I can only get rid of this, not if he's breaking you. If he's breaking you, you're going to run from the goose into the gander.

If he is trying to break you and he is trying to strip you, there is nowhere to run. When you hit rock bottom, it is because God wants you to know that he is the rock at the bottom. He will strip you of your self-sufficiency.

He will remove the training wheels from your life. Like Jacob, he pinned him in a corner with Esau after him, ready to take his life. And only when his back was up against the wall, the conniver, the schemer, the one who from birth had developed this bad personality, when his back was up against the wall, it was there he met the angel of the Lord and was broken. People wanting to run out on their mates when God has that mate and their bad personality and their problems there to break you, to strip you of your self-sufficiency. You say, I can't live with them.

There's no way to run, not if he's breaking you, not if he's breaking you, but he's only breaking you so the life of Christ will come through. When we were kids, those of us middle-aged, you remember the piggy bank had a little hole in the top and you're dropping the pig. There was only one way to get that money out of the piggy bank. Back then when it wasn't sophisticated, remember? You take, you know, I had a little pig that was a piggy bank, you know?

Been putting the money in for months, all year. You know what I had to do? Flip it over.

Chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga. I had to do a lot of shaking. Why did I have to do a lot of shaking?

Because there was something of value on the inside that I needed to come out on the outside, but the only way to get it from the inside to the outside, I had to shake it loose. God's given us a great treasure in earth and vessel, but there's so much callous and hardness and independence and self-sufficiency on the outside that it keeps the beauty of Christ trapped on the inside, so what God's got to do is make a lot of shaking going on until He shakes us up. The power of brokenness. Turn to 2 Corinthians 12. When you are broken, you will see God like you've never seen Him before.

Let me say that again. As scary as the prayer is, Lord, break me. When you are broken, you will see God, maybe for the very first time. Paul says in verse 7, I had the surpassing greatness of revelations.

God showed me things He had never shown any man before, and of course, He had gone to heaven and come back, but God wanted to keep His self-sufficiency low. To keep me from exalting myself, verse 7 says, it was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to buffet me. God had given me great ministry and great opportunity, and God wanted to keep me from ever becoming proud, so what He did was give me a thorn. Now, you know what it is to stick a thorn in your body, something that irritated me, and it was in my flesh, in the core part of my self-sufficiency, and it kept pricking me, and it was driving me nuts. He never says what it is. Why? Because God wanted it to be applied to any thorn.

Anything that's nagging you, you can't get rid of, and it's sticking you, and it's driving you stock-raving mad. And you say, I prayed about it. How much more do I have to pray about it?

Well, that's what Paul says, verse 8. He says, I prayed about it. Concerning this, I entreated the Lord three times, and it might depart from me.

Lord, get this thing or this person out of my life. Now, please notice it says, God let Satan give a messenger. So this is the devil being used by God to create a thorn that was irritating a saint. But then I heard God speak.

I heard something. He said, my grace is sufficient for you, now watch this, for power. Dr. Evans, we'll come back in just a moment with some thoughts about what to do with the thorns in our own lives that God, for some reason, doesn't take away. But first, I want to let you know the lesson you're hearing today is part of a brand-new four-volume collection of messages we put together spending 40 years of ministry. We're calling it Tony Evans Top 40. And right now, we'll send you volumes 1 and 2 of this powerful set as our way of saying thanks for your investment in us, which enables us to continue investing in you. That's 20 full-length messages, including several we won't be able to present on the air this time around. And as a special bonus, we'll send it to you along with Tony's booklet on a nearly forgotten spiritual discipline, fasting.

It'll help you discover how saying no to your physical appetite from time to time can really sharpen your spiritual one and lead you to the breakthrough you've been praying for. This double-resource package is only available through tomorrow, so visit tonyevans.org to make the arrangements today. That's tonyevans.org, or call us at 1-800-800-3222. Our resource center is open 24-7.

Once again, that's 1-800-800-3222. I'll repeat all that information for you later after Part 2 of our message and this. The thing about serving an infinite God is that no matter how much you know about Him, there's always more to learn. Whether you're brand new to Scripture or an experienced ministry professional, there's something for you at the Tony Evans Training Center. You'll find online courses covering core concepts of the faith. Working at your own pace and schedule, you'll dig deep into the historical context of the book, uncover the key teachings, and learn how to apply them in real-world situations. There's lots of exclusive content from Dr. Evans to keep you interested and motivated, and an online forum where you can ask questions, get answers, and collaborate with other students. The more you learn, the more you'll want to learn. Give it a try.

The Tony Evans Training Center, a world of discovery anytime, anywhere. Power. Everybody want power? Power is perfected in weakness. Power, God's power, is made most visible in weakness.

Power is made possible, visible, and made strongest when you are weakest. Gideon had to fight his enemies. He amassed this army that was still small, that was a 40 to 1 odds, with the enemy in the favor. But God told Gideon, you have too many folk. But Gideon told God, but I still have less than our enemy. They have 40 to 1 odds on us already. He said, you still got too much strength, even though it's less than your enemy. You still have too much.

I want you to change the odds to 450 to 1, their favor. Because when you become weak with 300 men, you will be stronger than you've ever been before. Jacob wrestled with God and said, God, I want to bless him. What he got was a changing. David said in Psalm 119 verse 71, it was good that I was afflicted. Moses, the man who was broken down by God in the wilderness, guess what? He writes more of the Bible than any other person. More words than the Bible written by Moses, the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible were written by him.

How could this man, a first degree murderer, write more of the Bible than anybody else? Because according to Numbers chapter 12, he was the meekest man that ever lived, because he had been broken. When you are broken, you finally get power. You finally get to see what God can do. You finally get to see who God is. He said, power is perfected in weakness. Now that leads to one final discussion, doesn't it? I'm weak, but I don't see this power, nor am I experiencing this grace.

That's where the question is. I hear what you're saying, preacher. God wants to strip me, okay? But why is it that I am not seeing any of this power, nor am I experiencing this grace? Because most people read the first half of verse nine and not the second half. Most gladly, therefore, I would rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Let me tell you how we quote that verse. I would rather complain about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may not dwell in me. Paul says, when I discovered that God says, I've got all the grace you need to handle this thorn, even though I am not going to take this thorn away, Paul says, I got my praise on.

Paul said, instead of complaining, why me? I began to praise God for the thorn because I wanted to experience the grace because that was going to give me the power. He went from praying for deliverance, take the thorn away, to praising God for the thorn because the God's power was going to be revealed because of it. If you've got a thorny person in your life and you've only prayed that the Lord delivers you from the person and He has not delivered you from the person, maybe what He wants you to experience is grace. But you won't experience the grace until you move to the praise. He said, I'm going to brag, watch this, on my weakness. I'm going to brag on the fact that I got this irritating thorn in my life. We call that in the scripture the sacrifice of praise. See, we've seen that. We bring the sacrifice of praise.

No. You see, to bring a sacrifice, something had to die on somebody's altar. To bring a sacrifice, you had to take that lamb and you had to put that lamb on the altar and that lamb died.

Now, why is that important? Because only dead people see God's face. When the priest went into the Holy of Olives, he had to sacrifice. Something had to die if he was going to see God's face. No man can see my face and live. That's why physically you won't be able to see God until you die. Your body has got to die before you can go to heaven and see God. Well, spiritually, if you want to see God, you'll still have to die. That's why the cause of discipleship is let a man deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.

You've got to die. When your prayer for deliverance leads to praise for the problem, you're on your way to power because God's going to give you grace. Now, who's that problem in your life?

What is that problem in your life? If you prayed for deliverance, which you should always do, you start with praying for deliverance because God may want to deliver you, but if He doesn't deliver you, He says, I've got grace to give you. If I don't deliver you, I've got grace to give you. But instead of coming to me, complaining about the thorn, come to me and boast about the weakness. Lord, I want to thank you for this person in my life because now I understand you're using that person to break me so that you can reveal yourself through me so that I will experience power I have never had before. Paul didn't experience sufficient grace until he saw suffering as a gift because he says, verse 10, therefore, I am content with weaknesses. And then he gives us some illustration, folk who insult me, distresses, problems that just discourage me, persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ because I discovered when I am weak, then I am strong. Lord, I want to thank you for this thing you have in my life right now because you're going to use this to show me your grace and to reveal your power like I've never seen it before.

Let me put it another way. You won't discover that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have. You can talk it and sing it, but you won't discover that Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.

And when Jesus is all you have because He's just stripped you down to bare bones, you will then discover He is all you need. When they are refinishing antique furniture, it's an awesome process. Strong chemicals strip away the old varnish, eat away at it. Then they have these sandpaper machines that sand it down, and when they sand it down, it exposes all these nooks and crannies that need repair. The sanding continues until they sand it down to an even level. And then they take varnish and varnish over it. You've seen the nude furniture, and they varnish over it.

Then they take steel wool and go over it again and again until it has a smooth, refinished surface. Brothers and sisters, God will strip you down. God will strip me down. He will sand and sand and sand and, oh, there's a nook there, and sand, and another nook over here.

Yeah, that scratch over here. And sand and sand, and you'll say, Lord, that hurts. Lord, that hurts. And God said, praise me, child. Praise me, child. Praise me, child. It hurts, Lord.

Praise me, child. My grace is sufficient, but, Lord, it hurts. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts. It hurts, but I don't complain, child. I love you, child.

I love you. My God, it hurts, but I'm stripping you, child, until He varnishes it. And all of a sudden, you say, that chair sure look pretty.

The table sure look pretty. Why? Because you've been stripped, and the life of Christ begins to shine through. Your identity in Christ begins to reveal itself, and you find power you never had because you've been broken. Dr. Tony Evans, talking about the process God uses to make us stronger. If you'd like to hear the full-length version of today's message, it comes as a part of our current featured resource, Tony Evans Top 40. As I mentioned earlier, all 20 messages in volumes 1 and 2 of this collection are our gift to you when you make a contribution to help us keep Tony's teaching on this station. And through tomorrow, we'll also include a copy of his booklet on fasting as a special bonus. Just drop by tonyevans.org, where you can get all the details and make your donation online. Again, that's tonyevans.org.

Or you can call our 24-hour resource center at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our team members help you with your request. You know, there's never a shortage of bad news. We can find it pretty much anywhere we look, from TV and radio to the internet and social media, or even just in the concerns of our friends and family. Well, tomorrow, Dr. Evans will remind us that in the midst of anxieties, there's always some really good news and a lot of reasons we should be sharing it with others. Join us for that tomorrow. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by The Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you. MUSIC
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-14 16:04:30 / 2023-09-14 16:14:22 / 10

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