Brokenness: the Sacrifice God Desires

Welcome to Real Life. I was driving and listening to Moody Radio,[1] when I heard something so profound that I had to pull over and scribble it down:
Brokenness may be more important in God’s sight than success.[2]
Brokenness. I don’t like to go there. I don’t want to feel broken. I want every aspect of my life to operate smoothly, in harmony, like a symphony. Give me success. Success feels like God is smiling down on me. So then why is brokenness pleasing to God?
The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.[3]
Another translation provides clearer insight:
Going through the motions doesn't please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don't for a moment escape God's notice.[4]
God is not against success. But, along with success comes the temptation to be proud and self-sufficient. Wow, I nailed that project. I am awesome. Success inspires self-worship.

On the other hand, brokenness leads to humility and repentance. Brokenness reveals my neediness. In our culture, neediness is to be avoided at all cost. Strength and independence are what’s prized. However in God’s culture, neediness is foundational to faith. For it’s when I’m broken – when my life lays shattered in pieces – that I need someone to help me pick up those pieces. That’s when I get on my knees and cry out to God. Brokenness inspires God-worship.

In truth, each of us is broken. We all need repair. No one is perfect. It’s just that in some situations our brokenness becomes glaringly apparent: long nights of insomnia, mounting debt, chronic pain, a car accident, uncontrollable anger or irritation, cancer, depression, a failed test, and on and on. Some days no matter how hard I try, I can’t make life work.

This brokenness can be a holy place. It can be a place where I meet God honestly, intimately and vulnerably. God is not impressed by my strength. He is not wowed by my flawless performance. What can I do apart from His empowering? My very breathe is from Him. The offering – the sacrifice – God desires is a broken spirit. A heart that cries, “I need you, Jesus. I can’t do life without you,” is in a holy place.

It’s when I’m broken that I’m no longer full of me. I’m poured out. Empty. I’m ready to be filled with Him.

I need Thee, oh, I need Thee; Every hour I need Thee; Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee.[5]
Take it further …
[1] A shameless plug for my employer.
[2] Spoken by Dr. Erwin Lutzer on Running to Win
[3] Psalm 51:17 NLT
[4] Psalm 51:16-17 The Message
[5] Refrain from “I Need Thee Every Hour” by Annie S. Hawks 1872

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  1. That's so funny, Peggi. "Brokenness may be more important in God’s sight than success." I heard the exact same message from Brant Hansen on Air1 radio just yesterday. He related the time Paul found himself in a Turkish prison during which time he wrote Philippians. It's a great message and I'm glad you shared it. Nicely done!

  2. That's amazing, Linnea. It seems like God often does that - keeps repeating what he wants us to hear. :) Thanks for sharing that with me!


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