A Blessed Defeat

by Jan Silvious

A Blessed Defeat

When you think of brokenness, do you have the mental picture of a broken vessel or of someone who has been beaten into subjection? Brokenness is much more. Brokenness is the "willing submission of one to the will and wisdom of another who has the right to own, to control, to master."

Consider the wild horse, running free. He is beautiful to see, but useful for nothing. He does no work, nor does he provide pleasure for anyone but himself.

But for the horse who has been broken to the bit by his owner, there is a wonderful sense of controlled and usable strength. His value soars because he is now a source of satisfaction and joy.

C. S. Lewis writes of the ultimate brokenness: "Every story of conversion is the story of a blessed defeat." Brokenness begins at the point of conversion, when one's will is surrendered to the will of Christ.

When David prayed his prayer for pardon, he spoke for all of us who have ever sinned: "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O god, you will not despise" (Ps. 51:17).

That initial surrender is only the beginning. There are ongoing breakings that have to take place because we continue to live in these bodies of flesh that struggle to rise up and have the preeminence, even when we have given the reins of our lives to our Lord and Master.

As Roy Hession, author of The Calvary Road, a classic work on brokenness, writes: "Every humiliation, every one who tries and vexes us, is God's way of breaking us, so that there is a yet deeper channel in us for the life of Christ."

It is only as that part of us that is capable and strong and defensive comes down that the life of the Lord Jesus can be seen. It is a choice we are each called on to make in so many small ways.

If you really want the life of Christ to be seen in you today, there is a display window that no one can miss: the place where our relationships are lived out. Have I overlooked my husband's thoughtless action toward me? Have I chosen to let my friend's tacky remark go unanswered? Have I let a slight pass without comment?

Our daily lives showcase our yieldedness to the Master who owns and controls us.

From The 5-Minute Devotional, Zondervan, 1991.