Broken from Refreshing Hope Ministries on Vimeo.

Today I want to talk about being broken in Spirit, for the Lord will not be able to use you until you are. Let’s look at Matthew 11:29:

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29–30 NKJV

The yoke that Jesus mentions here was a wooden bar that allowed animals to work as a team when plowing a field, pulling a wagon, or a chariot.

Any work that was too great for a single mule, ox, or horse could be divided between two and then others could be linked behind them. Elisha was plowing a field with twelve yoke of oxen when Elijah called him (1Kings 19:19).

A horse must be broken before it can be ridden or really any use at all. The horse is born to run wild and free, to do as it wants, to go where it wants to go. If you managed to hook a plow to an unbroken horse, it would be the ride of your life when you set out across the field. It would involve a lot of kicking and bucking and maybe dragging you through the woods on your face. In other words, it would not work. If you tried to yoke it with another, it would be chaos. The horse has to first be broken before it can be used.

 There is always a rebel spirit in each of us that wants to be wild and free, to do what we want. It began with Adam and Eve doing what they wanted to do, instead of what the Lord wanted. There is a spirit today that will tell you “Jesus loves me and I can do anything I want…” While it is true that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty, that is within reason. For example, you don’t get to kill your neighbor.

 Jesus said “take My yoke upon you and learn from Me” then you will find rest for your souls. It means that we can let Him have the reigns. We don’t have to worry and strive to make things happen. We pull our share and let Him choose the direction and the field. The work load is balanced as He sees fit. We don’t have to worry about what others are doing and try to copy them. We listen to the Master.

 Breaking horses so they can be used has been around a long time, and it is traumatic for the horse at first, but every single horse that you see a person riding that is disciplined and tamed, was first broken. They get over it and learn to work with others.

 If you expect the Lord to use you, then expect first to be broken. Moses was a prime example. When he was a young man, he was a fiery man who killed an Egyptian for beating one of the Hebrews (Exodus 2:12). Yet later he became the most humble man on Earth (Numbers 12:3). Jacob wrestled with God all night until he was broken and changed (Genesis 32:25). The Apostle Paul was broken on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:8) and was never the same. David wrote this in Psalm 51:15: "O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise." (Psalm 51:15–17 NKJV)

It boils down to humility, and God is certainly able to bring it. He works differently in each of our lives, and you may not have to go through what others do. You may already be broken and humble, but I want to share a story from my own life. When I was young and dumb, fresh out of seminary with a degree, and had read the Bible through a few times, I felt like I knew a lot about it. It’s always like that at the beginning, for you don’t know how much you don’t know. Thank the Lord that He was smart enough to not allow me to go into the ministry then.

As the years passed, I learned more about life. I loved and lost. I learned that a lot of what I had been taught over the years was fairy tales and the traditions of men. I stopped repeating things that I had merely heard but not actually researched. Eventually I felt completely empty, like I knew nothing at all except that Jesus is real, and that we should love God and love others.

Then our computer business dried up and we were out of work for months while our debts rose until our credit card maxed out. When we could no longer pay the electric bill, we began packing to move out of our house and in with family until we could find somewhere to work. The week that we were sorting our things to decide what to take with us and what to do with the rest, I came into this room and sat down on a bean bag in the corner where I used to pray.

I didn’t pray anymore. I felt that God had abandoned me, for I had prayed for months with my face to the carpet until I had no more tears, and yet things grew worse. It was because what I wanted was not what He wanted. I was angry, I was hurt, I felt abandoned, but other than that, I was empty. I had no answers, no job, no money, and He was silent.

When I sat down on that bean bag that Tuesday morning, I had a vision open up in front of me like a movie screen, and I saw myself climbing into a boxing ring and lacing up the gloves. He spoke these words that I will never forget: “You are not alone for I AM in your corner, and I have prepared you for this day. Now get in there and fight!”

By that Friday I was a Pastor, and a friend stepped in and paid all of our bills for the month. Everything suddenly changed for us and that led us later to start Refreshing Hope Ministries. The Lord waited until I was completely broken, completely empty, without even the strength to pray, before He began to use me in His service. I no longer kick and buck and question Him. I no longer know what is best, and I look to Him for the direction. I’m broken.

You can pray this with me if you like:

Prayer: Heavenly Father, my life is Yours. Please come and direct my paths. Lead me and help me make the right decisions. Give me the grace to take Your yoke on my shoulders and to learn to trust You, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen.

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