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  • Don Walker

Spiritual Brokenness


The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:16-17)


The subject of “spiritual brokenness” was a frequent topic addressed from pulpits many years ago. Today it has gone out of vogue, and it seems to be seldom preached in many evangelical churches. This could be due to the way it was too often preached in times past, which was negative and created a “morbid introspection” which missed the point altogether. Because the message of spiritual brokenness is, in reality, not a negative message, but a positive one. It is the pathway to usefulness and the fulfillment of our purposes in God. God breaks us in order to “remake” us.


Jeremiah was shown this important lesson in Jeremiah 18, when the LORD tells him to “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words. So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at the wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. Then the word of the LORD came to me: ‘O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? Declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.”


Like the clay vessel on the potter’s wheel, we are “spoiled” (The Hebrew word can also be translated as “corrupted.”) and like the clay vessel we must be “reworked.” In order for the potter to do that, the vessel must be smashed, crushed, destroyed, i.e. broken, to be reworked. The end result will be a good and useful vessel, but it must be first broken.


The breaking process of God is unique to each of His children. The ways and means of breaking us is chosen by the Father to best fit the vessel. But bear in mind that the Father’s breaking is an act of love. Like the doctor, who must break the bone of the child, in order to reset it. The Father never breaks us more than is necessary.


It is only after our being broken that we become of use to the Master. The Bible tells us the “case histories” of God’s breaking His various servants. These dealings of God are recorded in order to be a source of encouragement to us, as God takes us through the breaking process. Consider the life of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, and Jonah, just to name a few in the Old Testament. Consider the life of Peter and Paul, chosen and anointed, apostles and servants of Christ. Were they not broken vessels of honor? In fact, the greater the destiny, the greater the breaking.


When the breaking comes, as it does for all of God’s servants, embrace it. In the midst of your pain, remember it is the hand of a loving Father behind it all.

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