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I have been recently thinking a lot about the issue of brokenness. A state of our heart that we often want to overlook, dismiss and wash away in so much of our feel-good Christianity. I am increasingly convinced that brokenness is essential if a follower of Christ truly wants to follow Christ. It is a broken and contrite heart that God will not refuse (Psalm 51). Brokenness is a key, unmissable component in transformation. I cannot think of a Christian leader in scripture or life worthy of my admiration; God hasn’t broken that before God uses him. When the pieces of our life are shattered, God can put the puzzle together for us.

The prophet Jeremiah is a guy who knew about brokenness. In Jeremiah 31:18-19, he writes the following –“You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me; I will return because you are the LORD my God. After straying, I repented; after I understood, I beat my breast. I was ashamed because I bore the disgrace of my youth.”

Within these words are five tenants of what I believe genuine, authentic brokenness before God should like:

1) Realize your brokenness. Jeremiah calls, “Restore me.” To know of a need for restoration begins by understanding that something isn’t as it should be.

2) Repent. After straying into broken sin, he realized that walking the path of repentance (“to change behavior”) was the only therapeutic option. Sometimes I am good at apologizing, but often I fail miserably at repentance. There can be no transformation without repentance.

3) Understand. What was it that was wrong? What was destructive in your actions, behavior, and thoughts? How did it happen? How should it be prevented?

4) Guilt. Jeremiah ‘beat his breast.’ This showed his anger, frustration, and guilt about his actions. While a million self-help books tell us to rid ourselves of guilt, guilt can be a God-given gift to help us change our behavior.

5) Humility. Not only was the Prophet ashamed, he was humiliated as well… on his own, he had nothing left, nothing to offer; he wanted to ground to swallow him up. Why? Because brokenness shatters pride.

When was the last time you were broken and embraced it?

Embrace brokenness.

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