Harry Ironside said it well - "God is not looking for brilliant men, is not depending upon eloquent men, is not shut up to the use of talented men in sending His Gospel out in the world. God is looking for the broken men who have judged themselves in the light of the Cross of Christ. When He wants anything done, He takes up men who have come to the end of themselves, whose confidence is not in themselves, but in God."
When we consider effectiveness in ministry as a leader or a Christian worker we must understand that a powerful spiritual work of God in a city, a family or in an individual's life is contingent on brokenness. For it is only then that the Treasure is revealed and lives are transformed forever. Without brokenness our preaching and serving are powerless and we struggle in frustration as we labor seeing no release from sin, addictions, from the system of the world and the bondage of fear.
You see, Gideon's army had to break the earthen clay jars in Judges 7 for the blinding light to shine out - thus effectively sending the enemy into chaos and defeat. It hasn't changed, the same goes for today - our clay earthen vessels need to be broken in that dramatic way as in millennia past so that the Treasure of the Light of Jesus Christ be shone forth to send the enemy scurrying away. "Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us." 2 Cor 4.7 (Holman).
But what you may ask is being broken? When Paul talks about the outer man being broken - what actually is being broken? Is it the physical body? Then ensuing circumstances in a famine or war or some other catastrophe? When we traveled to the former Yugoslavian provinces after the war in the '90s we expected to see broken people open for the good news of the Gospel. But instead we discovered bitter and war hardened people. Not broken at all. That is because very rarely do externals break people. Sin doesn't break. We hear people say, "that brother's sin and lifestyle will eventually break him", but that is incorrect. Sin hardens people, poverty may make people arrogant with entitlement.
But what actually needs to be broken? The flesh? The body? Neither. It is the soul-life. Jesus said it in Matthew 16:24-25 “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." - The word He used for "life" in saving and losing was the word that points to the human soul - "psuche". Jesus in affect was saying that it's in the soul-life that loss takes place - not the physical body. The soul-life is that place where identity and personal preference resides. It's where our opinions, thoughts and value system lives. It is in essence who we are.
Thus the soul-life must be interrupted, disturbed, offended - broken. Otherwise we serve in the power of our soul which is limited, and ineffective. If we as a pastor, leader, or someone that as responsibility in the ministry of family - are not broken we serve in the power of our soul which is finite. The result is always the same. Burnout. Refreshment doesn't take place in the soul but rather in our spirit. It is the Spirit, the Word and Anointing that quickens, transforms and sets people free - Is 10.27. When true brokenness takes place then the Anointing iss revealed and people's chains fall off.
Brokenness is not something I get to declare to God - "behold God I have made myself broken!", no it does not work that way. He breaks us as He broke the bread that had surrendered powerless in his Hands at the Last Supper. Then and only then can your life be shared and nourish the disciples. Otherwise we are useless in the Kingdom.
What broke the Prodigal Son from his chain sinning? It wasn't the terrible circumstances that he found himself in but rather when he remembered the Father's love in the household. There is only one thing that truly breaks us and that is His Grace. Rom 2.4 - "It is His goodness that leads ... to repentance"
Take Peter for example. He with the others had labored all night fishing "catching nothing" - Lk 5.5. Yet at the Rhema of Christ Peter let down the net having come to the end of his own energy and professional experience in the matter. It was at that moment that the catch came and it was so large and so abundant. Upon the miracle happening Peter fell to his knees before Christ broken saying "depart from me for I am a sinful man". It is only the miraculous goodness of God that break us.
Yet we fight the process of 2 Cor 4.8-9 having no idea that it is from God. We react, fight, squirm, complain and pray against the very thing that God desires to lead us to brokenness so that He may shine through us. It is imperative we discern the work of God and not be ignorant of His Will - Col 1.9.
When God's Gracious Plan is surrendered to and we cease from our own selves and all that self desires to do for God or for self, then He causes Light to shine out of darkness 2 Cor 4.6. But the vessel must be broken first for the power of His Grace rest upon us and His Strength is made perfect in our weakness - 2 Cor 12.9
It is so sad to observe a well loved, high profile Christian, who for many years served God then fall on very hard times and they act like a child throwing a spiritual tantrum with no understanding of any aspect of God's Will and His desire to bless. I may sound harsh and insensitive, I do not want to make light of anyones' calamity - but let us not be ignorant of His Plan to break us with His Goodness.
Remember the endgame of His Doings is to shine though us and pour out a blessing on our lives as He did with Job of old and that lives would be changed. People need to see HIM and that only happens when our soulish clay-vessel is broken. Then and only then we are truly happy and content!