There is no such thing as a self-made man or woman in the Kingdom of God. “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make” (Jeremiah 18:4).
Several years ago I read a book called Serve in Spirit that opened my eyes to the secret of spiritual growth. It was from Watchman Nee. Mr. Nee was a Chinese man born in 1903, saved in 1920, and went on to be one of the greatest Christian teachers of all time. In 1952 he was imprisoned in China because of his faith. He would never see freedom again, and he died at the prison in 1972.
If you want to have a breakthrough, then you need to be prepared for something to be broken. It is those who have been broken down the most that are shaped to all that God would have them to be. “For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.” (Hebrews 12:6).
This book Serve in Spirit opened my spiritual eyes to see the truth and power in how God brings out the spiritual growth in a believer. We think to grow there must be effort on our part and blessings on God’s part. But the opposite is true; we grow in the spirit as our natural is broken away, and the blessing from God is that He arranges it.
“This breaking of the outward to release the spirit is not just a truth to be recognized and a theological doctrine to be understood. It is a work done in man by God in order to make man a useful vessel after he is broken.” (Watchman Nee, Serve in Spirit, pg. 29).
Sometimes He has to break you to make you into something new. “Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up” (Hosea 6:1).
A sculptor uses the hardest tools to make the greatest impact. The Lord does the same with your circumstances. “But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand” (Isaiah 64:8).
Sometimes when telling someone about the book Serve in Spirit, they will tell me how years ago they had read it. And in their words and by their eyes I can tell they are looking down at me as if I were such a young and inexperienced Christian. And in that moment I realize this person may have read his words, but they have not yet been broken by God that the Holy Spirit would reign in them. Pride is always standing on the natural.
You will not have the power of the Holy Spirit unless the power of the Holy Spirit has you. “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Romans 8:13).
The anointed life is not determined by what you take hold of, but what you let go of. We should be, “always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus [crucifying ourselves with Him, dying to self], that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Corinthians 4:10).
Fleshly pride rules in the hearts and minds of so many in our churches. From the occasional visitor to the leaders up front, we can see the pride of man hindering the Spirit of God. It is the flesh that must be crucified that the Spirit would reign in a man or woman. It is the pride of a person that limits what is possible for the life of a person. Pride runs counter to the principles in the kingdom.
The cost of the heavenly life is your earthly life. “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).
If you want to change your life, let Him. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10 RSV).
When we understand the plans of God and the purposes of pain, we can embrace all that God is doing around us. Our suffering can create bitterness inside with anger towards God, or it can produce a brokenness inside with a longing for God. We need not ever pray for a trial as they come without our asking. But let us pray that in the trial God would shape us for His purposes.
The Lord will break you to change you if that is what it takes. “…’ can I not do with you as this potter?’ says the Lord. ‘Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand…’” (Jeremiah 18:6).
Until we are broken and yielded unto God, we are just another zealous soul working counter to the Kingdom of God. The Apostle Paul “…persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. …being more exceedingly zealous…” (Galatians 1:13-14). Then Jesus broke Paul.
I don’t know what God is putting you through, but I pray that you would see how much He loves you. The Lord is making you into something new. Be pliable in His hands. He loves you so much, never forget that, and know that He is always with you.
Blessings to you,
Unless otherwise denoted, the Bible translation used is NKJV.