Through the Furnace: Your “Sweetly Broken” Journey
workbook for those who like to read about someone else’s journey, think deeply
about their own, ask the hard questions, challenge themselves, and journal.
Intro 1: Do You Want More?
10:10, Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the
let me ask this:How many of us really
feel that we are living our lives to the fullest?Abundant lives?Vibrant lives?Eternally-effective lives?I’m going to suspect that most of us are just
hoping to make it through the day, maybe accomplishing one extra chore on our
To Do list.Just so we can fall
exhausted into bed, and then wake up tomorrow and do it all over again.
overloaded, stretched-thin, and ready to break . . . or we’re just plain
bored.We feel alone, unimportant, and
overlooked.We go through the motions
each day without any sense of deep joy or satisfaction or accomplishment.Does anything we do really matter?We desperately want life to be “more”. . . or
we just really want a vacation.
Christian life isn’t very exciting to us, either.It’s not the joyful journey that we expected
it to be.It feels like work.We have to smile pleasantly, sing and pray
well, serve our time, and look like we have it all together so that we can measure
up to others and impress God.Or . . .
we’re just plain bored.Church is all
just monotonous messages, sleepy music, and an hour of trying not to fall
asleep.But at least we had a chance to
get our grocery list planned . . . if we managed to stay awake.And we got our brownie point for the day just
by being there.Right?
this abundant, vibrant life that we were promised?What does that even look like?Where is the love and joy and peace?Life is just so hard and discouraging, feeling
like it’s all up to us.Always trying,
yet never feeling good enough.And we
wonder why we are so tired and why life is joyless.
doesn’t have to be this way.There is a
different way, a better way.The way of
14:2:“The Lord looks
down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any
who seek God.”
Maybe you’re thinking, Okay, so I
am ready to start this challenge.I want
to become diligent in my relationship with the Lord.I want to draw ever nearer to Him and to live
a life that is glorifying to Him.I want
to be humbled at His feet.I want Him to
prune away anything that may be hindering my relationship with Him, so that I
can have a deeper, more genuine, more vibrant relationship with Him.How can I do this?How can I become Sweetly Broken?
of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not
Okay, if you
are still reading this then I would guess that you have a genuine desire to be
broken, or at least you’re curious about it.And the first step to brokenness is seeing your need for it and desiring
step, all you need to do is pray.
It does not
need to follow any formula or specific words, just tell God of your desire to
be humbled.(There’s a sample prayer at
the end of this post.)He doesn’t need
fancy words or long prayers, but He does need us to open our hearts to
him.He needs our invitation.He needs us to express our willingness to be
Honesty with yourself and transparency with the Lord!
12:22:“The Lord detests
lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.”
5:8:“Blessed are the
pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Pure.Being free from impurities.Impurities are those things that pollute what
is true and genuine and good.And what
pollutes a true, genuine, good relationship with the Lord (and pollutes even
our own lives) are falsehood and lies.Hiding
from truth and hiding the truth.Deliberately living a lie or unconsciously agreeing with one.These keep us from being able to really
experience, see, and know God.But if we
will live authentic, transparent lives before God, we will know Him (and
ourselves) in a way we never could before.
so much of a step to go through, but something that we need to commit to for
this whole journey.Well, our whole
lives, really.Honesty is half the
battle, because living a life of lies prevents any growth and keeps our hearts
closed to God.And I’m not even necessarily
talking here about deliberate lies.We
know when we are deliberately lying to others, ourselves, and God.And we won’t fess up to those until we want
But what I
am mostly concerned with here are the lies that we don’t even realize we are living
or agreeing with.They could be lies we
believe about ourselves or God, or truths that we refuse to see.And we don’t usually know that they are
there.We just have a vague (or strong,
vivid) sense that something is “off” in our lives or our relationship with
God.(Or we are simply refusing to see
that things are “off,” which is probably the case a lot more than we know.)
46:10:“Be still and
know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in
That is one
of my favorite verses.I’m working on a
goal right now to find my top five “life verses” and that is one of them.And it’s funny because when I was in high
school, I went to a Christian retreat and that was the key verse for the week.And all I could think was, How
boring!What a boring verse to pick to
inspire, challenge, and “activate” the teens for Christ.Be still?Blah!
this verse has become so dear to me.So,
I guess I’ve come full circle.
To me, this
verse is all about humility.A humble
person is one who has learned to trust in God’s goodness, love, and
faithfulness so much that, despite the storms that rage around, they can “be
still” because God is God!A humble
person desperately desires to be near the Lord and to bask in His presence, and
so they have learned the importance of being physically and mentally still with
the Lord at times.And a humble person
also knows that everything is about God’s glory!He will be exalted!!!
Oh, I love
But it took me a long time to learn
to be still because, deep down, I couldn’t trust others, not even God.I couldn’t “be still” before Him because I
was too busy and concerned with keeping all the balls up in the air.And as a consequence, I never knew the
incredible joy and delight and peace of resting in His arms.Of being still.
I would have
to say that of all the pieces, I think that this one is the most
important.(If any one of them can be
considered more important than the others.)And I’m not saying this like God necessarily needs our obedience
or else He’ll be at a helpless loss.But
because obedience says the most about our relationship with God.Obedience tells us if we are able to hear His
messages and if we know His Word, if we trust Him enough and are willing enough
to do what He says, and if we love Him and have really made Him God of our
lives.Let’s take a moment to explore
some of what the Bible says about obedience: