For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son – Romans 8:29
2 Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.
3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.
4 So Let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.
Athletic coaches desire to achieve maximum effectiveness for each of their players. How do they accomplish this? How do they get the most out of their players? One strategy is to employ frequent informal feedback. Informal feedback can be done at any time and in any location. It allows the players to focus their thoughts and make necessary adjustments in the moment. This allows the players to execute more effectively. Informal feedback should be challenging but never demeaning. It reinforces team values and goals. Determination and grit are frequently more effective motivators than raw talent. Conviction and commitment will beat expertise 70% of the time.
Another strategy seeks to include team players in decision-making. The coach is recognized as the most experienced expert regarding play calling regardless of play situation in the game. Involving the players in making decisions creates a sense of ownership. A sense of ownership improves commitment and performance. Often a simple question is all it takes to get participation: “What could we do better?”
The Father uses similar coaching strategies with the children of the King to develop maturity. Becoming mature is a process. It is not instantaneous. “The conversion of a soul is the miracle of a moment, but the manufacture of a saint is the task of a lifetime” (Alan Redpath ).
In an instant in time, we accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. We are immediately born again and become part of the Father’s Forever Family. On the other hand, the development of wisdom and spirituality takes many years. The Father uses adversity and challenges along with informal feedback to move children of the King along the path to spiritual adulthood. He brings us to the end of ourselves through brokenness. Brokenness is not a one-time thing. The Father often breaks us multiple times on the road to maturity. Brokenness should not be thought of as a destructive process. Rather it is more like taming the powerful wild animal. After the animal is tamed still as powerful as it was before. It simply has its power under control.
The journey to maturity is often undertaken in one of two possible routes. One is man’s way, the other is the Father’s way.
Many children of the King struggle to get to the “top.” They strive to accomplish, accumulate, and acquire stuff or achievements along the way. It is a path of acquisition, holding on, and refusing to let go. The task is grievous and actually never ends. How much is enough? How can we ever know when we have achieved our goals? Sadly, such striving continues throughout their lives without ever gaining the prize.
The Father’s way of brokenness is quite the opposite. Rather than accumulating stuff, we are called upon to release it and discard it. Wrong thinking is to be replaced by Truth. Misplaced priorities are to be rearranged to align with those of the Father. Bad habits, even addictions, are to be in replaced by the habits and passions the Father longs for us to foster, practice, and maintain.
The Father’s game plan is to use brokenness again and again to fulfill His purpose for our lives: maximum effectiveness. In the end, we surrender and simply say, “All that I am and all that I have is Yours Father. He is in me and I am in Him, and that’s all that matters” (Stanley).
Romans 8:29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son.
The Father has a dream for each child. The Father’s goal for us is clearly stated in His word. The Father wants us to become like His Son. He wants us to be whole and complete and lacking in nothing. He wants us to exude the sweet-smelling aroma of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14). He desires that we are characterized by faith, hope, and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). Stephen is the prototype.
Acts 6:5 Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit.
REFLECT & PRAY
“Brokenness is the Father’s requirement for maximum usefulness” (Stanley).
Father life is filled with tears and difficulties. Enable me to recognize and accept the troubles and trials I face as opportunities to grow and develop endurance and completeness.
James 1:4 Let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
We live in an age of fragmentation. As children of the King when trials and troubles come our way, our faith is put to the test. There are two possible responses to any test. When they are faced appropriately, they are harmless and produce the desired result: endurance. When endurance is developed and becomes vibrant it produces the sought-after end of making us complete, lacking in nothing. Instead of being fragmented or shattered within, we are inseverable.
The Greek word translated complete, is holokleros. Something which is Holokleros, is complete in every part, whole, entire, needing nothing. The Greek term translated lacking is leipo. Leipo means to lack, be wanting, to be deficient. The entire process is incremental in nature. When the process is complete, we are fully formed and lacking in nothing, everything we need, we have.
Picture a caterpillar being transformed into a beautiful, lithe butterfly in its cocoon. It only emerges when all the parts are fully formed.
“God knows that soldiers are only made in battle; they are not to be grown in peaceful times .… Warriors are really educated by the smell of powder, in the midst of whizzing bullets and roaring cannonades .… Is He not developing in you the qualities of the soldier by throwing you into the heat of battle, and should you not use every application to come off conqueror?” (Charles Spurgeon)
The Father wants all children of the King to be of maximum effectiveness for the tasks He has in mind for them. To prepare us for future service, He shatters our self-reliance. Each child discovers that only the Lord Jesus Christ can take our weakness and create strength from it.
Keep in mind that God uses brokenness to deepen our understanding in at least three ways:
- You gain a new perspective of His mercy and provision.
- You develop a more complete comprehension of yourself.
- Your compassion and understanding for others’ suffering grow (Stanley).
To live a life of maximum effectiveness, often seems difficult, but it is not merely difficult, it is impossible for mere humans. It requires supernatural empowerment from the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.