A Broken Spirit
We have thought that an entirely surrendered will is necessary to bring us into a life of victory, but that is not enough. There must be also a broken spirit which will enable us to accept God’s will joyfully without chafing.
A surrendered will and a broken spirit are not the same thing. The will is in the realm of the intellect, and corresponds to the law. The spirit is in the realm of the heart, and corresponds to grace. A surrendered will alone does not bring overcoming power.
God, by the hand of Moses, called out His people Israel. He delivered them by power and great might, many times causing them to stand awestruck and dumb, as at Sinai, before His lightning and thunders.
When face to face with God’s power, they were very penitent, and said, "All this will we do," but as soon as the trial was over, thirst quenched, or hunger appeased, they fell to murmuring and complaining against God and His way of working, thus disclosing the fact that though the will surrendered and said, "We will do," their spirit was unbroken and wanted its own way, and rebelled inwardly against God’s way.
That whole nation, for forty years, though following on, chafed against and questioned God, until all save two perished in the wilderness, and the record gives us the secret of their victory. They had "another spirit," an obedient, broken spirit (Numbers 14:24;32:11-12;Deuteronomy 1:36).
I was made to realize that this unbrokenness of spirit was the cause of many difficulties and failures in Christian experience.
Break Me, Lord! Bend Me!
The purpose of God is that our spirit as well as our will may yield to Him, and thus the whole nature be brought under His reign and be responsive to Him. The reason that we see so many Christians living a life of struggle and failure is because they have refused to be exercised by, and yielded to, the chastening hand of God. They are wholly unbroken in spirit.
Paul is an example of brokenness of spirit. In the ninth chapter of Acts we have his conversion, where with one masterly stroke of Almighty God, the riotous, persecuting Saul is changed to the ever-obedient, broken-spirited Paul. What happened to Paul in that hour must happen sometime to every living man or woman who would know a life of victory over the flesh.
We have in Acts 9:5-6: "And he said, Who art Thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?"
Saul found what was the matter with him; he had been kicking against God, and as soon as he saw it, he surrendered, and God took the kick out of him. He said, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" not as the terrified keeper of the prison, who yielded because of fear, and said, "What must I do?" (Acts 16:30).
Slain with Him That We Might Reign with Him
The will is always saying: "What must I do?" But a broken spirit ever says, "What wilt Thou have me to do?" I saw that the kick is in our spirit, not in our will.
Here is where many dear ones fail. They are perfectly sure God is speaking, and they do not actually intend to disobey. Like the Israelites they say, "We will do," but they do it with a "kick" in their spirit, which destroys peace and hinders blessing.
God made me see how one could be even willing to go to the stake, and yet to do so with a wholly unbroken spirit, utterly at variance with Him who said, "Lo, I come to do Thy will, O God." And whether it was success or bitterest persecution, it was all the same, "I delight to do Thy will"--no chafing, no resistance, no questioning, but absolute brokenness of spirit (Psalm 40:7-8).
Had it been otherwise, His mission on earth would have been a failure. Can you imagine Jesus all His life obeying His Father, but His spirit chafing, and crying out at every step to be eased or released from the trial, the burden lifted or the circumstances changed?
It is not alone His utter surrender of will that excites our admiration, but it is the consciousness that His whole being went with the will in glad obedience, and thus we learn the meaning of the Lamb slain. And we, His bride, are to be united to this Lamb. How can we unless we too have been slain?
The Wrong Spirit
Much has been spoken and written on the subject of death to the self-life, and much honest effort has been put forth on the part of those seeking an overcoming life, but alas, all our efforts have not left us dead, but more like the prophets of Baal on Carmel, only hewed and hacked until body, soul and spirit are bruised and sore and aching.
What then, is the way out, for if honest desire and effort will not bring victory, where are we? I saw that something is radically wrong with us, that the root I had been seeking is in a wrong spirit.
It is just as necessary that we have a right spirit as a clean heart--a heart that is cleansed from sin, and a spirit broken, the "kick" taken out. How are we to obtain it? We are told in Ezekiel 36:26: "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you." My heart simply leaped with joy as I saw that God had provided a way out.
"A new spirit will I put," no efforts of mine, but a work of God, a creation, as it were, of a new human spirit, a displacing of the old, unbroken spirit by a new one that will yield, that will be obedient, that will not chafe, but will be utterly and forever one with God. Oh, what a divine relief!
Conviction of Need
What we have to do is to feel our need, bring it to Him and make the exchange. What will happen then? He tells us in Ezekiel 36:27: "And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you (not help you) to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them."
People are crying out for revival and the Spirit’s outpouring. I saw the reason it is not given. God will not baptize your or my flesh with His Spirit.
Of the sacred oil, it is said, "Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured" (Exodus 30:32). He does not baptize our intellect, but the Holy Spirit comes upon our spirit, and He gives wisdom through the heart, instead of the head. David saw after his one great sin what he needed was a broken spirit (Psalm 51:17).
This is why God often takes up one of no culture, and little intellectual power, and like the case of Sammy Morris, the African Kru boy, so baptizes him or her with the Holy Ghost that they become a wonder unto many.
"God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty" (1 Corinthians 1:27). If it were not so, man would use God instead of God using man. He does graciously put His Spirit upon man at times, and there is real Pentecostal power, but man cannot be trusted with power, so that this intermittent life is the best God can do for an unbroken spirit.
But when once the will is surrendered and the new spirit received, it is upon this spirit that God says, "I will put My Spirit," and a life of power and victory is assured.
As you read these lines, give to Him the old, hard, unbroken spirit, and let Him put within you the new, and life will be a joy. Whether you are called to "scrub or preach," it will be all the same; for like our Lord, you will say, "I delight to do Thy will."
The character and work of many an honest Christian bears the label "unbroken," and that is the reason that He permits many trials that are beyond our understanding, beyond our faith, even beyond endurance, not only that the will may surrender, but that we may be pressed to exchange our human spirit, which is forever warring with God, for the new spirit promised us, which is broken, teachable, humble and lowly (2 Corinthians 1:8-11).
Jesus tells us His yoke must be upon us and we learn of Him (Matthew 11:28-30).
Through His All-Sufficiency
In Ezekiel 36:37 He tells us how this heart of stone, this hard unbroken spirit will be taken away. "I will...be enquired of...to do it for them."