And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, Behold, this One is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign spoken against
(yea, a sword shall pierce through your own soul also), so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. – Luke 2:34-35
I was lying in bed last night, meditating, processing stuff, and not having a terribly good time of it, actually. It was strange – I was partially at peace, but not fully there. And then finally it seemed that my defenses collapsed. I realized that I was experiencing manifest spiritual brokenness.
I don’t know if you’ve had this problem, but at times I’ve had a hard time discerning whether it was the devil or the Lord I was up against. That probably sounds like an outlandish or even heretical statement to some readers, but while I have no trouble discerning the Lord’s invisible hand at some levels, at others I’m not sure what’s going on or who’s “doing the doing”. It’s like Joshua on the eve of taking Jericho, coming upon a imposing man with sword drawn standing before him. Joshua knew something was going on, but not quite what. He had to ask whose side this “Man” was on – before he knelt down and worshiped -Josh 5. I’m learning that when I’m not sure, I need to wait for the Lord to reveal Himself. Nothing good comes from fighting God.
Laying there, I knew it was the Lord. The experience was painful at one level (“a sword shall pierce your heart“), but there was no evil in it. This was a point of repentance and consecration, in the context of worship. There was no price not worth paying for the incomparable riches of union with God. If my flesh had to burn in the process, so be it.
Jesus said of Himself, “he who falls on this Stone shall be broken, but on whomever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder” -Mt 21:44. When the encounter comes, it’s much better to fall on Jesus than to have Him fall on you. The process of brokenness is how a sovereign God takes ownership and possession of His vessel. It is not a process that should be delayed or resisted. It should be submitted to, whatever the cost.
Every one of us at some point must be broken, because our flesh cannot glory before God.
The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the pride of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day. – Isa 2:11
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2Cor 4:7), but unless the outer vessel is broken, the treasure is trapped inside. And Jesus, speaking as the wise husbandman of our souls, tells us that no man hides his light under a bushel.
As a military strategy, Gideon hid torches in pitchers, and then at the right moment broke the pitchers to reveal the light. He then went on the attack and won a mighty victory for the Lord. As the Master Strategist, at the right moment Jesus will break through our flesh in order to set our spirit free, that our union with Him will become manifest and we will be empowered to penetrate this present darkness with His Kingdom light. This will happen to all who are serious about the lordship of Christ, and it is not to be avoided. In Christ, those who fall will rise again, in the new power of the Spirit.