This is a letter that I wrote to my wife a week before we started to date. We had begun a conversation about the hardships in our lives and deep sin that we had walked through. It was difficult, but it was real and it was beautiful. Somehow, we hung up the phone before midnight and I immediately jumped on my computer and wrote this to her. Over the past year and a half, Beauty in the Brokenness has become a theme for our lives. We are constantly seeing how God’s grace is magnified in the places where our brokenness has been most evident. We pray that this letter invites you to be honest about your brokenness and receive the grace that Jesus has for you.
- Brokenness is essential to receiving Jesus.
The inheritance of receiving Jesus does not come to perfect people, but to imperfect people. Jesus said numerous times, “I did not come for the well, but for the sick.” He makes the case over and over that the neediest people will be the most satisfied with Jesus. In contrast, the people who have no need, or think that they have no need, will miss Jesus. He did not come to seek and save the found, but the lost.
If people never know their need for Jesus, then their relationship with God will take on a posture of thinking that they can give to God what they should be receiving from God. We don’t add to God’s value, He adds to our value. In the story of Mary and Martha, Martha was mad that Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet while Martha was trying to serve Jesus. And Jesus gently let Martha know that Mary had the good portion.
The point: Martha tried to cultivate relationship with God by giving to Him. Mary cultivated relationship with God by receiving from Him. Jesus validated Mary’s posture, not Martha’s.
God is graciously molding us to find a posture of receiving from Him. And not just so that we can then give what He has given. God so loved the world that He GAVE His Son. God wants us to know the one that He loves, His Son. He gave Him as a gift. If we only relate to God by doing stuff for Him, then we will miss the point of our relationship with Him; what He is giving to us – Himself. Out of the overflow of receiving, then, we give. Not only that, but the greatest thing that we can give is an invitation to receive from Jesus. We don’t leave the well where we drink deeply – we invite people to join us. We were made to first enjoy Jesus.
2. God chooses, uses, and loves the broken people.
The only perfect person in the Bible is Jesus. That’s why he had to come. In terms of guiltiness before Him – we all stand equal. The person that lied to their mom once stands as guilty before God as the person that did drugs and had a child out of wedlock. The ongoing repercussions may be different, but in terms of God’s view of people, He does not love anyone else more than you. This is important. Billy Graham stands equally as broken before the throne as you and I. Only Jesus can represent us. You have an Advocate. Anyone that tries to represent themselves will fail. God does not reward us or see us on our credit but on the righteousness of Jesus. He stands up for you and speaks for you, and the Father receives the sacrifice and the plea of the Son. He fully loves you as His daughter, as He loves Jesus as His own son.
Consider notable… all of the people in the Bible:
Adam screwed up history for mankind… thanks Adam. Noah was a drunk. David was an adulterer/murderer. Abraham was a heathen. Moses was a murderer, fearful man.
These are the kinds of people that God pursues because He wants to display something; His righteousness, not theirs. He wants to give them something that they could never earn – He wants to give them Himself. He showed up to them personally. He brought redemption to their lives. Through them, He brought Jesus in the flesh. God has always made a point to use people that have a great need for Him.
Seriously think about that for a moment. Why would you compare yourself to anyone else, or think that you are unworthy of God’s love? You’re the very person He wants to demonstrate His love towards… it is amazing, and we don’t deserve it, but that’s what makes it true love.
3. Jesus took your place.
Who ultimately decided that Jesus should die? Jesus said, “not my will, but your will be done.” Greater than the will of Pontius Pilate, greater than the will of the Jews, greater than the will of His disciples was the will of God the Father to kill His own Son for you and me. He did this, because sin has a penalty – death. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” God, in His love does not bypass sin because sin violates holiness and perfect love. If there were no punishment for sin, then wrongs would never be made right, and we could never have fellowship with God. So, God’s love is never without judgement; He loves what is good, and hates what is evil. Ultimately, what is good, is God, and what is evil is anything that falls short of God.
God decided to deal with sin and extend His love to us by placing our sin on Jesus, and place Jesus righteousness on us. The Father unleashed His wrath on His Son, because our sin was placed upon Him. And now, we have been placed in Jesus and we receive the blessing and the joy of the Father that He has for Jesus. All that the Father gives Jesus, He gives to us. This is because Jesus took our place. He took your place. It. Is. Finished.
Making My Point
So, what’s the point?
I think that if you had a perfect past, these truths wouldn’t mean anything to you. Your identity and significance are not just bound to this world. For eternity you will have full joy because you will see Jesus for who He is and have intimate fellowship with Him.
Your past was the ticket to being introduced to Jesus. You fell, but He picked you up and carries you. The narrative of Him carrying you will forever outshine the narrative of you falling.
God dealt with your past once and for all, that is your reality and you have been set free. He sacrificed His Son for you. The sacrifice pleased God. Now, when you come to Him, you come to Him by the identity of His Son. This is His grace, which produces your faith, and it pleases God. He doesn’t hold your past against you, because you are held in Jesus and He does not see you by Jesus’ account and your account. He only sees you through the lens of Jesus’ righteousness. He doesn’t see your record; He sees Jesus’ record. Yes, your past was damaging. Yes, there are memories. Yes, there are pieces of evidence. But those were also the moments when Jesus walked with you, and carried you, and called you to Himself. He looked at you dead in your sin, and said, I love you. Like the woman caught in adultery, He says, “where are they? Does no one condemn you? Neither do I condemn you.” And now you impact people around you. And now you love your daughter selflessly, sacrificially. So much Jesus is on display in your life. The people that walk into your life see the monument of your past, but they say; that’s a nice fountain – because there is life shooting up out of you.
You do not have a subpar calling or Christian life. He will never give you His second best, because He has already given you the best. You should believe this about His love for you. He doesn’t withhold any good thing from you.
He doesn’t deal with you according to your past. Don’t think for a second that reality will hit eventually because of your past. You don’t serve Buddha, and karma can’t touch you. You have been bought with a price, the price was Jesus, and the Father loves you like He loves His own Son.
Addressing the Deep Theme:
When God chose you in Him before the foundation of the world so that you should be holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4), Adam and Eve hadn’t even been created yet. They had not yet sinned. You weren’t even alive yet, and God chose you to be in Him. In order for you to be in Jesus, Jesus had to come to die for sin. In order for Jesus to die for sin, Adam and Eve had to fall. But, they hadn’t fallen yet.
God’s plan all along was not for perfect people to live in a garden with God, but for broken people to experience the eternal performance of Jesus on display.
Plan A included redemption in Jesus, which meant our brokenness, our need for Him. While God did not cause us to sin, and sin is hurtful and separates us from God – God has ordained that through the sin of men He would show up in His fullness and paint all over the black canvas with the vibrant colors of His grace.
The point is that more of Jesus is on display in the world because our fallen-ness is on display.
This is grace. Through our weakness, He gave us something better – Jesus.
If the world was just perfect people walking around then we would never know redemption, grace, forgiveness, resurrection. We would never know Jesus.
Personally, I do not envy the people that have perfect lives. They miss out on the one who can make them beautiful. Who you are, your life, and Jesus in your life is vibrantly beautiful. It outshines those who don’t know their brokenness. It outshines the people who have the perfect Little House on the Prairie families.
It is Jesus; He gets the glory, and we get the grace.
Your life is broken, but your life is more beautiful.
For the #joysetbeforeme,