God, God's Power, Obedience, Personal, Satan/sin/evil/temptatioon, Surrender, The Gospel

If At First You Don’t Succeed, Give Up.

How often have we heard someone say something like, “I’m trying to be a good Christian.” Have you overheard some church folks say, “He’s got some real strongholds, but he’s trying to do better.” Or have you heard someone say, “I’ve tried and tried, but I just can’t stop looking at pornography.”

The operative word here is “try”. As long as we’re doing the trying nothing will ever get broken. If at first you don’t succeed, you won’t ever succeed. Because you can’t.

Self Is A Four-Letter Word

When you or someone else uses the word “try” that means that “self” is taking on responsibility. And that is a bad thing. No brokenness on the horizon when self’s on the landscape.

Self tries to live the Christian life. Self does Christian work. Self loves to chair committees. Self likes to volunteer in the food pantry and the clothes closet. Self likes to read Scriptures in the Sunday morning service and sing in the choir. Self loves to teach Bible Study.

No wonder self needs breaking.
No, no. Don’t put this off on someone else you think of at church or at work. Self is you, buster. Self is you, ma’am. Self is me.

Self likes to take leadership positions. Self gets envious and irritable and arrogant.  Self thinks it knows best. Self gets envious and resentful and critical. Self worries. Self gets full of self. Self stands up for her rights. Self knows how it would do things around its church. Self pouts. Self is unyielding in its attitudes towards others. Self looks for greener grass. Self is judgmental. Self is self-conscious. Self takes criticism personally.

Self is such a failure.

No wonder we need breaking. As long as self is in control God can do little in us or through us.

Self Needs To Be Broken

But you don’t break your will to God’s by yourself. God has been working on you so you might consider replacing “self” with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control (Look in Galatians 5).  God’s bringing pressure on you to show you how much better He is at doing things you keep trying to do but fail. His conviction is continuous, which means we’ll have to be broken continuously. Over and over. Day after day. Sometimes hour after hour.

Jesus Allowed Himself To Be Broken

Think about that. Jesus, the Son of God, God Himself, voluntarily allowed Himself to be completely broken. He was willing to give up all His rights, never own a home or have any possessions of His own, to allow men to revile Him (without retaliating against them or defending Himself), then be dragged to Calvary and crucified for your sin and mine.

You see, according to 2 Corinthians 10:4, “We are always carrying around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our bodies.” It is only by a constant dying to that sorry failure “self” that Jesus is able to reveal His life in us and through us. Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If anyone would come after me he must deny himself, take up his cross DAILY and follow me.”

To be an authentic follower of Jesus, then, every (EVERY) one must be more important than we think we are.  The degree to which we are willing to die to self and serve others will show how (and “if”) we are serving others.

All day long the choice is before us. It means yielding to everyone who cuts in front of us on the Interstate, everyone who humiliates us, everyone who cheats us, everyone who lies to us. If we’re going to follow Jesus, we must crucify self and yield to others.

The only life that pleases God is His life — never our life. Our self-centered life is the exact opposite of His life. And we can never be filled with His life unless we are prepared for God to constantly bring our life to the cross, break it and crucify it. So all we have in us is Him and Him alone.

I’m so blessed that you stopped by my blog. Did you enjoy reading about brokenness? Or did it make you feel a little uncomfortable? Good! To both questions. If you enjoyed reading, why not subscribe to my blog? Just go to my home page, click on Subscribe, then enter your email address. You’ll get an email notification each time I publish a new post.

Did you feel uncomfortable? That could mean the Holy Spirit is prompting you to look a little closer at your life. Examine your heart. He may be telling you you’ve got something in your life you need to be broken.

Thanks again for stopping by and may God richly bless you.

7 thoughts on “If At First You Don’t Succeed, Give Up.

  1. Wonderful message, Steve! This is something I need to constantly be reminded of. It’s like John 3:30: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
    I love this line you wrote: “God’s bringing pressure on you to show you how much better He is at doing things you keep trying to do but fail.”


    1. Terry,
      I’m sorry, but I did not find your email address on my mailing list. This is a blog and not a website, so I have no ability to unsubscribe anyone. The only thing I know to do is to ask you to “Follow” my blog, then “unfollow” it once you are a follower. I have more than 600 followers (not bragging) and lots of people who visit from Twitter, Pinterest, and more. Frankly, I don’t know where some of my followers are even located. I’m afraid I can’t be much help to you. I don’t want anyone to receive my blog posts who doesn’t want to receive them, but I’m at a loss as to what to advise you. Maybe if I knew the source of your contact with me I could help. Another thing I can suggest, if we can’t get the messages stopped any other way, is to create a filter in your email client to delete my post notification emails when they arrive. I’m sorry you’re angry about this. I want to help. I hope these suggestions will.


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