Brokenness Met by Jesus

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In my life I’ve felt like it’s not okay to want certain things. In effort to please God, I feel like I need to sacrifice certain things that rival Him so that I won’t get to a place where He is not first in my life. And I chastise my desire on the cutting room floor.

But again and again it comes back. I struggle with what to do about different kinds of desires in walk my with Christ almost daily. Like desire for achievement. Desire for love. Desire for success. Desires for what I want. Some are different than others. Some fade away. Some linger around longer than others. But for the longest time, I have felt like God would be mad at me if I really wanted certain things. As if there is a barometer by which God measures my level of “want.” Or that He would say that I haven’t given up enough for Him. Then I feel antagonizing spiritual attack anytime I have moments where I do indeed think about wanting those things.

Have you ever felt isolated from God in the trappings of your own desires? For me, it makes me feel overwhelmingly weak in God’s presence. I have to bring my heart to Him every time and ask for His perspective to renew my mind…that I am fully loved by Him (Ephesians 3:19), that I belong to Him (Romans 14:8), that there is fullness of joy in Him (Psalm 16:11) and for Him to remind me that He is enough…and He’s always going to be.

And then I realize that, to God, the problem doesn’t lie in what I want, but how I respond to what I want. For too long, I’ve had my perspective all wrong. He’s not looking to punish me for the things within me which he created in the first place. He just wants to teach me an important lesson: how to choose Jesus first.

You see, chastising my desires only goes so far. What I really need to do is choose Jesus. Not rebuke myself. Just choose Jesus. And as He becomes elevated in my life, it becomes much easier to abandon that which I thought I wanted. And then my desires have a purpose. For it turns me to God and teaches me what it means to truly love Him with everything.

There is a response Jesus is waiting for us to utter and it gives purpose every time. Trust. Sacrifice. Obedience. Abiding. Trusting in who He is. Sacrificing what I think I want. Obeying Him no matter what the cost it may have in my life. Abiding in Him when I feel broken.

And its not always easy. There are moments when I’ve thought I had made a mistake by letting go of certain things in my life because of how excruciating it was to let it go. I thought I would feel better about myself in the wake of sacrificing my desires, but it only serves to illustrate the feeble work of my own hands in comparison with God’s grace. And how messed up I realize I really am as I waver back and forth with wanting to pick it back up again. My lack – of every kind – is always illuminated in these moments. And Jesus shines through them to prove to me that I don’t need to have it all together…because He’s holding it all together for me. And these tumultuous moments bring me nearer to Jesus than I’ve ever been, as He guides my emotions and steadies my heart.

By letting go of certain desires in our hearts, we experience what Jesus meant in Matthew 16:25 when He said, “For whoever wants to save His life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Before, I had never really given that verse much extra thought after simply agreeing with it. But only knowing scripture doesn’t always produce effect. Though it’s an essential first step, ultimately we must internalize it and ask Jesus to let that be manifest in our lives. And it makes all the difference.

But in the difficult moments where we sense our “thorn of the flesh” that apostle Paul describes in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 coming back again, we must remember what verse 9 says. Oh it is good. “But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.” Never forget how dangerous you are to the enemy in the surrendering of your weakness. Because that’s the moment where your trust is strongest. God will transform a weakened soul. He will meet with you in deepest parts of who you are…because you know you need Him. And you know you’re powerless without Him.

Now it’s becoming easier to let go of the desires I hope for. And as I surrender all these things, something starts to happen in my soul that breaks barriers between me and God. Brokenness.

This brokenness met by Jesus produces more joy than any desire fulfilled ever has.

I savor the moments of brokenness that I experience because I know that Jesus is here with me, feeling my hurt, comforting my heart, and promising to carry me through it. His bleeding hands cover my very soul, dripping with grace and mercy. And he’s waiting for you too.

God draws near to us as His people when we’re hurting. And as we run to Jesus and let him heal the agony that accompanies what we chose to lay down before him, He’ll meet us with a comfort we’ve never felt before. Be confident in that. Receive it. For that in itself is enough to sustain. We must fight the good fight of the faith, as it says in 1 Timothy 6:12, to choose Jesus! Even when it’s hard to.

The psalmist writes in Psalm 17:15, “But I will see Your face in righteousness; when I awake, I will be satisfied in Your presence.”

We can choose to be bitter over what we do not have. Or we can choose to be satisfied by His presence. We can choose to be disappointed with our current situation. Or we can choose to be grateful for the goodness of God – knowing that anything we do not have is actually a gift in that moment. I pray that God will use our current life situations to mature us in wisdom that will not only bring us all into a closer relationship with Jesus, but will help others who struggle with the same situations.

Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Trust that He has your back! He has your best interest at heart. “Will the One who didn’t even spare His own Son but gave Him up for you and I not also graciously give us all things,” as it says in Romans 8:32? Surely, He will give you all. It’s just a matter of your perspective of what “all” is. If we can get to the point where we trust that Jesus is enough and nothing else will ever satisfy…we will have it all.

Position your heart towards Jesus. Let Him strengthen your heart today. Let Him whisper in your ear the love He has for you. And always will have for you. He’s the only One who can. And He’s always willing. He truly is the one who creates joy from brokenness. May we allow Him to do what He does best and enter our hearts today.

“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in me will ever be thirsty again.” – John 6:35 –

 

Questions for Today:

  • What are the desires of my heart?
  • How would Jesus have me respond to what I want?
  • How can I trust that Jesus cares and has my best interests at heart?
  • Why do I think God lets me wait?
  • What next step is Jesus asking me to take in my relationship with Him today?

“Greater” by MercyMe

Getting to Know Jesus: Daniel: 10:1-21

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The Book of Daniel illustrates the life and visions of the prophet Daniel, who endured the conquering of Jerusalem and exile into Babylon. Though Daniel was sent into foreign lands, He never forsook His God or bowed down before any other rulers. Daniel remained faithful to God and hopeful of the coming day when the Messiah would reign. Because of his faithfulness and loyalty, God began to reveal prophecies to him that are articulated in this book. These prophecies speak of the reigning of Gentile rulers in the world and the ultimate destiny of Israel. Daniel’s steadfast faith in God was known all throughout the region as the famous story recants him being saved from the mouth of hungry lions. Daniel’s integrity and loyalty increased his influence with King Cyrus who conquered Babylon and ended up allowing the Jews to return home to Judah. Daniel’s hope in the Lord is a symbol of the goodness of God always prevailing over the evil of the day. God made a way because of Daniel’s faithfulness and chose to reveal himself to Daniel in some of the most vivid revelations recorded in the Old Testament. Daniel speaks of a vision of a Man in chapter 10 which many believe to be the pre-incarnate Christ. Seeing as how the gospel of John begins by saying, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God and the Word was with God” reveals that Jesus has been present from the beginning of time. Peter talks about Jesus also as being “foreknown before the foundations of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you” in 1 Peter 1:20. I have reason to believe that this is Jesus who Daniel saw in chapter 10, just as in many other passages throughout the Old Testament where the Lord appears. In chapter 10, Daniel sees a vision of the Lord that very few people on earth had seen before, and his reaction gives us a glimpse of just how awe-inspiring it was. Through his recording, we get to know Jesus in his pre-incarnate form, as the one who has always been and always will be, and who stands outside of time to make Himself known to all people. And we see Jesus as one who hears those who cry out to Him. Jesus forever makes himself available to those who long for truth.

Summary of Daniel 10

It is the third year of King Cyrus of Persia, Daniel receives a word from the Lord about the end times and wrath of God, which was revealed in chapter 9; this word is troubling to Daniel since he understands everything that is in the vision; Daniel mourns and fasts for three weeks; on the 24th of the first month, Daniel looks up and sees a vision of a man while standing on the bank of the Tigris River; Daniel describes the radiant and glorious appearance of the man; Daniel informs the reader that he is with others, but the others do not see the man as he does but experience a great trembling; Daniel loses all his strength and becomes pale; Daniel hears the man speaking and immediately falls to the ground; the man touches Daniel, calls him beloved, and sets him upright; Daniel stands trembling; the man reassures Daniel to not be afraid but that because he has humbled himself before God and has set his heart to understand, his words have been heard; the man tells Daniel that he has come because of Daniel’s words; the man tells David that there has been a delay in his coming because “the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me,” which allude to heavenly/spiritual warfare; the man tells Daniel that he has come to tell him what will take place in days yet to come; Daniel then looks to the ground and cannot speak; “one in the likeness of the children of man,” an angel, comes and touches Daniel’s lips and he speaks; Daniel tells the angel that he is unable to articulate all that he has seen because he has no strength or breath left in him; the man touches him, strengthens him and tells him that he is greatly loved, not to fear, to be strong and be of good courage; the man tells him that he must return to fight against the prince of Persia and that soon the prince of Greece will come – alluding to an unseen spiritual war going on contesting for the hearts of the leaders of these nations; the man tells him that he will continue to reveal what will take place, which goes on into chapters 11 and 12; Michael, the angel, intends to contend with the man for these nations.

Jesus in Daniel 10

Jesus reveals a word to Daniel (v. 1)

Jesus appears unexpectedly (v. 5)

Jesus draws near to His people (v. 5)

Jesus is clothed in linen with a belt of fine gold (v. 5)

Jesus’ body is like beryl, a glimmering gem (v. 6)

Jesus’ face shines like lightening (v. 6)

Jesus’ eyes are like flaming torches (v. 6)

Jesus’ arms and legs gleam like burnished bronze (v. 6)

Jesus’ words sound like that of a multitude (v. 6)

Jesus reveals himself only to Daniel (v. 7)

Jesus magnifies his presence to all who were with Daniel (v. 7)

Jesus’ presence causes Daniel’s friends to tremble and hide themselves (v. 7)

Jesus’ appearance and presence cause Daniel to lose all strength at the sight of Him (v. 8)

Jesus’ glory causes our appearance to change in His presence (v. 8)

Jesus appearance is awe-inspiring (v. 8)

Jesus’ words cause Daniel to fall at His feet (v. 9)

Jesus touches Daniel, which causes Daniel to tremble (v. 10)

Jesus tells Daniel he is a man greatly loved (v. 11)

Jesus calms (v. 11)

Jesus speaks to us with love even as we tremble before Him (v.10-11)

Jesus tells Daniel to understand the words He speaks to him (v.11)

Jesus helps Daniel to stand upright (v. 11)

Jesus is tender and caring (v. 11)

Jesus tells Daniel not to fear (v. 12)

Jesus has noticed Daniel’s heart towards God (v. 12)

Jesus tells Daniel He has heard his words (v. 12)

Jesus hears the humble cries of his people (v. 12)

Jesus comes to those whom He hears (v. 12)

Jesus wars with enemies of God (v. 13)

Jesus reveals to Daniel what will take place in the future (v. 14)

Jesus wants for Daniel to be hopeful in Israel’s destiny (v. 14)

Jesus cares about Daniel’s concerns enough to appear to him to tell him these things in person (v. 14)

Jesus leaves Daniel speechless in His presence (v. 15)

Jesus’ angel touches Daniel’s mouth so he can speak (v. 16)

Jesus hears Daniel’s plea and restores his strength (v. 18)

Jesus is not angered by our weakness (v. 18)

Jesus willingly gives strength to those who ask (v. 17-18)

Jesus reminds Daniel again that he is greatly loved (v. 19)

Jesus reminds Daniel again to not fear (v. 19)

Jesus encourages Daniel to be strong (v. 19)

Jesus inspires Daniel to have courage (v. 19)

Jesus’ words immediately strengthen those who hear (v. 19)

Jesus takes time to tell Daniel what he promised He would tell him (v. 21)

“Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.” – Daniel 10:12 –

 

Questions for Today:                      

  • What attributes of Jesus in Daniel 10 stood out to me?
  • How can I let that shape the way I view Jesus in my own life?
  • Why do you think Jesus heard Daniel and came near to Him?
  • How can I position my heart to better hear from the Lord?