Featured image for “Identity in Christ Part 12”


How Do I Know When I’m Broken?


We’ve been talking about brokenness​​ for​​ the last few weeks. As a reminder,​​ brokenness refers to the process of breaking a person from putting confidence in anything other than God. Sometimes the state of being “broken” is referred to as, “Coming to the end of oneself”. It’s realizing that “apart from Jesus, you can do nothing”. It’s you not putting confidence in your abilities, i.e., your flesh. It’s you walking as Jesus did, in complete humility and dependence.​​ 

The question is often asked, “How do I know when I’m broken?”. When you are truly broken, you will likely not be thinking about it.​​ 


Below is​​ a​​ list of characteristics you might find helpful to better see a picture of one who is broken.​​ 

Proud​​ people focus on the failures of others.

Broken​​ people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual needs.

Proud​​ people have a critical, fault-finding spirit.

Broken​​ people are compassionate. They can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven.​​ 

Proud​​ people are self-righteous; they look down on others.

Broken​​ people esteem all others better than themselves.

Proud​​ people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit.

Broken​​ people have a dependent spirit; they recognize their need for others.

Proud​​ people have to prove that they are right.

Broken​​ people are willing to yield the right to be right.

Proud​​ people claim rights; they have a demanding spirit.

Broken​​ people yield their rights; they have a meek spirit.

Proud​​ people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation.

Broken​​ people are self-denying.

Proud​​ people desire to be served.

Broken​​ people are motivated to serve others.

Proud​​ people desire to be a success.

Broken​​ people are motivated to be faithful and to make others a success.

Proud​​ people desire self-advancement.

Broken​​ people desire to promote others.

Proud​​ people have a drive to be recognized and appreciated.

Broken​​ people have a sense of their own unworthiness; they are thrilled that God would use them at all.

Proud​​ people are wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked.

Broken​​ people are eager for others to get the credit; they rejoice when others are lifted up.

Proud​​ people have a subconscious feeling, “This ministry/church is privileged to have me and my gifts”; they think of what they can do for God.

Broken​​ people’s heart attitude is, “I don’t deserve to have a part in any ministry”; they know that they have nothing to offer God except the life of Jesus flowing through their broken lives.

Proud​​ people feel confident in how much they know.

Broken​​ people are humbled by how very much they have to learn.

Proud​​ people are self-conscious.

Broken​​ people are not concerned with​​ themselves​​ at all.

Proud​​ people keep others at arms’ length.

Broken​​ people are willing to risk getting close to others and to take risks of loving intimately.

Proud​​ people are quick to blame others.

Broken​​ people accept personal responsibility and can see where they are wrong in a situation.

Proud​​ people are unapproachable or defensive when criticized.

Broken​​ people receive criticism with a humble, open spirit.

Proud​​ people find it difficult to share their spiritual needs​​ with others.

Broken​​ people are willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs.

Proud​​ people are concerned with being respectable, with what others think; they work to protect their own image and reputation.

Broken​​ people are concerned with being real; what matters to them is not what others think but what God knows; they are willing to die to their own reputation.

Proud​​ people find it difficult to share their spiritual needs​​ with others.

Broken​​ people are willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs.

Proud​​ people want to be sure that no one finds out when they have sinned; their instinct is to cover up.

Broken​​ people, once broken, don’t care who knows or who finds out; they are willing to be exposed because they have nothing to lose.

Proud​​ people have a hard time saying, “I was wrong; will you please forgive me?”

Broken​​ people are quick to admit failure and seek forgiveness when necessary.

Proud​​ people tend to deal in generalities when confessing sin.
Broken​​ people are able to acknowledge specifics when confessing their sin.

Proud​​ people are concerned about the consequences of their sin.

Broken​​ people are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin.

Proud​​ people are remorseful over their sin, sorry that they got found out or caught.

Broken​​ people are truly, genuinely repentant over their sin, evidenced​​ by​​ the fact that they forsake that sin.

Proud​​ people wait for the other to come and ask forgiveness when there is a misunderstanding or conflict in a relationship.

Broken​​ people take the initiative to be reconciled when there is​​ a​​ misunderstanding or conflict in relationships; they race to the cross; they see if they can get there first, no matter how wrong the other may have been.

Proud​​ people compare themselves with others and feel worthy of honor.

Broken​​ people compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for His mercy.

Proud​​ people are blind to their true heart condition.

Broken​​ people walk in the light.

Proud​​ people don’t think they have anything​​ for which they need​​ to repent.

Broken​​ people realize they​​ need​​ a continual heart attitude of repentance.

Proud​​ people don’t think they need revival, but they are sure that everyone else does.

Broken​​ people continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God and for a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit.

Adapted from Brokenness: The Heart God Revives by Nancy Leigh DeMoss


Note –​​ The above list is​​ not a set of goals for you to attain. If you focus on trying to conform to these characteristics, you will do so in your own strength! Focus on Christ and all that he is and all that he has done! Amen.​​ 


From Self-sufficiency to Christ-Sufficiency

As I’ve been saying, surrender is always preceded by brokenness.​​ As a person goes through the process of brokenness, their attitudes​​ about​​ themselves may gradually begin to change. Below is a list that​​ describes these attitudes.​​ 


1. “I can do whatever I want to do.”​​ 

We are all born in Adam with this attitude. This is the basic attitude of the flesh.

2. “Christ will help me do what I want to do.”

Our desire may be changing. We now look to Christ as someone to “help” me get what I want.

3. “I can’t seem to do what I want to do anymore.”

This may occur when we begin to experience failure (inability of the flesh​​ to meet my needs). Likely we will not understand what is happening; therefore frustration, anger,​​ and depression may occur. Conviction of the flesh may also occur.

4. “I can’t do anything. Lord, you will have to do it for me.”

We begin to understand the inadequacy of the flesh to meet our God-given needs. This may be confused with brokenness, but notice who is still in control.

5.​​ “I’ll do whatever you want me to do Lord.”

This can be a painful time as we struggle against surrender, but notice who is still the one “doing”.​​ 

6. “Lord, do with me whatever you want to do.”

This is the attitude of brokenness – complete abandonment of self to trust Christ as our life. I invite and allow Christ to do whatever he chooses with me. I have​​ surrendered and trust that he knows what is best for me. I give up my right to control my life,​​ and to tell God what I need.​​ 

7. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

This is the attitude I can now operate from after brokenness. I can now rest in Christ’s sufficiency to meet every need in every situation.​​ 


Let me encourage you to get alone and read through the list of the characteristics of brokenness and the list of stages a person may go through when moving​​ “From Self-sufficiency to Christ-Sufficiency”.​​ And then humbly ask the Lord to reveal to you where you are in this process​​ and what you need to surrender.


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