The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5
“Am I broken by Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ?” This is one of the greatest questions we may ever ask. To get to the end of our pride and desire for control over our lives, to cease all fighting against God and let Him be in us and through us all that He desires is the central challenge of living for Christ. Letting Him search us, and try us, and see the offensive ways of our heart (Psalm 139:24).
The Lord tries us through suffering, not that He delights in our pain, but that He delights in our maturity and our attitudes during suffering reveal to us where we are in relation to surrender to His will. L.E. Maxwell wrote in his classic Born Crucified,
Submission and suffering are utterly contrary to the flesh. The thing man loves more than anything else in the world is himself. The thing man wants is to have his own way and to enjoy himself. Suffering, therefore, always crosses man where self is alive. There, self refuses and rebels.
This quote is remarkable, but not entirely unique, because any number of Christian authors has acknowledged this fact. These quotes reveal what is in the heart of our old sinful nature – pride, lust, self-protection, unlawful desires for what we do not have, and inappropriate lust for what we do not have. When something pleasant is taken away, or when something unpleasant is added, we rebel, grumble, complain, are quick to justify ourselves and plead for vindication.
God has something else in His purpose from the human heart – that love, not pride, may erupt from within. Forget at this point how much love can come from within, instead focus on the purity of this love, because the purity describes its source. The love God desires to flow from our hearts is His love – not human love of convenience or sentiment or mere selfish interests and lifestyle choices. Can God put His love in our hearts?
This verse says that He can and that this is the goal of our faith – to be changed by His love, to have our hearts purified and our consciences made pure through our sincere faith. This is the journey inward, the journey to let the love of God go down deeply into our souls, to the deepest part of us. Wherever pride resists, to whatever selfish lust holds on to and insists it cannot live without, there is where our surrender must take root, where strongholds must be taken down.
Most of us are a bit afraid of dying poor – not that our net worth at death matters much in the eternal things of God – but not enough of us are afraid of dying unbroken. The aim of our lives should be to be broken by His love. And love by its nature always puts others on our hearts – it is the antithesis of selfishness. The person being deepened in God’s love will have God’s concern as his concern, will regularly lift up his eyes and see the fields white unto harvest, see the lives in need of love, and see how he can be used of God.
So long as we are asking the question about brokenness with only an inward look to confirm, we have not been broken. The broken person by and for the love of Christ grows in compassion and care for others. If our eyes are upon the fields, if our hearts are concerned for others, if our hands work to help, if our lips move to serve, if our prayers intercede for the hurts and lostness of the world, then God’s love is deepening us.