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GUEST COLUMN: The beauty of brokenness

Have you ever thought that your body is just the container in which the real you, your heart, soul and spirit are contained.

“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,” Proverbs 23:7. Look at the nut family. You can look at the nut and determine what kind it is, but you can never tell if it is fit to eat until you get the goodie on the inside.

Jesus referred to this life as a corn of wheat.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” John 12:24-25.

The power of the seed is not in the protection of the coarse, hard outer shell. It is found on the inside. Unless the outer shell is broken by the elements, the mystery of what the seed could become remains hidden. Our lives possess the beauty of a spiritual inner man, as well as the outer man. The potential of what we can become cannot be released until the outer shell has been broken.

A piano makes its best sound only after it been played awhile. Then, the piano maker tunes it until it makes the sweetest notes. The best banana puddings are the ones made with those bananas that are older and have been bruised and softened. One can never get the strongest smell of the rose until he crushes it. And it is only when we are broken that we can be what God would have us to be.

Remember, sometimes God has to knock us down before he can pick us up. Sometimes he allows our lives to be a mess before he decides to bless us beyond measure. Have you ever thought that you cannot help some people until you have experienced the same thing that they are now experiencing? Then, you can say in a due season that just as God got me through it, He will get you through it, too.

The Apostle Paul said it like this: “I die daily.”

He was not just referring to the fact that the trials of life, diseases, stresses and strains lead us to die daily. But Paul, when he thought to please God, considered how every day of his life he had to suppress the craving for the outer man. Paul meant he had to sacrifice the flesh so that his inner being could be used to its full potential.

John Wilbur Chapman, a late 19th Century Presbyterian Evangelist, was in London when he met William Booth, a British Methodist preacher who founded The Salvation Army and became its first General. General Booth was 80 years old at that time. The Evangelist asked General Booth, “what is the secret of success?”

General Booth thought for a few minutes. Then, with tears rolling down his cheeks he declared, “I allow God to come on the inside and He brings out the best that is in me.”

The greatness of any man is measured by his ability to surrender his life to God.

The Rev. Carey N. Ingram is the pastor at Lovejoy Baptist Church.