A Broken Spirit

DSC_7777I am my father’s daughter. With that said, I recently took on a project that was way above my head.  Tired of wiping fingerprints off my beloved kitchen table, I decided to be creative and mosaic the glass top. For a year or so, I researched and planned and then purchased the tools and stained glass. Finally, the day came when I was “in the mood.” It was 9 o’clock on a Monday night. With a burst of energy, I started breaking glass. (I had figured two hours that night for breaking and gluing glass and the next day for grouting. Piece of cake!) My husband walked in while I was breaking the glass, shook his head and said “Oh, boy, here we go.” To make a long story short, I ran out of glass that night.

Four days later, I began grouting. What a nightmare! Black grout was everywhere—in my hair, in my nose, all over my hands, and throughout the house. I also had company coming to spend the night. The grout I was using was not working as I had planned. I found myself confessing all sin, known and unknown. I finally had to humble myself and ask my husband to help me save the table. After much work, the table was saved, but was grout-less. I called my parents for consolation. Mom laughed quite hard (actually, roared would be the more appropriate term), but dear Dad understood.

How often do things NOT work out exactly the way you had planned? Most of life is like that. God knows what is necessary for you to be broken and does it for your own good and His glory. He designed the process and experiences you go through to teach you the joy of depending on the Holy Spirit. He knows that sometimes, if your plans worked out, pride would overcome you, and you would miss out on the blessings that He has for you. He also knows the discipline that you need to encourage you to turn to Him with a wonderfully broken spirit.


Broken Spirit Bible Study

Turn to Psalm 51. David is truly broken over his sin and desires God’s restoration. The term for the broken spirit in verse 17 describes being smashed, shattered, or broken down spiritually.  Describe in your own words David’s grief over his sin.
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I hope that you really thought through your description of brokenness.  Are you broken in that way over your own sin? In our modern society, Satan has duped much of Christianity into believing that sin is not that bad, and he encourages us to blame-shift by making excuses for our thoughts and actions. He also wants us to believe that certain sins are acceptable. No wonder our churches are in such bad shape!  Sin is having dominion over the Body of Christ.

Although different sins have different consequences, ALL sin separates us from God. The eternal consequences, however, differ for the believer and the unbeliever. The unbeliever will experience eternal separation from God. The believer will experience lack of power, refused prayers, and discipline from her Heavenly Father.  Because David experienced  these consequences, he was miserable. His response, however, was one of complete agreement with God about his wicked condition.

Psalm 51:1-4 Have ­­­_________ upon me, O God, according to thy ________________: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies ____________  _____________ my _________________. Wash me _______________ from mine ___________________, and ___________________ me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I _______________, and done this _________________ in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

We know that David was broken, but what did he ask God to do about it? Look again at Psalm 51. This time, record the different words David uses for “cleaning.”
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Guess what? God answered his prayer. He cleansed him! He gave him a clean heart and restored him to joy. God honored David’s broken spirit.

Verse 15 shows a change in David’s spiritual state. He confidently asks God to help him praise. He knows that God does not delight in offerings as much as He delights in a right heart. Imagine that! God is not primarily impressed with your service, your appearance, or your moral uprightness. He is most interested in your attitude, your heart, and your spirit. That is why He has given us the greatest gift of all—the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:5-6 For they that are after the __________________ do mind the things of the _______________; but they that are after the _________________ the things of the _____________. For to be ___________________ minded is death; but to be __________________ minded is _________________ and ____________________.

A broken believer realizes that the flesh (human nature) cannot do good.  The flesh produces only carnal, “human nature” things. A broken believer gives God all the messed-up pieces and knows that only He can make something spiritually beautiful out of all the confusion. Brokenness gives the Holy Spirit reign over the body. This surrender is the only way to please God—because the Holy Spirit is God.

In the wake of his sin, David recognized that God did not first want his service, offering or dedication. The sacrifice God wanted was his (David’s) broken heart. He wrote in verse 17:  “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Consider that. Are you offering God everything except for what He wants most?  David was called the “man after God’s own heart,” not because of his accomplishments, position, or talents, but because he was honest with God and with himself about his sin. Since David was broken and teachable, God was able to use him mightily. God will not despise your truly broken spirit. He knows how to turn it into something beautiful—if you let Him.


The table is finished. Dad helped me with it, and it turned out just beautiful. Of course it means more to me because of the object lesson it represents. One of my friends, while sitting at the table, stroked the top and said, “The problem will be deciding which child gets the table.” I think I’ll give it to the one who breaks it.

As the lamb’s leg is broken in stride
To keep it near,
Lord, please break my willful pride
To teach me how to fear

You, in the way that will bring
All glory to your Name.
Praise be to our risen King!
Your greatness I proclaim.

You know my faults, You know my will
You know my stubborn heart.
Please break me, use me, Spirit-fill
So I will ne’er depart.

Article & Poem written by Kaye Dee Richards
Published in the Fall 2006 Magazine

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