Fix What's Broken.

At Living Hope we strive to create a safely dangerous environment where it is ‘okay to be broken’. And it is okay. But it’s not okay to stay there.

A couple of days ago I fell, and as a result fractured my wrist, and another bone in my hand. (First broken bone for me). I also tore ligaments and tendons. It is amazing how limiting it is to have a broken limb. There are so many things I can’t do right now, that I usually take for granted. Typing is one of them. We are hoping to avoid surgery, but at this point I will do whatever it takes to make sure I have full use of my left hand in the future. I think my life is a walking, or tripping illustration. I wish I could say I broke it climbing a mountain or surfing, but um, I actually tripped and fell in my back yard. I told a friend, hoping for some compassion, but instead got roaring laughter from him (Thanks Lance).

Beyond the appointments, beyond the pain, and beyond the annoyance, it has made me think…..Who would want to stay broken?

It reminds me of the “broken window theory”. In numerous studies, social scientists determined that if a window was left unrepaired on a building, it was only a matter of time before all the windows were broken. A previously sound building would soon be the target of vandalism, damage, and theft. In a nutshell – a broken window left unrepaired is a signal that no one cares, and leads people to believe that breaking more windows costs nothing.

I think some of us have allowed broken windows in our lives to just stay broken. We have simply accepted “broken”, and in turn other areas of our live soon slip as well. Our continued brokenness may even open the door for others to disrespect us, and leave us damaged as well.

One of the greatest men in the Bible was also admittedly one of the most broken. Paul thought life was good and he was good, but it was religion, legalism, and zealousness that caused Jesus to meet him on a road to a city named Damascus (Acts 9). Paul was on his way to be part of killing Christians. He was a man on a mission to stomp out Christianity, or at least try. When Jesus met him, he changed him. Then Paul was part of changing the world for Jesus. God wants to fix the most broken thing in your life and turn it around for his purpose.

Paul penned the book of Philippians while he was in jail, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Lets look at Philippians 3:12-14
“12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

1. WE ARE NOT THERE YET

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal…

Paul knew that as much as he had accomplished for God, God was not done with him. The beginning of our journey is so simple. We aren’t there yet. This is the open door of a humble heart that says “I will continue to walk, to trust, to fight and to believe God is with me and for me”

2. CONSUMED FOR WHO OR WHAT?

“…but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Philippians 3:12

Sometimes the ‘what’ becomes the focus and we miss the ‘who’. We can miss Jesus even while doing things for Jesus. Paul took hold of His God, and the purpose that God had for him. I want to be consumed first with Jesus and then secondly for all he has for my life.

To ‘take hold’ as Paul uses here has the connotation of capturing something that you've been pursuing. Sometimes it is translated as "apprehend" and means “To make something one's own.” It is not picking something up off the floor, but grabbing something you have been chasing down the street. It’s aggressive in nature.

I think it boils down to allowing Jesus to take hold of you in an “unbridled, God you are in control, lead me wherever, whenever, however, for whatever” kind of faith. I love this. To have passion that is focused on Jesus not a circumstance.

Don’t forget, he wrote this little letter FROM PRISON. The theme of the letter is joy. How many of us in the middle of a hard or difficult situation give up because we don’t grab hold of Jesus.

3. THE SECRET ‘ONE THING’

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind…” Phil 3:13

So many people never get the full potential of all that God has for their lives because of two things primarily: the guilt or shame of the past, or the fear of the future. We cannot move forward until we have let go of the past. We will never begin a journey toward healing as long as we stay stuck in the wins or losses of the past. We will either be defined as victors or victims.

Choose to move beyond the broken thing and let it go. You and I can never heal if we are not ready to stop being broken.

4. STRAINING RESULTS IN GAINING

The next part of the equation takes us another step beyond forgetting. Here we have to move our focus to something new and better. Looking at what is in front of us, not behind us.

Notice Paul uses racing language: “…and straining toward what is ahead

When a runner strains, they are all in. The word “strain” here carries a sense of leaning toward the tape at the end of the race. The race is faith. Brokenness keeps us at the starting line, but healing allows us to run towards the finish line.

5. THE GOAL IS PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION

14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Healing is not about perfection, but rather about progress. Perfection will only be obtained when God completes His work in us. Paul knew that his part was to run the best race he could, constantly moving toward the ultimate prize - the gift of eternal life.

Funny, after four or five days of dealing with my wrist, I talked to an Orthopedic Surgeon and he explained in detail that if I wanted to avoid surgery and have a fully functioning wrist and hand then I would need to follow carefully what the progress would be to experience full healing.

Why will we follow instructions so carefully when it comes to our bodies, and yet when it comes to our spiritual lives we will ignore or avoid the “instructions”

Check it out. You and I will never be perfect this side of heaven, but we can – and should – move from brokenness to wholeness as we go. It is my prayer that you can let go of the past and run well the race God has set before you.

God has a massive plan for your life. Don’t allow mediocrity or difficult situations to stop you. Don’t settle for where you currently are, but pursue God’s best for your life.

Let’s fix what is broken.

Pastor John