Monday, December 23, 2013

When God Breaks You

This post by Mike Adams was originally published on his blog The Accomplished Sinner

down_is_the_new_up_broken_parachute_album_cover_by_blackdwarfdesigns-d6bti46I had made theology my pursuit, my goal, my aim, my identity. And I was pretty good at it too. I could go toe to toe with the best and I was proud of that. Don’t get me wrong. Good theology is necessary. But theology apart from a heart captured by the gospel is reduced to dangerous information. It’s ammunition to win an argument. It’s fodder for a blog. It’s food for one’s pride. Theology not rooted in grace and removed from the gospel makes us hard, indifferent, proud, cold, and right all the time.
Something else that became my identity was my ministry. In almost 40 years in the faith, I had been on the pastoral team of several different churches and my identity was wrapped up in being a pastor. I became proud of the fact that I was a pastor. Proud to be a servant. Go figure!
Then one day, the structure I had built my idols on began to collapse. The building fell with me still in it and everything crumbled in the ashes. Destroyed. Brought to nothing. And all I could do was watch it tumble. I didn’t understand. I didn’t know what was going on, but I could feel my heart changing.
That collapse was almost 5 years ago. I see more clearly now what I couldn’t see then. The Holy Spirit was being merciful to me as He began to show me what had slowly happened to me over the years; who I had become. It was an intervention. A badly needed rescue. I had become hard, indifferent, proud, cold, and… right all the time. My identity was wrapped up in me and my theology and ministry, not Jesus. Grace and the gospel had become theological categories to be mastered, taught, and filed away. My spiritual growth and progress in the faith (whatever that means!) was independent of Jesus and the center of my world. I only gave Him lip service. My assurance was up and down like a roller coaster ride because my eyes were fixed on my performance and my own spiritual navel.
Sometimes God breaks our legs and once we’re immobilized, He begins His gentle work of rebuilding, restoring, and restoration. He rebuilds and renews our hearts with His unending grace. He takes damaged goods and makes all things new. He takes us in directions we never saw coming and would never have imagined. But most of all, He keeps loving us! Even in our foolishness He is full of rich mercy and grace.


  1. The scriptures doesn’t insert somewhere in there that after he finds his sheep, lays it on his shoulders, and rejoices, that he then snaps the legs as the sheep squeals in terror because it had been mischievous or disobedient. Instead we see love and tenderness and joy.

    Besides, breaking an animals leg-any animal, is risky thing. The animal could easily die from the trauma of the injury, and if not trauma then infection can set in and kill it that way. Or the sheep could very well be crippled for life, or have his legs heal in a deformed manner.

    Exegetically, all of Luke 15 is linked. The characters may change change…a shepherd finds a lost sheep, a woman finds a lost coin and a father restores a lost son…but the theme doesn’t change and the main point is the same. The main point is the joy of Heaven over lost sinners being restored.

    The the first two-thirds of John 10 is all about our relationship to Christ as his sheep.

    “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” V.14

    “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.” v.14

    We’re mixing metaphors here, but the story itself mixes them, so we need to be aware of them. The scripture reveals that Christ is known to the sheep, and that they know him. He doesn’t need to break their legs to get him to follow him; especially after he finds and saves them. If they are indeed his sheep when he finds them they will necessarily follow him. Not as misbehaving recalcitrant animals, but rather as willing, eager and imperfect heirs.

    The illustration of believers being sheep occurs hundreds of times in the New Testament. It refers to different categories of who and what is a sheep, how the Lord treats them, and their relationship to him. But one thing is certain, absent historical records, primary sources, or even the most basic support for the accuracy and legitimacy of this illustration, this story of leg snapping remains a myth.

  2. Thanks for commenting. You make some good points but I don't think the original author would disagree with you. I think he is using the breaking legs as a metaphor! God does break us in many ways as he lovingly molds and shapes us.