If it ain’t broke, break it
I recently found myself praying for a dear friend. Nothing spectacular spurred me on to pray—unless it was the voice in my head saying, “Great, you did what everyone else does and promised to pray for someone. Now you actually have to do it.” Oops. Nonetheless, there I was, mildly interested in my conversation with the Lord, fully realizing it was hardly a conversation seeing as I was doing all the talking.
Maybe I’d write something down. After scrawling out a few pathetic sentences on a piece of paper, (the kind you might expect from a 7-year-old, but surely not from a spiritually seasoned 23-year- old), my sorry excuse for a dialogue with God suddenly became interesting. My ears perked at the words, “Get right.” Surely he wasn’t talking to me! I continued on, “Lord, please just move in this situation, I pray your will be done!” “Are you really broken?” was the response. I got a little louder hoping to drown him out, “Ummm… Holy Spirit, please draw near! Uhh, send the fire!” I waited. “When you have a broken and contrite heart, get back to me.”
I learned three things that day: 1) The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart (Psalm 51:17); 2) The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective (James 5:16); 3) If at first you don’t succeed, God suggests you try again.
Since that day, I’ve begun to really consider the condition of my heart in all areas of my life. Whether in conversation with my husband, or during frequent encounters with people on the street, perhaps in my dealing with fellow soldiers in the church—how is the condition of my heart? Better, how is the condition of my heart helping or hindering me from doing what God has called me to do and be? Does he care if I’ve gone out of the way to confront a friend about something if my heart is full of condemnation and conceit? What does God really think about my being a soldier of The Salvation Army if I find myself forgetting that first and foremost I was called to be a follower of Christ?
In this, I take great comfort knowing that I do not struggle alone. In his first public message as the new world leader of The Salvation Army, General Shaw Clifton shared a powerful vision. In this vision, the whole Army knelt together at the feet of Jesus, in unison. We were pleading for forgiveness from all we had done wrong and all we had forgotten to do. We asked for more faith, wisdom, holy courage, and a closer walk with him. We begged for more of his Holy Spirit and more of his power.
What a privilege it would be to know that the mighty Army we belong to has once again found itself genuinely broken for its cause and at the same level as those about us. Are we still an Army of passion and compassion? Or do we take action because we are expected to? Are we an Army removed from such great depths of bureaucracy that we still fulfill our founding mission? Or do we complain and argue, forgetting that others’ eternity depends on our witness? What have we become?
We, as Christians and soldiers of The Salvation Army must be broken before the Lord. We must now allow him to do through our emptiness all that we have not allowed him to do in the past. We must remove ourselves from the pedestal we have placed ourselves on and become broken and be reconciled with Christ again. Be broken. God is not done moving and working through us.