Australia has some amazing plant species, like the Banksia bush, that are stunningly beautiful. But for many of them they are unable to propagate unless first burnt in a bushfire. The seed pods are hard and lay dormant until a bushfire passes over them. Fire scorches or burns the outer shell which then cracks and the goodness inside is released and the plant germinates and grows to replace that which was lost in the fire.
It is hard to believe that such a harsh event is responsible for such life and beauty.
It is the same with us. We all have an outer shell surrounding our souls. It is our “survival mode” designed to protect us from life’s harshest offenses. This is a very necessary protective shell we all need to survive in this world.
But, when we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour, He comes and resides within us through His Holy Spirit. Just as the seed pod, with all that goodness inside, can lay dormant because the outer shell holds it all inside, that very shell becomes an enemy to our new life in Christ because it holds us back from what we are destined to be… stunning, beautiful!
This ‘shell’ must break for new life to emerge.
Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, but anyone on whom it falls will be crushed.”
Jesus describes Himself as the Cornerstone and the source of Life and yet the builders would reject Him. Even though Christians say they believe in Him, how often do we reject His wise words as we build our lives.
This self-sufficiency is the hard shell around our life.
And until it is broken we will continue to trust the ways of men rather than God.
It must break to release the Life within us.
In the Scripture above, note that when “Everyone who falls on that stone“, that’s everyone, only two types of people remain: the broken ones and those who are crushed.
Just with the seed, the broken seed will flourish and live, but any seed that is crushed will not. Crushed seed will be consumed in the fire.
All, that’s everyone, will either fall on Christ and break or He will fall upon us and we will be crushed.
Consider our spiritual heroes like Joseph, Moses and David in the Bible. Each went through significant times of offenses, wounding and being broken. Each brought low before God. At their lowest God raised each up.
Even the early disciples went through failure events. Take Peter for example. He was in Jesus’ inner circle, bold and audacious. Yet failed Jesus when he slept at His most troubled hour and denied knowing Jesus before the cock crowed three times. Yet forgiven and raised up at Pentecost, Peter fulfilled his destiny as a significant figure in Christendom.
As each one passes through the fire, their dependency no longer is upon their outer shell of ‘self’ but totally reliant on the life within them – the Spirit of God. The times of hardship and testing causes us to fall upon the Living Christ and break open to rise again in new life. The life from within flows from the broken pieces and out to others.
Sin isn’t our worse enemy… worse than it is ‘self’. Fire is our circumstances, our failures, brokenness and the things that ‘burn’ us. Remember, it is the fire that cracks us open. If we do not bring our mistakes, failures and brokenness before the Father in humility and repentance, we simply harden the shell and we remain dormant, lifeless and only wait to be crushed.
Hardened people become cynical, angry and blame others for their difficulties. If we do not see that it is the Lord who is orchestrating our circumstances, we will be entombed within our shell of humanity and never see the life of Christ emerge through us.
A bruised reed he will not break…
Know this: no matter how daunting the circumstances you find yourself in, Jesus promises that those who come to Him devastated, hurt, bruised, and broken, He immediately seeks to bring healing.
It is God’s goal in all things to bring us to a point of dependency upon Him. We either come with brokenness or He will allow the refining fire to come.