The Release of the Spirit - The Importance of Brokenness

Those of you who are willing to go all the way for the Lord - who wish to be used in His service - who want to "abide in Christ" in a continual manner - who want as mothers, wives, and homemakers, to live and minister the very life of Christ in your homes and to your families - You all have one thing in common:  You are or you will experience brokenness.

What is brokenness?  It sounds bizarre, dangerous, and hurtful - not at all attractive.  Hardly the "abundant Christian life" which we all joyfully looked forward to when we became Christians.  Brokenness, however, is not negative - it is really the only way to the life of rest, joy, peace and real freedom.  We are born "slaves to sin" - all our 5 senses, our body, and our soul {mind, will, and emotions} are enslaved willingly to the world system, and it's values.  We are brainwashed into living for ourselves, and soulish, selfish living is slavery of the worst kind bringing unhappiness and final destruction to all we are trying so hard to attain and to experience - it brings death.

So now after we have accepted Christ, He promised us eternal life, freedom from slavery to sin and death and inward peace.  The Holy Spirit lives within us, in our spirit, and it is His task to "conform" us to Christ, to work through us, to teach us all truth, and to lead us.  But He has a problem:  Outside of our Spirit, and that's where the Holy Spirit dwells, is our soul, controlled by the 5 gates of smell, taste, touch, hearing, and seeing.  The Spirit wears the soul, and the spirit and soul wear the body.

The Holy Spirit has to break through our soul and body before He can be released to effectively function in guiding us into all truth.  In our new life, we agree with Paul "delighting in the law of God in the inner man" (Rom. 7:22) - "our spirit wanting to be strengthened with power by God's Spirit in the inner man" (Eph 3:16).  But we don't realize that our outer man has to be consumed so that the inner can "renew us day by day" (II Cor. 4:16)

Jesus said in John 12:24,25 that a "grain of wheat has to die to bear fruit".  The hard outer shell has to "break" to release the life within.  He also said, "He who loves his soul-life shall lose it, but he who hates his soul-life in this world shall keep it to life eternal."  This "process of breaking our soul-life" makes it possible for us to abide in Christ.  We can use our spirit to receive His revelation to us and give life to others, and we can fellowship continually with Christ.

God's process of breaking the hold of our slavery to our soul-life on us involves time.  We cannot shorten the time, but we can certainly prolong it.  Two ways:

  1. The Holy Spirit may use a gradual way of constant, daily trials, then a large scale breaking. Or
  2. A large scale breaking followed by a continual gradual one.

He knows which is the most effective way to break the hold of our soul and 5 senses on our life, so trust Him and don't struggle to retain your soul-life.  Delight to daily offer yourself to the Lord so that He can have full control of your whole life.  (Rom. 6:13; 12:1)

Don't be afraid.

Two ways we can hinder the breaking of our soul-life.

  1. We don't see the breaking being from God, we only see other people opposing us, or our environment, or circumstances being unpleasant.  So we fret, we struggle, we complain about our "soul-life" losses, and end up becoming negative in our overall attitude.  Our problem is that we think the alabaster box is more valuable than the precious ointment, i.e. soul more precious than the Spirit and Life.  We must recognize that it is always God's hand being used to break us; it is never a human hand.  And, since, Jesus can do no wrong, He has our best interests at heart, we can trust Him.
  2. We can hinder God's breaking of our soul-life by self-love.  The one overwhelming reason for our discontent under breaking trials is that we secretly love ourselves - our soul-life - and we plan many ways in which we can deliver ourselves - "ways of escape".  We are afraid of being broken.  "It might hurt", or "What will people think?" or "I'll have to give up everything." or "Who's going to care for me if I don't?" or "I've worked so hard for it, I can't give it up." or "I've got to have some security." or even "God helps those who help themselves." "No one notices me."  Be willing to offer up every part of your life to Jesus again and again.

Watchman Nee call this controversy the "thing in hand", and as long as we hold onto what ever this "thing in hand" is, we cannot do God's work or touch His life.  These are the things we are bound to more than God, and He will deal with them one after another in the area of our EMOTIONS, WILL, and MIND.  The Holy Spirit will not neglect one area of your life, even areas in which you have not been aware that you have anything in hand.  He knows and will deal with it most thoroughly.  We are created to have one center in our lives.  Sometimes He deals with you directly; sometimes He will deal with you through others, even those whom you love and who love you.


  1. Our thought-life may be independent, e.g. "I'm doing my own thing in my thoughts even though I don't quite dare to with my body."
  2. Our thought-life may be confused - jumbled, it unedifying.
  3. It may be uncontrolled - off on a tangent of blaming others, bitterness
  4. We may think we are smarter than others or that God is thrilled with our deep thinking through for Him.  Pride results, and then a big fall.  We must not dare to pursue our own thoughts, but must pray desperately that every thought may be brought captive to Jesus (II Cor 10:5).
  5. Maybe we have a secret love of the world - things, or someone, or popularity, or position.  Remember we were created to have only one center in our life.


Some people revolve continually around their emotions.

  1. Elation brings dissipation of energy, etc.
  2. Depression brings inactivity and lack of comfort.

God will put you in situations over and over again where you dare not live by your emotions, but just lead to depend on the Holy Spirit and believe in the grace of God.  That's all.


This is the greatest problem.  Rebellion (i.e. willfulness) is the original sin.  We all are naturally will-full and obstinate.  Our stubborn will is supported by our thoughts, self-love, rights, affections, cleverness, ministry.  The will is like a house supported by many pillars and God removes the pillars one by one until the house of Willfulness finally collapses.  Don't be deceived into thinking if you are soft-spoken and gentle you don't have a strong will.  Often an iron will lies hidden behind the softest voice and appearance.  Outspokenness is also self-will.

God must deal with us to make our wills docile and tender, to the place where we dare not trust our own judgment, and we throw ourselves on the Lord - not making any decision without consulting Him.  Not that the Lord doesn't want our mind - He does - but He wants our mind, emotions, and will to be controlled by our new born Spirit - with the Holy Spirit teaching us to love, think, and decide (God's way).

When we are broken the outerman - the soul - is brought under control of the innerman - the Spirit.  This unifies the whole person, making us channels (II Cor. 6 - broken pots).  God's life then come out through us - touching others with His life as we love, speak, make decisions, think His thoughts.  We are supposed to be God's vessels, His instruments, and when God breaks us in a certain area we can touch other people in that area with God's very life.  The Holy Spirit and our spirit are released according to the degree of our brokenness.

  1. The one who has willingly accepted the most discipline from God is the one who can best serve.
  2. The more broken we are the more sensitive we are to others.
  3. The more loss - the more we have to give.
  4. The more dealt with - the keener discernment we have of others.
  5. The more the Spirit breaks through - the more readily another's spirit is touched.

The Holy Spirit accomplishes this work of brokenness:

  • through discipline (conviction, convincing), and then
  • through revelation and discernment.

1. Discipline

(Heb. 12:5-10) - He knows us and knows our need, so He orders our circumstances in such a way as to break our soul-life.  The discipline often is beyond our understand, and we don't need to understand.  The Holy Spirit has to break the strongholds in our soul over which the innermen - the spirit - has no control.  Because we don't want to just listen to the Holy Spirit, external things are most effective in dealing with our soul which has always related by the 5 senses, externally.  So God arranges for us to encounter the external breaking event over and over until we are broken in that stronghold.

Once He has broken through the soul at that point - you remain broken there and the Spirit is released --> flowing through to touch others with Life - God's life.  Or to put it another way, the ointment pour forth and the fragrance of Christ enhances and touches all around you - in that particular area of your soul-life.  Don't be surprised (after you have given the Lord your whole life) when many unexpected, hurting things occur.  The greatest means of Grace is the discipline of the Holy Spirit.  We have already discussed the areas of mind, emotion, and will in which He works His continuing discipline - convicting within, convincing without.

2. Revelation

Revelation and discernment enables us to see what God sees.  (John 14:15-17)  The Holy Spirit will live forever inside us, supplying us with the fullness of God, and the He is the Spirit of Truth - we can see Truth clearly.  If you are living this way, the key will be giving Him control, obeying Him, submitting to Him.  This will mean the total collapse of all your rebellion and willfulness.

Most of you probably think you are not rebelling against the Spirit of God.  If so then, do you know the truth of God?  Do you experience the power of God?  The way to check out whether you are really in rebellion against the Spirit of God is to ask "What kind of life am I living?"  Is it God-centered, or self-centered?  Are your activities and your desires aimed at pleasing yourself?  Then you are in rebellion against the Spirit of God.  to tap into His power and know His truth, and speak with His authority means the total collapse of all revolt and say, "Lord Jesus, you word is my command, I am ready to be entirely yours."  It is not only our relationship to Jesus here, it is our resemblance to Him that will be the result.

We will see ourselves as He sees us, and we will fall to the ground as dead.  Your sins become so much more sinful.  Even your good points are so far from God's value system.  It is a Rom. 7 experience.  It takes time to go that far.  We really don't think we are so bad after all - still a lot of self-love.  But when we do see our soul-life as God does, our condemnation of ourselves will be spontaneous.  "There is no good thing in me." (Rom. 7:18).  Then the Holy Spirit can be released to flow through our soul without our soulish help.  We will take our hands off and not try to arrange to be used or to teach or to minister, or to love.  We will wait until He does it, and be content that the results are His, not ours.  Revelation occurs while we study the Word of God - Bible teaching is one of the best ways to get broken and really see what you are like.  Your motives, your ability, your good deeds:  they are all tainted with self-love, i.e. the soul-life.

When the Lord reveals our soul-life and we see from His viewpoint, agreeing with His evaluation of us, then He delivers.  Seeing is freedom, and we can live in the presence of the Lord continually.  We will not be perfect, but the outerman is not our master - Jesus is.  He is also our closest friend.  We hear Him, commune with Him, and are never out of His presence.  John 14:15-17.