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Christians must be broken to be blessed, speaker says

WAKE FOREST, N.C. (BP)–The key to blessing is brokenness through humility and self-denial, Hayes Wicker said during Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s spring convocation Jan. 29.

Wicker, pastor of First Baptist Church, Naples, Fla., turned to the wrestling match between God and Jacob found found in Genesis 32 in his Jan. 29 message on the Wake Forest, N.C., campus.

Each Christian, Wicker asserted, will wrestle with God and the result is brokenness which is the key to blessing.

“I believe all of us are in a wrestling match today,” he said. “It may not be with intellectual issues concerning inerrancy or in the area of apologetics. During your seminary experience, every one of [you] will wrestle with God.”

Wicker highlighted Genesis 32:26, which states: “And He said, ‘Let Me go, for the day breaks.’ But he said, ‘I will not let you go until you bless me!'”

“In this picture of Jacob’s wrestling match, we see an encounter with a pre-incarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ; a theophony,” Wicker said. “God brought Jacob to a place of great encounter with truth.”

Jacob had deceitfully received his father’s blessing years before, Wicker recounted. His brother Esau had vowed to kill him, so Jacob fled his homeland. Years later, Jacob sought to reunite with Esau, and the night before the reconciliation Jacob entangled himself in a wrestling match. During the wrestling match, Wicker said, God broke Jacob of his self-centeredness and granted him blessing.

“I believe the only time you and I are strong is when we have met God face to face and have been broken that we might be blessed,” Wicker said. “Coming to a place of blessing is invariably found in the stocks of suffering.”

Wicker then cited five ways God uses brokenness to bring about blessing.

First, brokenness allows failure so that success may be found, he said. “Jacob the wrestler had been a phony all of his life. He was the star of his own stage. He was strutting and not walking humbly with his God. He had always come out on top, and now he is wrestling in the shadows and could not win.

“There will be a time when your world will be literally exploded,” Wicker said, “and it is then that God is picking up the pieces…. God allows failure to bring brokenness, but brokenness crucifies self so the spirit might win.”

Second, coming to a place of brokenness means crucifying self so that Christ may live, Wicker said.

“Jacob’s name meant heel-catcher, which was the idea of grabbing and self-centeredness,” Wicker explained, noting, “The real problem in churches today and the real problem in your life and my life is self. It is self that insists [on] its own way. Self-conceit, self-sufficiency, self-way, self-will…. It is through self that God says, ‘I must break you,’ but it is only when we are crucified to self that Jesus can live.”

Third, brokenness brings desperation so that faith might be supreme, Wicker said. “Jacob wrestled with God all night until God dislocated his thigh,” the pastor said. “It is that strong muscle, the running bone, that he could no longer run away from God. God will touch you at the source of your strength.” Jacob was broken at the source of his strength, Wicker said, so that he could no longer fight but cling.

Fourth, brokenness confesses need so that change might be real, Wicker said.

In Genesis 32:28, the Lord asked Jacob his name so that Jacob had to confess that his name, which meant “heel-snatcher,” was symbolic of his character, Wicker said, noting that at that moment Jacob realized he was deceitful and self-serving.

“God began to break him and change him. Brokenness confesses who you really are,” Wicker said. When Jacob was transformed through brokenness, God then changed his name to “Israel,” meaning “the Lord rules.”

Finally, brokenness results in service so that God might be glorified, Wicker said. “In Genesis 32:20, we see the culmination of Jacob’s conniving to appease Esau by buying him off with gifts. It wasn’t real service.

“But we look in chapter 33 and we see Jacob changed,” Wicker said, pointing out that brokenness always leads to service and service always leads to blessing others.

“Not manipulation, but ministry. Not self-glorification, but blessing for others and the glory of God,” Wicker said.

“If you are going to bear fruit, you must be buried. You must be planted before you bear fruit,” he said. “The cross must come before the crown. Burial must come before resurrection … planting before fruit bearing.

“I believe God is calling us today to a fresh brokenness that issues in fresh service,” Wicker said.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: HAYES WICKER.

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  • Kelly Davis