A Broken Spirit
2 December 2018 AM – Proverbs 17:22 – Our Spirit – Scott Childs
Introduction: So far in this series on Our Spirit, we have learned that our spirit is our disposition. That is part of our emotions. We have studied the angry spirit, the haughty spirit and the humble spirit. This morning, I want us to look at our spirit from a slightly different perspective as we examine the spirit that has been broken or hurt.
Transition: As we examine what God has to say about a broken spirit, I want us to look at the symptoms, cause, results and cure.
1. The symptom of a broken spirit
a. How do we define a broken spirit?
1) The Hebrew word translated “broken” means stricken or afflicted. It refers to a hurt or pain.
2) Another dictionary describes it as being crushed. It is the same word that describes the crushing of seeds a mortar and pestle to make spices. The crushing smashes and breaks open the seed and makes it bleed.
3) Here God applies the word broken to the human spirit that has been crushed.
b. How does God describe the broken spirit?
1) In our text, He says it is the opposite of a merry heart. The merry heart is glad and joyful. Therefore, the broken spirit is sad and joyless.
2) In Proverbs 15:13, God similarly says, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.” A broken spirit lacks a cheerful or glad face. Sorrow of heart is any pain, hurt, injury, or a wound that saddens the heart.
3) God describes the same broken spirit as wounded in (Proverbs 18:14) “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”
4) From these examples, we learn that the broken spirit is one that has lost it joy and smile. It has been crushed and wounded leaving it hurting and joyless.
O We have all experienced the broken spirit. It is a miserable depressing feeling. The devil delights in us having a broken spirit. When we lose our joy, we lose our testimony for the Lord. We focus on our hurts instead of focusing on the Lord’s goodness.
2. The cause of a broken spirit
a. Unpleasant circumstances can break the spirit
1) Sad news can crush us and steal our joy.
2) Stress and problems of any sort can break the spirit.
b. Worrying can break the spirit
1) Worry is fretting over something that “might” happen. The “what if” questions are spirit-breakers.
2) Worry is sin because it is failing to trust God.
3) The devil delights in promoting worry to break our spirit.
c. Unkind words or actions can break the spirit
1) (Proverbs 15:4) “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.”
a) A wholesome or healing tongue is like a tree of life that produces life-giving fruit.
b) On the other hand, a perverse tongue is one that says things that are crooked or twisted. They are words that crush and hurt. They break the spirit of others.
2) Another way that words or actions break the spirit is by manipulation. Manipulation is skilfully forcing or persuading people to do what you want. Collins Dictionary
a) Making “you should…” statements to cause guilt can be manipulating.
b) Giving to get is manipulation.
c) Screaming or yelling to get a response can be manipulation.
d) The “silent treatment” is a form of manipulation.
e) Blaming others can be manipulation.
f) Even a sneer, a sigh, or crying can be a form of manipulation to get what you want.
g) Manipulation breaks the spirit. It crushes, wounds, hurts and drains the joy from a person’s heart.
O A broken spirit may threaten to make us bitter. However, we must not allow that to happen. God will never allow a trial to come to you that He will not give grace sufficient to endure.
3. The results of a broken spirit
a. A broken spirit dries the bones
1) Dry bones are unhealthy bones. It is as if the person dries up inside. He loses his zest for life.
2) There is clearly a powerful relationship between emotions and health. If your spirit is broken and you do not get your joy restored, God says it will harm you physically.
3) Stress, worry, and anxiety caused by unpleasant circumstances, fretting, or an unkind relationship can raise the blood pressure and increase the risk of disease.
b. A broken spirit is hard to bear
1) (Proverbs 18:14) “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?”
2) This verse reminds us that a healthy spirit will sustain us during infirmities (i.e., sickness, disease). However, when the spirit is wounded or broken (same Hebrew word) it is difficult to bear or carry.
3) God truly understands how difficult it is for you to bear a broken spirit. Christ’s experiences while He was in human flesh enabled Him to understand our burdens. (Hebrews 4:15) “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 2:18) “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour [help] them that are tempted.”
O A broken spirit is harmful to your health and it is very difficult to bear, but we must stop focussing on our circumstances and begin focusing on God’s loving cure.
4. The cure for a broken spirit
a. Look to the Lord for help
1) God is always good, merciful, forgiving, caring, etc. Study God’s character. Meditate on it. Memorise such verses.
2) With God’s help, protect your spirit. Do not become bitter, angry, resentful, fretful, or revengeful. These are sinful reactions.
3) Give your burdens to the Lord. (Psalms 55:22) “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (Philippians 4:6-8) “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
4) Learn to trust God during unpleasant circumstances. (Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
5) Rejoice in the Lord. (Philippians 4:4) “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”
6) Thank God in the midst of your trials. (1 Thessalonians 5:18) “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
7) Ask God for wisdom to help those who do or say things that break your spirit. (Luke 6:28) “Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.”
8) Seek the counsel of a godly Christian. This is especially important in marriage conflicts.
9) Ask God to restore your joy. After King David repented of his sin, he prayed, (Psalms 51:12) “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”
b. Rule your spirit so you don’t break other spirits
1) If you have an unruled spirit that is breaking someone’s spirit, do not blame them. Deal with your unruled spirit.
2) God has clearly stated that if we have offended someone, he will not hear our prayers until we have gotten the offense corrected biblically (Mt 5:23).
Conclusion: A broken spirit is a normal response to painful circumstances, but we must not let it linger. Apply God’s cure right away. If you need help, seek counsel. If you cause a broken spirit, deal with your unruled spirit biblically as we learned the last two weeks.
Song: His Way with Thee – 367