The Alabaster Box Must Be Broken
The Bible speaks of “alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure spikenard” (Mark 14:3). God purposely used this term “pure” in His Word to show that it is truly spiritual. But if the alabaster box is not broken, the pure spikenard will not flow forth. Strange to say, many are still treasuring the alabaster box, thinking that its value exceeds that of the ointment. Many think that their outward man is more precious than their inward man. This becomes the problem confronting the church. One will treasure his cleverness, thinking he is quite important. Another will treasure his own emotions, esteeming himself to be more advanced than other people. Others highly regard themselves, because they feel they are better than others, their eloquence surpasses that of others, or their quickness of action and exactness of judgment are superior, and so forth.
However, we are not antique collectors. Nor are we “vase” admirers. We should be those who desire to smell only the fragrance of the ointment. Without the breaking of the outward, the inward fragrance will not come forth. Hence, not only do we individually have no flowing out, but also the church has no living way. Why then should we hold our outward man to be so precious, especially if the outward only contains the fragrance, instead of releasing the fragrance?
The Holy Spirit has not ceased working. He makes sure one event after another and one difficulty after another come to us. These disciplinary workings of the Holy Spirit have but one purpose—to
The Importance of Brokenness
break our outward man so that our inward man may come through. Yet here is our difficulty—we fret over trifles, we murmur at small losses, and we complain about insignificant things. The Lord is ever finding and preparing a way in order to use us. Yet when His hand slightly touches us, we begin to feel unhappy—even to the extent of quarreling with God and having a negative attitude. Since the time when we were saved, we have been touched by the Lord many times in various ways—all with the purpose of breaking our outward man. Whether we are conscious of it or not, the aim of the Lord is to break this stubborn vessel called our outward man.
Nevertheless, the Treasure is in the earthen vessel (2 Cor. 4:7). But if the earthen vessel cannot be broken, who can see the Treasure within? Have we seen what is the final objective of the Lord’s working in our lives? It is to break open this earthen vessel (2 Cor.4:7), to burst open our alabaster box (Mark 14:3), to crack open our shell (Jn. 12:24). The Lord longs to find a way to bless the world through those who belong to Him. Brokenness is the way of blessing, the way of fragrance, the way of fruitfulness. But, it is also a path sprinkled with ‘blood from our wounds.’ Yes, there is blood from the many wounds we suffer. When we offer ourselves to the Lord for His service, we cannot afford to be lenient and spare ourselves. We must allow the Lord to crack open our outward man utterly so that He may find a way out for His working through us.
Each of us must find out for himself personally what is the mind of the Lord in his life. It is a most lamentable fact that many do not know what is the Lord’s mind or intention for their lives. How much they need Him to open their eyes, to see that everything which comes into their lives can be meaningful. The Lord has not wasted even one thing. To understand the Lord’s purpose is to see very clearly that He is aiming at a single objective, and it is simply this—the breaking of our outward man. 17 18 The Release of the Spirit