Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Are You a Proud Person or a Broken Person?

Julie Denker: Every other year we go out to CSU. After a while they tend to run together, but this particular year that certainly wasn't the case.

Leslie Basham: The year was 1995. Julie Denker was at staff training as a member of Cru—at the time, known as Campus Crusade for Christ. They meet every other summer on the campus of Colorado State University.

Julie: I had never heard Nancy Leigh DeMoss speak before. So I went into the meeting on a Monday and remember this petite woman in a red blazer speaking powerfully. And God was just using her to soften my heart and to teach me about brokenness. I'd never heard a message like that before.

Recording of Nancy Leigh DeMoss in 1995: In recent weeks I have found God searching my own heart. I've gone before Him many times and said, "Oh God, show me what it means to be a broken person, to live a lifestyle of brokenness." What are some of the characteristics, the evidences of a proud, unbroken spirit. Let me just share with you some that have come to my own heart as I have waited on the Lord.

Proud people focus on the failures of others, but broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need. Proud people are self-righteous. They have a critical, fault-finding spirit. They look at everyone else's faults with a microscope but their own with a telescope, and they look down on others. But broken people are compassionate. They can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven. They think the best of others.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Wednesday, July 8, 2015.

This week we’ve been marking the twentieth anniversary of a classic message Nancy delivered on the topic of brokenness. Earlier this week we heard from many who were in the audience and deeply affected by the message. And yesterday we began hearing the message itself. You can hear anything you missed at  Here’s part two of "Brokenness: The Heart God Revives."

Recording of Nancy Leigh DeMoss in 1995: In recent weeks I have found God searching my own heart. I've gone before Him many times and said, "Oh God, show me what it means to be a broken person, to live a lifestyle of brokenness." What are some of the characteristics, the evidences of a proud, unbroken spirit? Let me just share with you some that have come to my own heart as I have waited on the Lord.

Proud people focus on the failures of others, but broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need. Proud people are self-righteous. They have a critical, fault-finding spirit. They look at everyone else's faults with a microscope but their own with a telescope, and they look down on others. But broken people are compassionate. They can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven. They think the best of others, and they esteem all others better than themselves.

Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit, but broken people have a dependent spirit and recognize their need for others. Proud people have to prove that they're right, but broken people are willing to yield the right to be right. Proud people claim rights and have a demanding spirit, but broken people yield their rights and have a meek spirit. Proud people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation, but broken people are self-denying.

Proud people desire to be served, but broken people are motivated to serve others. Proud people desire to be a success, but broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make others a success.

Proud people desire for self-advancement, but broken people desire to promote others. Proud people have a drive to be recognized, to be appreciated. They're wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked. Broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness. They're thrilled that God would use them at all in any ministry. They're eager for others to get the credit, and they rejoice when others are lifted up.

Proud people have a subconscious feeling, "This ministry is privileged to have me and my gifts." They think of what they can do for God, but broken people have that heart attitude that says, "I don't deserve to have any part in this ministry." They know that they have nothing to offer God except the life of Jesus flowing through their broken lives.

Proud people feel confident in how much they know, but broken people are humbled by how very much they have to learn. Proud people are self-conscious, but broken people are not concerned with self at all.

Proud people keep others at arm’s length, but broken people are willing to risk getting close to others and to take the risks of loving intimately. Proud people are quick to blame others, but broken people accept personal responsibility and can see where they were wrong in the situation.

Proud people are unapproachable, but broken people are easy to be entreated. Proud people are defensive when criticized, but broken people receive criticism with a humble, open spirit. Proud people are concerned with being respectable. They're concerned with what others think, and they're working to protect their own image and reputation. But broken people are concerned with being real. What they care about and what matters to them is not what others think but what God knows, and they're willing to die to their own reputation.

Proud people find it difficult to share their spiritual needs with others, but broken people are willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs. Proud people, when they have sinned, want to be sure that no one finds out. Their instinct is to cover up, but broken people, once they've been broken, they don't care who knows or who finds out. They are willing to be exposed because they have nothing to lose.

Proud people have a hard time saying, "I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?" But broken people are quick to admit their failure and to seek forgiveness when necessary. When confessing their sin, proud people tend to deal in generalities, but broken people are able to deal under the conviction of God's Spirit to acknowledge specifics.

Proud people are concerned about the consequences of their sin, but broken people are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin. Proud people are remorseful over their sin, sorry that they got found out or caught. But broken people are truly, genuinely repentant over their sin, which is evidenced in the fact that they forsake that sin.

When there's a misunderstanding or conflict in relationships, proud people wait for the other to come and ask forgiveness, but broken people take the initiative to be reconciled. They race to the cross. They see if they can get there first, no matter how wrong the other may have been.

Proud people compare themselves with others and feel worthy of honor, but broken people compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for His mercy. Proud people are blind to their real heart condition, but broken people walk in the light. Proud people don't think they have anything to repent of, but broken people realize that they have need of a continual heart attitude of repentance.

Proud, unbroken people don't think they need revival, but they're sure that everyone else does. Whereas humble, broken people continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God, for a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit.

Now why would, with that long list, why would anyone want to be broken, anymore than we would want to sign up for suffering or surgery? Well, we learn from the Scripture that brokenness brings blessedness. Brokenness brings blessedness. Jesus said, "Blessed are the broken ones, those who are poor in spirit" (see Matt. 5:3).

What kind of blessings does brokenness bring? Well, we heard from the verse that Chuck read earlier that God draws near to the broken (see Ps. 34:18). He lifts up those who are humbled (see Ps. 147:6). We're told that God stiff-arms the proud. He resists them (see James 4:6). He keeps them at a distance, but He comes close to, even as the father of that prodigal son drew that repentant, broken son to his chest and embraced him, we find that our Heavenly Father draws near to the heart of those who are broken. You want to get close to God? God draws near to the place of brokenness.

We find that brokenness brings the blessing of new life being released. Jesus said that, "if that grain of wheat does not fall onto the ground, and its outer shell is not broken; if it does not die it will abide alone" (see John 12:24).

Listen. Loneliness, I have found in my own life, is often an evidence of unbrokenness. Because when I am willing for that hard outer shell to be broken, then the life of Jesus can be released through me, and there is reproduction; there is fruit produced in the lives of others.

Of course, the ultimate picture of that brokenness is the Lord Jesus, who we have worshiped this morning. As He said, “This is my body which is broken for you” (see 1 Cor. 11:24). On that cross, as He experienced and endured the brokenness of fellowship with His Heavenly Father, from whom He had never known a moment's separation, and as He took upon Himself the full weight of our sin and was broken on our behalf, His death released eternal life for us. So when we are willing to be broken, His abundant life flows through us to others.

Brokenness will bring to us an increased capacity for love and worship. I think back to that sinner woman in Luke chapter 7. She had been forgiven much, so she was able to love much. I see in that woman an abandon in her relationship with Jesus that I desire for myself.

She was oblivious to the rejection or the thoughts or the disapproval of anyone around her. All that mattered to her was Jesus. And in her worship and in her love, there was such a lavishness, an extravagance of freedom. That's because there's a cycle in the ways of God that brokenness leads to genuine repentance. Genuine repentance leads to forgiveness. Forgiveness will produce in my life freedom from the guilt, freedom from the bondage of myself and my sin.

When there is that new freedom birthed through brokenness and repentance and forgiveness, that freedom will produce a new capacity for love and worship and a capacity to love others, to love the unlovable, to love God, to worship God.

And, of course, that worship and that love of God lead us always back to new levels of brokenness, leading to greater and deeper repentance, to new forgiveness, to newfound freedom and increased capacity for love and for worship, to love the people we work with, to love the people we live with. Why is our capacity so limited? Perhaps it's because we are not living in brokenness, for brokenness yields that wonderful fruit of increased capacity for love and worship.

And then brokenness brings increased fruitfulness. For you see, God uses things and people that are broken. There are so many wonderful illustrations of this in the Scripture.

  • It's when Jacob's natural strength was broken at Peniel that God was able to clothe him with true spiritual power.
  • It's when the rock at Horeb was struck and broken by Moses' rod that the water flowed out to quench the thirst of the people.
  • It’s when 300 people broke their pitchers that the light of the lanterns within shone forth.
  • It’s when the little boy's five loaves were broken—I tell you, I had a picture of this yesterday driving by the picnic. I said, “This had to look like something of the feeding of the 5,000." I imagined Jesus taking those five loaves, but when they were broken in the hands of the Master, they were sufficiently multiplied to feed the multitudes with abundance left over.
  • Brokenness brings increased fruitfulness. It's when Mary's alabaster box was broken that the fragrance was released and filled the whole house.
  • And as we've said, it's when Jesus' body was broken on Calvary that eternal life was released for the salvation of the world.

Then the fruit of brokenness is to be seen in revival. That for which we have longed and prayed is really nothing more than the release of God's Spirit through broken lives. We’ve read about the Welsh Revival in 1905. The song that was sung throughout the Welsh revival, sung through lips that represented broken and contrite hearts, was that chorus, “Bend me, lower, lower, down at Jesus’ feet.”

Through that brokenness, God released a great flood tide of His Spirit that encompassed that whole land and brought untold revival blessing to the world.

You’ve read perhaps about the Shantung Revival in the late 1920s and early 1930s in China. I read about that again recently as told by Dr. C.L. Culpepper who was the director of the Southern Baptist mission agency in that province.

He tells a story of how there was a group that had been praying for revival, a group of leaders and missionaries. He told how one night they went to his own home after the prayer meeting, and he got before the Lord, and he sensed need and dryness but couldn't put his finger on what it was. He said into the late hours of the night, "Oh God, what is it in me?”

After he met with God that night, he came back to the prayer meeting in the morning and confessed to his fellow missionaries and leaders the sins of spiritual pretense, of spiritual impotence. He confessed that their praise of him being a good missionary had caused him to be proud and to steal glory from God. He said, "My heart was so broken; I didn't believe I could live any longer."

Out of that brokenness, God brought brokenness to that assembled group of missionaries and national pastors and Christian leaders, and it resulted in an unbelievable outpouring of conviction of God's Spirit, conviction of His holiness, conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment which resulted in confession of sin and of great outpouring of God's Spirit throughout that province.

You've heard perhaps of the Lewis  Revival in 1949 and 50 on the Isle of Lewis, the largest island of the Outer Hebrides, just off the coast of Scotland. There was a group of deacons of the church there who had met for months, three nights a week for eighteen months, at night, in a barn, to pray for spiritual awakening and revival. They prayed as much and as intensely and fervently as they could without seeing any results.

Then the story is told of how one night a young deacon rose to his feet and quoted from Psalm 24: "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; he shall receive blessing from the Lord" (vv. 3–4 KJV). He looked at this assembled group of deacons and he said, "Gentlemen, it seems to me to be foolishness for us to be praying for revival as we are if we ourselves are not right with God."

There on the straw the men knelt and confessed their sins to God. Out of that brokenness was released a revival throughout the Isle of Lewis that is still spoken of in Scotland today as a great moving of God's Spirit.

You heard, I know, of the story of how God brought revival to the little nation of Romania in the mid-seventies which ultimately lead, I believe, to the revolution there. But perhaps you may not have heard how that revival actually started. A pastor of one of the largest evangelical churches in the country went before his people.

Now it helps to understand that in Romania, at least in those days, believers of all denominations were referred to as "repenters." This pastor stood before his people in that Second Baptist Church of Oradea and said, "It is time for the repenters to repent."

He called his people to join him in repenting of specific sins that if I named them to you, we in our western world would think, "How insignificant." But broken over their sin, the repenters began to repent. Through their brokenness was unleashed, and it released the reviving power of God through that little nation.

You see, God says, "I dwell in the high and holy place, [but I also dwell] with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones" (Isa. 57:15 KJV).

Leslie: We’ve been listening to a classic message that Nancy Leigh DeMoss delivered in 1995. We’ll finish the message through the week on Revive our Hearts.

Nancy used that talk as the basis for a book called Brokenness: The Heart God Revives. It’s an expanded study of brokenness, and I hope you’ll get a copy. Study this crucial topic for yourself and make it personal.

We’d like to send you Brokenness, along with a bookmark that contrasts proud people vs. broken people. It’s our way of saying "thanks" when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. When you support Revive Our Hearts, it allows us to be there for women like Tina. She wrote to Nancy not long ago.

Nancy: Tina reminded us that God has perfect timing. She told us that many times the topic on Revive Our Hearts is exactly what she needs for a particular moment. She wrote and said: “Some days I walk around with my ears glued to your podcast just so I can get through a rough time.”

Well, Tina’s been downloading archived programs at, looking for topics that address the specific needs she’s facing. She says, “I love God’s Word.” And she’s thankful that Revive Our Hearts helps her understand God’s Word and apply it to her daily life.

Well, Revive Our Hearts can only connect with women like Tina thanks to the support of listeners like you. When you contribute financially to Revive Our Hearts, it allows us to provide Tina, and other listeners like her, challenging, practical daily content both on the radio and online.

Would you consider sending a gift today? The summer months can be a challenging time for ministries like ours as people sometimes drop off their support in the summer. So it would mean a lot if this ministry has been a blessing to you and you would send a special gift to help meet the needs this month.

Your gift at this time will help us speak to more women like Tina who desperately need to experience freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. Thanks so much for partnering with us in this ministry.

Leslie: You can support Revive Our Hearts by calling 1–800–569–5959. Make sure to ask for Brokenness: The Heart God Revives and the bookmark, or take us up on this offer by visiting We’ll send one set per household for your donation this week.

Tomorrow, Nancy will show you how to pursue a lifestyle of brokenness.

Recording of Nancy Leigh DeMoss in 1995: See God as He is. Get into His presence, and in His presence we will see ourselves as we really are.

Then fall on the Rock. Jesus said, "I am the rock, and if anyone falls on this rock, He will be broken. But anyone on whom the rock falls, it will crush him to powder." Don't wait for God to break you. Fall on the Rock, on Christ Jesus who was broken for you and begin the habit with the publican of crying out, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." With David, "Have mercy on me, oh God."

And then I find, just as such a practical step in developing a lifestyle of brokenness is the need to acknowledge and to verbalize need, both to God and to others. To God, that I might live with the roof off saying, "Oh Lord, it's not my brother; it's not my sister. It’s not my leaders; it’s not the deacons. It’s not the pastor; it’s not the leadership of this ministry. It’s not my neighbor. It's me, oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer." To cease my blaming. You see, there is no brokenness as long as the finger of blame is still pointed at another.

But when I acknowledge my need to God I say:

Nothing in my hand I bring.
Simply to thy cross I cling.
Naked come to thee for dress.
Helpless look to thee for grace.
Vile, I, to the fountain fly.
Wash me Savior or I die.

I’m learning not only to acknowledge need to God, but to acknowledge need to others. You see, there is no brokenness, no true brokenness, where there is no openness.

Does that mean every sin I confess needs to be confessed to every person I meet? Certainly not. But I tell you, the broken person is willing for others to see him in his point of need. He's willing to be transparent, to be honest. He's willing to say, "Will you pray for me?"

Leslie: Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Teacher

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love for Christ and His Word is infectious, and permeates her online outreaches, conference messages, books, and two daily nationally syndicated radio programs—Revive Our Hearts and Seeking Him.

She has authored twenty-two books, including Lies Women Believe and the Truth That Sets Them Free, Seeking Him (coauthored), Adorned: Living Out the Beauty of the Gospel Together, and You Can Trust God to Write Your Story (coauthored with her husband). Her books have sold more than five million copies and are reaching the hearts of women around the world. Nancy and her husband, Robert, live in Michigan.