Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss:

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Don’t wait for God to break you. Fall on the Rock—on Christ Jesus—who was broken for you, and begin the habit of crying out publicly with David, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Have mercy on me, O God” (Psalm 56:1).

Leslie: It’s Thursday, September 20, and you’re listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

A lot of college freshman began classes not long ago. A lot of them wanted to jump right into their favorite field, taking challenging classes, but they had a problem. They had to take the prerequisites first.

Before jumping to brain surgery, you need chemistry and biology. This week we’ve been hearing about another kind of prerequisite. We’re in a 12-week series on personal revival called, Seeking Him.

Here’s Nancy on brokenness and humility—prerequisites for revival.

Nancy: Well, we learned from the Scripture that brokenness brings blessedness. Brokenness brings blessedness. Jesus said, “Blessed are the broken ones, those who are poor in spirit.”

What kind of blessings does brokenness bring? God draws near to the broken. He lifts up those who are humbled. We’re told that God stiff-arms the proud. He resists them; 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. Do 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.

Jesus said, “If that grain of wheat does not fall onto the ground and it’s outer shell is not broken—if it does not die—it will abide alone” (John 12:24, paraphrase).

Loneliness that I have found in my own life is often evidence of un-brokenness. When I am willing for the 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 live of others.

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” (Luke 22:19).

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.

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 seven. 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 everyone around her. All that mattered was Jesus. In her worship and in her love there was such a lavishness and extravagance of freedom.

That’s because there is a cycle in the ways of God: 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—and when there is new freedom birthed through brokenness and repentance and forgiveness, that freedom will produce a new capacity for love and worship.

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 new found freedom, and an increased capacity for love and for worship.

We long for a greater capacity to love, to worship, to love the people we work with, and to love the people we live with. Why is our capacity so limited? Perhaps it’s because we’re not living in brokenness—for brokenness yields that wonderful fruit of increased capacity for love and worship.

Brokenness brings increased fruitfulness. God uses things and people that are broken. There are so many wonderful illustrations of this in the Scripture:

  • It was when Jacob’s natural strength was broken at Peniel that God was able to clothe him with true spiritual power.
  • It was 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 was when Gideon’s 300 soldiers broke their pitchers that the light of the lanterns within shone forth.
  • It was when the little boy’s five loaves were broken—and I’ll tell you I had a picture of this yesterday as I was driving by the picnic! I said, “This had to look like something similar to the feeding of the 5,000!” I imagined Jesus taking those five loaves, and when they were broken in the hands of the Master, they were sufficiently multiplied to feed the multitudes with abundance left over.
  • It was when Mary’s alabaster box was broken that the fragrances were released and filled the whole house.
  • But most significantly, it was when Jesus’ body was broken on Calvary that eternal life was released for the salvation of the world.

The fruit of brokenness is also 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 see this so much in the history of revival, and we’ll be sharing more about some of these illustrations in the seminars tomorrow, but let me just highlight a few moments where God used brokenness to bring about revival.

We’ve read—and Mrs. Bright has shared with us—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 at Jesus’ Feet. Through that brokenness, God released a great flood tide of His Spirit that encompassed the whole camp 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, and was told about it by Dr. C. L. Culpepper, the director of the Southern Baptist Mission Agency in that province.

He tells a story about how there was a group who had been praying for revival—a group of leaders and missionaries. He told about how one night he went to his own home after the prayer meeting, and he got before the Lord. He sensed the need and dryness, but couldn’t put his finger on what it was.

He cried out into the late hours of the night, “O God, what is it in me?” After he’d 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 the praise of him being a good missionary 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. 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 a great outpouring of God’s Spirit in that province.

You’ve heard, perhaps, of the Lewis revival in 1949 and 50. There was a group of deacons of the church there who had met for months, three nights a week for 18 months in a barn to pray for spiritual awakening and revival.

They prayed 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 has clean hands and a pure heart, he shall receive blessing from the Lord” (verses 3- 4).

He looked at the assembled group of deacons there, and he said, “Gentleman, it seems 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, and out of that brokenness, the Lord released a revival throughout the Island of Lewis that is still spoken of in Scotland as a great moving of God’s Spirit.

You’ve heard the story of how God brought revival to the little nation of Romania in the mid-70s, which ultimately led, I believe, to the revolution there.

But perhaps you may not have heard how that revival actually started. The 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 the Second Baptist Church of Erodia 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, the Lord unleashed and released the reviving power of God through that little nation.

God says, “I dwell in the high and holy place, but I also dwell with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit—to revive the heart of the humble and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Are you a broken person? You might say, “How do I start? Where do I begin in this lifestyle of brokenness?” First, we need to come to see God as He really is. The closer we get to God, the more we will see our own need.

I think of Job, a righteous man, enduring intense suffering as part of that cosmic plan of God and the warfare between Heaven and Hell, just a bit-player in a sense. Under the philosophies and input of his friends, Job began to reveal a heart of self-righteousness and spent many chapters defending himself and protesting his innocence.

He talked on and on and on until finally, God said, “I’d like to speak.” God began to reveal Himself and His ways to Job. When God finished, Job could hardly breathe.

He said, “O God. I had heard of you with the hearing of my ear, but now my eye has seen you, and now, I abhor myself, and I repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6). No more self-righteousness—but rather, a broken man pleading with God for mercy.

I’ve spent most of the last seven months in the book of Isaiah—and how God has met with me there! In the fifth chapter, you see Isaiah, this great servant of God, pronouncing woes.

“Woe to them who are materialistic. Woe to them who are proud. Woe to them who are sensual. Woe to the hedonistic pleasure seekers. Woe to the immoral” (verses 8-23, paraphrase). He had the list down.

But then we come to verse three of chapter six, and Isaiah sees the Lord, high and lifted up, “Holy, holy, holy!” No longer is Isaiah seeing himself in light of all the sinful, wicked people around him, but now he sees himself in one light only—he is in the light of a holy, high and lifted up God.

He says no longer, “woe to them.” The first words out of his mouth when he sees God are, “Woe to me. Woe to me” (verse 5).

The apostle Paul had the wonderful privilege of seeing the resurrected Christ on the road to Damascus. His life was never the same. He spent the rest of his life here on earth drawing close to that resurrected Christ.

The more he grew in his spiritual pilgrimage, the more he saw his own need. Early in his Christian life, he called himself the least of all saints—as he thought back on where he had been and where God had found him.

But as he matured in his faith and as he came to know God better, he called himself less than the least. At the point at which he was closest to God, he referred to himself as the chief of sinners.

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 anyone falls on this Rock, he will be broken. But anyone on whom the Rock falls, it will crush him to powder” (Matthew 21:44, paraphrase).

Don’t wait for God to break you. Fall on the Rock—on Christ Jesus—who was broken for you, and begin the habit of crying out publicly with David, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Have mercy on me, O God” (Psalm 56:1).

A practical step that I have found 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, “O Lord, it’s not my brother, it’s not 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, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer.”

To cease my blaming—there is no brokenness as long as the finger of blame is still pointed at another. When I acknowledge my need to God, I say,

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

(Rock of Ages, Toplady and Hastings).

I’m learning not only to acknowledge need to God, but to acknowledge need to others. 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’ll 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? I have a need. God’s dealing with me in this area.”

A number of years ago God’s Spirit brought deep conviction to my heart that I had developed a pattern in my life of exaggerating the truth, and God began to show me that it was lying—that I lied to make myself look better or to make a better impression on others.

I found myself in brokenness before God, coming to confess that sin, looking to Him for cleansing and victory. But the victory did not come in its fullness until I was willing to find two godly people and confess openly my sin before them and say, “Would you pray for me that God would deliver me from the sin of lying?”

With that openness and that brokenness before God and before others (as painful as it was at the time) came unbelievable freedom and deliverance to speak the truth to every person in every situation regardless the cost.

Brokenness brings release of His life through us. Finally, to be broken—to live that lifestyle of brokenness—is to do the very thing that you know God wants you to do, but your flesh least wants to do.

What is it? Many of us have been obeying God in different ways this week—responding to God—but obedience can sometimes be cosmetic and respectable.

I say, ask God. Sometimes we don’t need to ask—sometimes He’s already pointing it out. He’s pointed it out to some this week. What is the step of obedience? What is the step of humility before God?

Do the very thing that you know God wants you to do that your flesh least wants to do. A number of months ago, God’s Spirit spoke to my heart. I realized that for me—living alone—that the television had become a barrier to my relationship with the Lord.

God’s Spirit prompted me, “You need to turn that television off when you’re alone in your home.” A heart attitude of humility and obedience says before God, “Yes, Lord, I will obey you.”

There’s a chorus that’s been heard frequently—sung frequently—in some of the student revivals we’ve been talking about.

Pass me not, O gentle Savior,
Hear my humble cry;
While on others Thou art calling,
Do not pass me by.

(Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior, Crosby and Doane).

I think of the blind beggar who heard that Jesus was coming his way. He cried out, “O Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me” (Luke 18:38). Proud, unbroken people won’t pray that way. They see no need for mercy.

Those who are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing will not cry for mercy. But those who have been face-to-face with the crucified Savior and a holy God can cry out for mercy—that’s the cry of a poverty-stricken heart that acknowledges its great need.

Brothers and sisters, Jesus is passing this way today, and He wants to meet with us. He wants to visit us. He wants to release His Spirit through us. He can, and He will—when He finds humble, broken, contrite hearts that have been emptied of self, that He might fill with Himself.

When we are broken, we can be mended.
In our confession, we can be healed.
In our repentance, we find deliverance
When joy comes like the morning,
Joy comes like the morning,
Joy comes like the morning bright and clear.

Leslie: That’s John Elliott, singing about the importance of brokenness. Before that song, Nancy Leigh DeMoss spoke on brokenness from 1995. God used that message in amazing ways.

We’ve been revisiting this classic talk from Nancy as part of the series, Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. It’s a 12-week radio series and a 12-week Bible study.

Women everywhere are following along with us, reading the Seeking Him workbook and studying the Bible daily. We are in week two of this series, and it’s not too late for you to order Seeking Him and follow along with us.

Visit ReviveOurHearts.com to learn about the workbook, plus, there’s a whole array of Seeking Him resources to consider, like a DVD of Nancy teaching this material—perfect for small groups.

The message we heard today had far reaching effects, including the launch of Revive Our Hearts. A couple of people in the audience that day thought Nancy should be on the radio, and God used them, along with other circumstances, to birth what would become the radio program you’re hearing right now.

God also used people who gave generously. There a lot of expenses involved in producing a daily program. You need more than a couple of guys saying, “Hey, you should be on the radio!”

God has been faithful, and in those early days, He used a couple of donors who made substantial gifts, hoping listeners like you would get on board and help the program continue.

Will you help Revive Our Hearts remain on the air in your area with your support? When you make a donation of any amount, we’ll send you Nancy’s book Brokenness: A Heart God Revives.

It’s the book that came out of the message we heard today, and I think it’s a book everybody should read. We’ll include a bookmark that lists the differences between proud people and broken people.

Nancy read that list yesterday. Ask for the bookmark and Brokenness when you call with your donation. Just call 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

One of the marks of pride is a lack of prayer. Find out why, when we focus on humility and prayer on Revive Our Hearts.

Joy comes like the morning bright and clear.
Yes, joy comes like the morning, bright and clear.

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

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.