Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Crying Out from a Heart of Brokenness, Day 3

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Leslie Basham: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds you . . . God draws near to the humble, but resists the proud. 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: You feel you’re not close to God? Maybe God is keeping you at a distance because God hates pride in every form.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth for Wednesday, November 2, 2016.

Over the last couple days, we’ve heard a convicting series from Nancy called “Crying Out from a Heart of Brokenness.” She’s taken us through a variety of Scriptures to show the contrast between proud people and broken people. Today she’ll help you think through some of the results of what you’ve heard. What do you need to do as a result of this message? Before we get to that, we’ll hear from some women who were in the audience at True Woman '16 when Nancy delivered this message. How did God use it in their lives?

Women 1: I see in myself some strongholds of spiritual pride. When I first heard Nancy's message many years ago on Revive Our Hearts and then to hear it in a fresh way this morning, what a sweet reminder that is to me now. What several years ago was to me a message that would have been more of a turn-off, now my soul is excited. Yes, remind my heart again how sweet it is to be broken before the Lord and to meet Him in places of humility.

Trillia Newbell: I had heard her recording of her original message that she played on Revive Our Hearts. I sat down, even though there is a transcript. I had to listen to it and type it out myself because I realized so many spaces, so many of the points, where she did that comparison and realized the need of brokenness and that freedom really is in brokenness.

Mary Kassian: Nancy's message on brokenness was amazing. I've heard it before; however, it is always powerful and always relevant. Always before we see a work of God around us, we need a work of God in us. And that comes through humbling ourselves and repenting of our sins and being broken before the Lord. It was really powerful to see how the Lord moved amongst the women in the auditorium. Women crying out to Him; women falling to their knees and crying out to the Lord; women embracing each other and forgiveness flowing, confession and repentence flowing. It was just a very sweet and powerful time.

Leslie: We’ve heard from some attendees at True Woman '16. They’ve been reflecting on the message from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth on brokenness. Now let’s listen to it for ourselves. 

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: God is more offended by the proud, cold, hard, dry-eyed critical heart of faithful churchgoers and ministry leaders than He is by an immoral woman, a prostitute, an adulteress, a murderer, an abortionist who has recognized their sin and come to the cross in humble repentance.

In fact, I’ll tell you, Jesus really offended the Pharisees, I’m sure of it, when He said to them in Matthew 21, verse 31: “Truly, I say to you, [He’s looking the Pharisees in the eyes] the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.” You think that went over well in church that day? I don’t think so.

So, what does it mean to be a broken woman? What does it mean to be a humble woman? And what are some of the characteristics of a proud, unbroken woman?

I want to just list several for you. When you come back this afternoon, or at the door today, I can’t remember, you’ll get a little card that has these and more on it, but I just want you to hear with your heart right now. You say, “Where’d you come up with this list?” I’ll tell you where I came up with most of them. This is pretty autobiographical. I just looked at my own life when I first gave this message. I said, “What are some of the evidences of pride and unbrokenness in my life?” Here are some of the things:

  • Proud woman focus on the failures of others; whereas, broken women are overwhelmed with sense of their own need.
  • Proud women have a critical, fault-finding spirit. They look at everyone else’s faults with a microscope, but their own with a telescope. But, broken women, on the other hand, are compassionate toward others who fail. They can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven.
  • Proud people are self-righteous. They look down on others. But, broken people esteem all others as better than themselves.
  • Proud women have to prove that they are right. They have to get the last word. But, broken women are willing to yield the right to be right.
  • Proud women are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation. But, broken women are self-denying.
  • Proud women want to be served. They want their husband and their children and everyone else to meet their needs. But, broken women are motivated to serve others.
  • Proud women have a drive to be recognized and appreciated. They get hurt when they’re not thanked or they get overlooked. But, broken women are willing to serve without expecting anything in return.
  • Proud women are wounded when others get noticed or promoted and they get overlooked. But, broken women are eager for others to get the credit, and they rejoice when others are lifted up.

I’ve got to tell you, after I first gave this message, the first time I ever gave it, twenty-one years ago, God moved in on a service something like this in an extraordinary way, and over the next two days, God sent a measure of revival as God’s people whose hearts had been prepared and began to respond to Him and say, “Yes, Lord.” I gave the message, sat down, and got out of the way, and God’s Spirit kept working.

Well, in the days that followed, people took this list, and they reprinted it, and they posted it. We didn’t have social media in those days, but they copied it. There were cassette tapes of the message, and they distributed those all around the world. People started writing me and saying how much this message had meant to them, how much it had changed their lives.

Over time, subtly, I realized one day that all this stuff about this message about humility had become a source of pride in my own heart. I think maybe it first dawned on me when I saw this list published without credit. I'm thinking, I wrote that, this thing about humility.

And the biggest lessons in my life, about what I’m talking about right here, have come since I gave that first message and each time I give it since, as God speaks to my own heart about this drive to be noticed, to be appreciated, to be thanked.

  • Proud people are self-conscious. But, broken women are really not concerned with self at all.
  • Proud people keep others at arm’s length. But, broken women are willing to risk getting close to others and take the risk of loving intimately.
  • Proud people are rigid and stiff and formal. They’re the ones that want to make sure they don’t cry so their makeup doesn’t run, and “somebody might think I’m like this horrible sinner.” But, broken women, they’re warm, they’re loving, and they don’t care, the tears can flow because they know they’re just sinners who need God’s grace every moment, every day of their lives.
  • Proud women find it difficult to share their spiritual needs with others. So if you have a little small group, “Let’s go around and share what God’s doing in our lives or what He’s speaking to you about or how we can pray for you. Pray for me that I’ll be a better mother, a better wife.” I mean, who doesn’t need that? But, broken women are willing to get specific about their sin and open and transparent as God directs.
  • Proud people have a hard time saying these words: “I was wrong. Will you please forgive me?” But, broken women are quick to admit failure and to seek forgiveness when necessary.
  • Proud women wait for the other to come and ask forgiveness if there’s been a misunderstanding or conflict in a relationship.

Now, listen, I wasn’t in your home yesterday, but I know what happened in some of your homes. You were getting ready to come to True Woman, and you’re hustling to get out the door and make sure your family’s needs were all met, and everything was going fast, and everybody wasn’t falling in line and doing exactly what you wanted, and your husband, in the midst of all of this, said something that hurt your feelings, and you’ve been nursing it ever since. And you’ve been thinking, When I get home . . . I mean, it’s just growing bigger and bigger in your mind what he did, what he said. It’s now a federal case in your head, and you’re thinking, When I get home, he better be at the front door, standing . . . no, better yet, on his knees, begging me, "I was so wrong, will you forgive me?” That’s a proud woman.

Broken women race to the cross to see if they can get there first. Don’t wait for him. Some of you have been waiting for a mate or a child or a parent who wounded you when you were a kid; you’ve been waiting for them to recognize how wrong they were. I’m not saying they weren’t wrong. But you’ve been saying, “I’m going to hold them at arm’s length until they’re willing to acknowledge how deeply they wounded me and come back and beg my forgiveness.” That is p-r-I-d-e. Self is all at the center of that.

  • Proud people are blind to their true heart condition. (The funny thing is, everybody else—I guess it’s not funny—but everybody else around them can see it. They’re the last ones to see it and know it.) But, broken women realize they have to walk in the light. God shows them the truth about their lives.
  • Proud women don’t think they have anything they need to repent of. (And there are hundreds, if not thousands of women in this room who, coming into this place today, if somebody asked you: “Is there anything you need to be repenting of, any area of your life that God’s dealing with you?” You couldn’t think of anything. I’ve been there. I know what that heart is like.) But, broken women realize they have need of a continual heart attitude of repentance.
  • Proud people don’t think they need revival, but they’re sure everyone else does. But, broken women continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God and a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit.
  • Proud women are sitting here thinking: There’s someone else who needs to hear this message. And you’re going to make sure and send them the link when you get home. (I don’t mean, by the way, to suggest that all the proud women are sitting over here. There are probably some sitting over here, too.)

When you think of it this way: Why would anybody want to be broken? Any more than someone would sign up for surgery or for childbirth?

I have a dear friend who this week was sent into emergency surgery. They never wanted surgery. Who does? But they agreed to it because they were told, “What’s going on in your body is so toxic, so poisonous, if you don’t have that surgery, you will die.”

So why do you submit to brokenness? Why do you let the Holy Spirit bring about that kind of sometimes painful thing in your life? Well, it’s because of the fruit of brokenness. Brokenness brings blessedness—blessedness. Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” That word "poor" is not just like somebody who’s living below the poverty line. That word "poor" in the Greek language is a word that means "utterly, absolutely destitute, poverty stricken." You have no help, no hope, no way of making it if someone doesn’t reach down and lift you up out of the gutter. And Jesus said, “Blessed”—happy, joyful, fortunate are those who are poverty stricken.

Now, that’s not our way of thinking. That’s counter-intuitive. But it’s God’s math. It’s God’s way of thinking. Blessed are the broken ones, those who realize they are bankrupt apart from Jesus and His grace.

So what kinds of blessings does brokenness bring?

Well we’ve seen that brokenness causes God to draw near to us, that God draws near to the humble, broken ones, and, conversely, He stiff-arms the proud.

Do you feel like you’re not close to God? Maybe God is keeping you at a distance because God hates pride in every form.

New life is released through our brokenness. That’s a blessing of brokenness.

Think about that kernel of wheat that Jesus talked about that goes into the ground, and it dies. It sheds its hard outer shell. It’s buried in the ground. No one coddling it. No one singing to it, playing music to it, recognizing it. It just dies. But Jesus says if it doesn’t die, it abides alone. Nothing ever happens to it. But if it dies, it brings forth much fruit. Brokenness brings increased fruitfulness.

Jesus said, “This is My body which is broken for you.” His death released eternal life for us, and so when we are willing to be broken, humble, contrite before God, His abundant life can flow through us to others.

Brokenness gives us an increased capacity for love and for worship. Think about that woman in Luke chapter 7. She’s broken. She’s humble. She’s grateful. She loves Jesus with all of her heart and nobody has to script for her how to worship Him. She doesn’t need a praise band up there telling her to do it. She doesn’t need noise. She doesn’t need instructions. It’s unscripted. It’s beautiful. It’s precious.

But some of us look at believers who act that way, and we get all Pharisaical about it. “Look at those people over there raising their hands. I don’t want to be one of those chars-matics.” Hey, that’s all right. Sit on your hands. That’s fine. And let me say, if you raise your hands in the air, and somebody next to you doesn’t, and you’re looking askance at them, like, “Why are they so . . .” then you’ve got a problem.

You see, God’s looking at our hearts. When your heart has seen who God is and who you are, and you’ve been broken and humble before God, then love for Jesus, worship for God, love for others, it comes flowing out of you vertically and horizontally. It comes flowing out of brokenness.

Brokenness brings increased fruitfulness because God uses things in people that are broken. Jesus’ body, broken on Calvary, and eternal life released for the salvation of the world.

I just want to address this question for a moment, and then I want to invite you to choose the step of brokenness as God’s been speaking to you. You say, “Where do I start?”

Well, first of all, see God as He is because the closer you get to God and His holiness, the more you will see yourself as you are.

And then fall on the Rock, Christ Jesus, who was broken for you. Cry out to the Lord and say, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner. Have mercy on me.”

And then acknowledge and verbalize need. “God, I need You. I need You. It’s not my brother. It’s not my sister. It’s not my pastor. It’s not the elders. It’s not the deacons. It’s not the youth. It’s not the old people. Lord, it’s me, standing in the need of prayer.”

No blaming. Listen, there’s no brokenness when the finger of blame is still pointed at someone else—your husband, your kids, your parents, your small group leader, your pastor, your boss, your whatever. That’s not brokenness.

Nothing in my hand I bring; simply to Thy 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.

Acknowledge and verbalize need to God. Roof off. And then walls down, acknowledge and verbalize need to others. There’s no brokenness where there is no openness.

Maybe it's to your husband, that you need to go home or call him before this day is over and say, “I’ve been such a proud, self-righteous, critical, judgmental woman, always evaluating you, always holding you up to my standard of performance. Could you please forgive me?”

Now, I don’t know what your story is, what your details are. I don’t know what your need is. But I know that this is an invitation that God draws near, and He brings to Him those who choose the pathway of humility. And in your choosing that, let me encourage you to do the very thing that you know God wants you to do but your flesh is telling you not to do.

“Lord, I’ll go to anyone, I’ll do anything, I’ll make any wrong of the past right except that one thing. I’ll go to any person except that one person.”

Listen, some of you came as a church group here. You’ve got ten, fifteen, twenty, fifty women here together at this conference. And for some of you, there’s someone in that group where there’s just walls a mile high between you. And who knows how it started or why or how long it’s been going on, but maybe God brought you here today to reconcile your hearts. Don’t wait for the other to come to you.

We’re going to open the altar of God’s presence in just a few moments, and I’m going to invite you to do whatever the Holy Spirit is telling you to do. Roof off. Walls down.

It may be that you need to find that person. Maybe it’s a mother and daughter, you came together, or mother-in-law and daughter-in-law, and there’s been a barrier between you, and you’re blaming. Stop blaming. Don’t do it. God’s not asking you to deal with their sin. God’s asking you to deal with your pride. You may need to take that person by the hand and come here and make an altar out of this front area or perhaps go back to that prayer room or just kneel there at your seat or in the aisle here and say, “I’ve been so proud. I’ve been so wrong. Would you please forgive me?”

How long has it been since you’ve knelt humbly before the Lord and said, “Lord, I need Your grace”? How long has it been since you’ve shared a real spiritual need, a burden with someone else? Some of you have sons and daughters that are far from God, but you’re too embarrassed to tell anybody. Some of you have kids in prison or a husband in prison, and you’re so ashamed, you’re so embarrassed. But you heard these women who are free and full and fruitful because they got honest. Maybe you just need to find somebody in your church group there, somebody who knows you, and just say, “There’s something I’ve been hiding, something I’ve been pretending about. I’m not who you think I am.”

Some of you women have . . . many in this room . . . who have had an immoral relationship, an immoral past, or an abortion, and you’ve hidden it. Listen, there’s no sin God cannot forgive. God is not as concerned about the sin that you have committed as He is about how you respond to that sin. Are you covering? Are you hiding? Are you pretending? Or are you willing to walk out into the light?

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to tell everybody everything about your whole life story. But I’ll tell you what, there shouldn’t be anything in your life, or mine, that we’re not willing and open to share if it would bring God glory and if it would help maybe somebody else who’s walking in that same direction.

So I want to ask if we could just stand for a moment, in the presence of the Lord. I know we’ve been here a long time this morning, but you saw a powerful illustration of brokenness and humility in these women who sat up here on this platform, former inmates at McPherson Women’s Prison. I wonder what God has been saying to you as He’s been speaking to our hearts this morning. Here at the front, on the far sides, all the way there at the back, what has God been saying to you?

Let’s just bow our hearts before the Lord for a moment, be still before Him. I want to ask you in these next moments: Would you take some step of humility and brokenness that God is speaking to you about? Maybe it’s to come to the front here and kneel. Maybe it’s to get in that aisle there and just kneel. Maybe it’s just to turn at your seat and kneel there before the Lord.

You say, “Just kneel? What does that do?” Listen, it doesn’t do anything if your heart’s not humble. But if your heart is humble, it can be an expression of humility.

Maybe you need to make your way back to that prayer room and get one of those prayer partners and say, “I need somebody to pray with me.”

Some of you need to get on your phone; go call your husband and say, “We’ve got to talk.”

Now, I’ve known women in a time like this who needed to confess to their husband that there was an immoral relationship they’ve kept hidden. I wouldn’t advise throwing that to your husband on the phone in the next two minutes. But I’d maybe find somebody else and tell them, “I’ve got to make this right.” And then ask God for wisdom. Maybe get another mature woman to pray with you about the best way to bring this into the light.

I’m talking about roof off; walls down.

I don’t know what God’s speaking to you about, but we’re going to be still. We’re going to be quiet. I want you to just stand for a few moments so that those who want to move can make their way out. And then, if you get tired of standing in a few moments, you can feel free to be seated, or however God prompts you.

I’d like to ask you, please, over these next ten or fifteen minutes not to disrupt anybody or anything. We’re just going to wait in the presence of the Lord. God is talking. Don’t wait for somebody else. You move if God is telling you, “You need to make something right. You need to talk to somebody. You need to pray. You need to go to that prayer room.” Whatever it is.

This whole room is going to be a massive altar where we’re just going to come and say, “Lord, it’s me standing in the need of prayer.”

We’re not going to be able to pray for others tonight if our hearts are not repentant and broken and humble before God. What do you need to repent of? What do you need to confess? What do you need to get right about? Where do you need to let the roof off? Where do you need to let the walls down?

You obey the Holy Spirit as He speaks to us in these moments. And, “Oh, Lord Jesus, You are here in this place, in Your people. There are women here who are like that one woman was from McPherson who say, “I’ve been in church all my life. I maybe was a Sunday school teacher, but I don’t know Jesus.” There are women who need to get saved. Give your heart to Christ. Surrender your will to Him.

Lord, I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what You’re speaking to people about, but You are the Holy Spirit, You are the God of the universe, and would You move on people’s hearts right now?

Forget everybody else and everything around you and just say, “Yes Lord.” Wave that white flag of surrender.

Lord, have Your way in this place.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth at True Woman '16, delivering a message called “Crying Out from a Heart of Brokenness.” After that message, there was an extended time of prayer and reflection as women repented and responded to the Lord’s lead. You heard Nancy inviting them to do that, and even though you’re not there in the auditorium, you can do the same thing. What does embracing brokenness look like in your life? Would you take a minute to respond to what you’ve heard?

One way you can follow up this message is by getting a copy of Nancy’s book, Brokenness: The Heart God Revives. You can read about the difference between proud people verses broken people. And the nice thing about a book is that you can write insights in it, underline, and take your time on passages that are convicting or encouraging you. We’ll send you the book Brokenness when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com, make your donation and request the book, or ask for the book Brokenness when you call 1–800–569–5959*.

We’ve been hearing the message Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth gave at True Woman '16. Dr. Russell Moore also spoke about getting real and letting the world see a humble church. Tomorrow we’ll hear his helpful message. Please be back, for Revive Our Hearts. 

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

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless otherwise noted.

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