Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Fallen on the Rock

Leslie Basham: Jesus once told a story about two men who offered very different prayers. The first was most interested in himself.

Man 1: God, I thank you that I am not like other men: extortioners, unjust, adulterers, even as this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.

Leslie: The other, a despised tax collector, knew that he had no right to ask or expect anything from God. He simply cried out in humility.

Man 2: God, be merciful to me, a sinner.

Leslie: Which person are you most like?

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, July 9.

Twenty years ago this month, God used a message about brokenness in powerful ways. This week we’ve been listening to that message. Nancy delivered it in 1995 for the staff of Cru—back then they were known as Campus Crusade for Christ. That message had a big affect on the audience that day, and I think you’ll get a lot out of it today as well. Stay with us for the next twenty minutes or so as we continue exploring the important topic of brokenness.

Recording of Nancy Leigh DeMoss in 1995: Are you a broken person? You say, "Where do I start? How do I begin in this lifestyle of brokenness?" First certainly, 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. He endured intense suffering as part of that cosmic plan of God and the warfare between heaven and helljust a bit player in a sense. But under the philosophies and input of his friends, Job began to reveal a heart of self-righteousness. He 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." And for chapters God began to reveal Himself and His ways to Job who, when God finished, Job could barely breathe. He said, "Oh 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, rather a broken man pleading with God for mercy.

I spent most of the last seven months in the book of Isaiah, and how God has met with me there. You read the fifth chapter and see Isaiah, this great servant of God, pronouncing woes (Isa. 5:8-30).

  • 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!

He had the list down.

Then we come to the first verse of chapter 6. Isaiah sees the Lord high and lifted up. "Holy, holy, holy" (v. 3). And no longer is Isaiah seeing himself in the light of all this sinful wicked people around him, but now he sees himself in one light only, and he's in the light of the holy, high, and lifted up God.

He says, "No longer woe to them." The first words out of his mouth as he sees God are, "Woe to me. Woe to me" (v. 5). 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" (Rom. 9:33 paraphrased). 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."

Then I find 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 me, O 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 pointing at another.

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.
Fowl I to the fountain fly.
Wash me Savior or I die.

("Rock of Ages" by Augustus M. Toplady)

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? 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'd developed a pattern in my life of exaggerating the truth. God began to show me that it was lying, that I lied to make myself look better; to make a better impression on others than was honestly true. I found myself in brokenness before God coming to confess that sin, looking to Him for cleansing and victory.

I'll tell you friends, 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?"

I want to tell you, with that brokenness and openness 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 and every situation regardless of the cost. Brokenness brings release of His life through us.

Finally, to be broken, to live that lifestyle of brokenness, to do the very thing that you know God wants you to do, but your flesh least wants to do. The heart attitude of humility and obedience says before God, "Yes Lord, I will obey You."

There's a chorus sung frequently in some of the student revivals we've been talking about:

Pass me not, oh gentle Savior.
Hear my humble cry.
While on others thou art calling.
Do not pass me by.

("Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior" by Frances Crosby)

I think of that blind beggar who heard that Jesus was coming his way and he cried out, "Oh Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Listen! 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 out for mercy. But those who've been face to face with the crucified Savior, a holy God, can cry out for mercy. That's the cry of the poverty-stricken heart that acknowledges its great need.

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

(Singing by Fernando Ortega)

While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by.

Leslie: We’ve been listening to a message Nancy Leigh DeMoss delivered in 1995 on the subject of brokenness.  We’ll hear more from Nancy in just a minute. God used that message in powerful ways among those who heard that message twenty years ago. And that message is very much alive for us today as well.

Everyone who wants to follow Jesus needs to grapple with this topic. I hope you’ll follow up by getting a copy of Nancy’s book, Brokenness: The Heart God Revives. We’ll send it to you when you donate any amount to support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts. You’ll also get a bookmark with a list contrasting proud people and broken people.

We’ll send one book and bookmark set per household for your donation of any size. Your donation will help us continue bringing Revive Our Hearts to you each weekday. And here in the summer, donations tend to be lower, and we really need friends like you to help make the ministry possible.

Call us at 1–800–569–5959 and ask for the book Brokenness and the bookmark, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com to make your donation and the book.

All week, we’ve been looking at the topic of brokenness. In the rest of the time we have today, Nancy’s going to show us the danger of the opposite of brokenness—the danger of pride.

Nancy: As we continue to seek the Lord for revival, we need to recognize that this issue of pride is no small matter. It is a big, big deal to God. The Scripture says that God opposes the proud, but He pours grace on the humble, that God stiff-arms the proud. The way I’ve heard it explained is, “He sets Himself in battle array against those who are proud.”

I don’t know about you, but I want God to draw near to me. I want to draw near to God. But we’re seeing that the only kind of people that can get close to God are the humble, the lowly, the contrite, the broken ones. So every vestige of pride in my life is something that keeps God at a distance from me. It keeps me separated from God. It keeps God setting Himself against me.

Imagine being opposed by the almighty God. That’s exactly what happens when we’re proud, when we refuse to humble ourselves, when we refuse to acknowledge our wrongdoing. When we refuse to accept responsibility for our actions, our attitudes, we make God our opponent.

And what does God do to the proud? Over and over again you see this all throughout the Scripture. Daniel chapter 4. This is the theme of the book of Daniel probably, and that is that “those who walk in pride he is able to humble” (v. 37).

God will humble those who refuse to humble themselves. God is committed, and you’ll see this all throughout the Scripture, to punish pride and to bring down the proud.

Let me read you a string of verses here from the Scripture about how God responds to the proud.

“The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day” (Isa. 2:11).

Several verses from Proverbs.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace” (11:2).

“The Lord tears down the house of the proud” (15:25).

Think about that. Is there pride in your home? Pride in your marriage? Pride in your heart? God says, “I’ll work against your home. I’ll tear it down. I’m going to destroy that which is proud.”

“Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished” (16:5).

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (16:18).

“One’s pride will bring him low” (29:23).

“Whoever has a haughty look and an arrogant heart,” God says, “I will not endure” (Ps. 101:5).

And then the book of Jeremiah:

“The proud one shall stumble and fall, with none to raise him up” (50:32).

And then Obadiah:

“Though you soar aloft like the eagle, though your nest is set among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord” (1:4).

Here’s the principle all through God’s Word: You lift yourself up; God will bring you down. He promises it. Count on it. You lift yourself up—it’s true of individuals. It’s true of a family. It’s true of a church. It’s true of a nation. It’s true of a workplace. It’s true of nations in this world. You lift yourself up and in God’s way, and in God’s time, God will bring you down.

But here’s the other side of that. You choose to humble yourself and God will lift you up. He will exalt those who humble themselves, those who take their rightful place under His authority. So I want us to take a few moments here to look at the most powerful example of true Christian humility ever, and that’s the example of the Lord Jesus.

Turn in your Bible to Philippians chapter 2. You’re familiar with this passage, but I find this is a passage I need to go back to again and again and again to remind me of what humility looks like. This is the spirit that I want to have and you want to have if we’re going to seek the Lord—that we must have, the spirit of Christ, that humble spirit.

So Paul begins in Philippians chapter 2, actually all through the book of Philippians. You may want to read through that book and study it and look for evidences of humility, characteristics of humility.

There are also some evidences of pride in the book of Philippians. Remember the two women who couldn’t get along with each other? Paul says, “You need to learn to get along.” These are two women working in the church. Boy, do we have that in our churches today, women who can’t get along together.

Paul says, “Humble yourselves.” But here in chapter 2, the middle of the book of Philippians, is this wonderful portrait of the most humble One who ever lived, who also is the most exalted One who ever lived, the Lord Jesus.

So he says in verses 1–2,

“If there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

He’s speaking to the Body here, to a local church. He’s saying, “Hey, you people there at Philippi and you people there in Little Rock or Chicago or Philadelphia or wherever you live, in your local church there, be of one mind. Be of one accord.”

You say, “Does that mean we don’t have any differences, we don’t have any disagreements?” No, you’ll have differences, but you’ll be able to humble yourselves and love each other through those differences and move together in step in seeking and pleasing the Lord.

In your marriage, he says, “You, husband and wife, be of one accord.” That doesn’t mean you don’t bring different strengths to your marriage. It doesn’t mean you don’t bring your own opinions to your marriage. But it means you both, husband, wife, submit yourselves to the Lordship of Christ. And now it’s no longer she wants her way and he wants his way and her way’s right and his way is right. So there is this inevitable clashing.

Now there are two people who have come together, humbled themselves, bowed together, bowed their knees and their necks before the Lordship of Christ and said, “Lord, You’re in control of this marriage, this home, this church. Have Your way. Not my way, but Your way. Your will be done.” That’s how you become of one mind.

And Paul says in verse 3, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit.” Don’t do anything because of comparison. Don’t do what you’re doing to try to look better, one-upmanship (my child learned to read before yours did). This is rivalry, conceit, sinful comparison. Don't do what you are doing to try and look better. “But in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Another translation says, “Esteem all others as better than yourself.”

Let me just ask you. Think about your mate. Think about the people in your small group, the people in your work environment, the people you live and work with, go to church with. Do you esteem all those people as better than yourself?

I’ll tell you it’ll make a world of difference in your marriage if you start to look at your husband through eyes of humility, if you count him as more significant than yourself.

“So who’s going to worry about me?” God will. You humble yourself; God will lift you up. He’ll take care of your needs. “Well I’ll just be a doormat!” I’ll tell you what: If you approach your husband with a humble, teachable spirit, you’ll probably find that your husband will put you on a pedestal so high it’ll take a telescope to find you.

I’m not saying for sure that will happen. It may not. Your husband may not have a heart for the Lord. But there is something about us even as humans that is drawn toward humility.

When you think about it with your children—when they humble themselves and they have a teachable, responsive, flexible spirit, aren’t you more drawn to them than if they come in and they’ve got their arms crossed, and they’re rolling their eyes, and they’re resisting your leadership and your authority? Doesn’t that make you want to buck them when you see them bucking you?

God opposes the proud, but God draws near to the humble. So He says, “Count others more significant than yourselves.” You have to have the Spirit of Christ to do that. That’s not natural; that’s supernatural.

Then Paul says in verse 4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Don’t just think about your hobbies, your interests, your things, your family, the things that are of a concern to you. Look out for the interests of others.

Ask yourself as you’re going to meet with somebody, “How can I draw out that person? What’s on their heart? How can I find out what their needs are? Their burdens? Their concerns?” Show an interest in others.

Verses 5–7:

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant.”

That’s the heart of humility. Taking the form of a servant.

You say, “Yes, I don’t mind being a servant as long as nobody makes me serve. I want to choose who I serve and when I serve and how I serve.” Right? God says, “No, do it like Jesus did. He made himself of no reputation and took on the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”

This is the Creator of the universe stepping down to wash the feet of the one who would betray Him, taking the form of a servant. You’re never more like Jesus than when you’re humbling yourself to serve your family, to serve in your church.

“And being found in human form,” verse 8, “he humbled himself by becoming obedient.” That’s another mark of humility—obedience. Obedience. Pliable. Responsive to God-given authority. He obeyed the word of God. He obeyed the will of God. He obeyed the human authorities that God placed in His life.

And how far did He go in obedience? To the point of death! I mean, all the way to laying down His life, even death on a cross. So what happened? Here’s God’s principle at work. You humble yourself. God will lift you up.

Verses 9–11:

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Peter says it to us this way, 1 Peter chapter 5: “Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another” (v. 5). I want to challenge you when you get dressed in the morning not just to make sure you’ve got your clothes on, but to make sure that you’ve got humility on. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.

You’d better get it on before you leave your bedroom in the morning. You’d better get it on before you see your husband. You’d better get it on before you see your children. You’d better get it on before you get to work.

“Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:5-6).

I want to tell you ladies—I’ve said this many times over the years and you’ll hear me say it again. You can never go wrong on the path of humility.

So when you go to bed at night, your face is to the wall, your back is toward your husband and there is a mountain of ice between you. Hurtful things have been said. He started it. You started it. You know at that point it doesn’t really matter, does it?

But you’re saying, “He needs to humble himself.”

And God is saying, “You humble yourself. Race to the cross. See if you can get there first. Take on the mind, the heart of Jesus, the Servant, the One who considered others’ interests above His own.” Humble yourself.

See if you can be the first to seek forgiveness when you’ve spoken sharply to a family member—a child you disciplined in anger. Go back, seek forgiveness. Say, “I was wrong. I sinned. Would you please forgive me?” And if you can’t get the words out of your mouth, say, “God, I need grace to even humble myself to say the words.”

In every circumstance and situation of life there is a pathway of humility you can take. You can choose to clothe yourself in humility. More of Christ; less of me. All of Christ; none of me. That’s the pathway of humility.

You may think on the front side, “I’m just getting walked over. My needs won’t get met.” I can assure you your needs will get met. God will draw near to you. He will look after you. He will set Himself to lavish His grace upon you as you take the place of humility. If you don’t, you set yourself to a lifetime of God opposing you.

That’s what’s happening in our churches today. Marriages, individuals, couples, families—they’re being opposed by God because of pride. God says, “You want revival? I revive the hearts of the contrite ones, the lowly ones, those who realize they are nothing and I am everything.”

Oh Lord, how we pray that You would grant us a baptism of humility. Immerse us in it. Clothe us in it. May we choose the pathway of humility as Jesus did for our sakes. He who was rich became poor so that we through His poverty might be made rich.

Lord, help us to strip ourselves of that pride, that ugly, corrupt, self-centered way of thinking and living that keeps us in such bondage. And Lord, take us back into our homes as women who walk in humility, into our churches, into our workplaces. To exude there the humility of Christ, to give off the fragrance of the humility of the Lord Jesus, not so others can say, “Look how humble she is,” but so they can say, “Look how great God is.”

May You be exalted. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss with a message every woman needs on humility. Why? Because all of us are tempted to be full of pride.

And that’s why I hope every listener will get a copy of Nancy’s book, Brokenness: The Heart God Revives. We’ll send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. And you’ll get a bookmark that includes a list contrasting proud people and broken people.

You can support Revive Our Hearts by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com, or ask for Brokenness when you call 1–800–569–5959.

All week we’ve been marking the twentieth anniversary of a message Nancy gave on brokenness. We’ve heard from many who were in the audience. Tomorrow we’ll hear about what happened after that message was over. Hear about the power of radical repentance, next time on Revive Our Hearts.

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

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