Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Episode Resources

Learn more about Seeking Him and the bonus material for the study.

Dannah Gresh: I’m going to go out on a limb and imagine that you clothed yourself this morning, that you took time to put on a skirt and a top. Did you—maybe—forget something? Today Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminds us that the apostle Peter told us to clothe ourselves . . . in humility.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Listen, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the outfit you have is, how cool it is, how fashionable it is . . . or unfashionable for that matter! If you’re not clothed with humility, it doesn’t matter.

Leslie Basham: This is the Revive Our Hearts podcast with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, along with Dannah Gresh, for October 1, 2019.

Dannah: Have you ever been annoyed by someone who just reeks with pride? And yet, don’t we all struggle with it? Today Nancy’s going to help us get our humility on. Yesterday we began the series “Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.” It’s based on Nancy’s classic workbook that’s just being re-released called Seeking Him.

She also has a new twelve-session video that goes along with the Seeking Him workbook. This is a great opportunity for me to remind you how important it is to study God’s Word together. Maybe you could use these resources to study it as a group. 

Now, let’s listen in to Session 2 from that video series: “Seeking the Lord Through Humility.” 

Nancy: We’re talking about seeking Him, and as we do, we will experience the joy of personal revival. That’s the subtitle of this study. So, there’s an end in sight: Christ is the end. But as we find Him, as we seek Him, we will also experience the joy of personal revival.

Over these next few sessions we’re going to talk about some of the basic foundational prerequisites to revival, some of the foundational steps to seeking Him. It’s not like you do one and then another and then another. It’s not like stairsteps—that you get closer to God as you do each one of these chapters, or these lessons.

But it is a progression. There’s a process that we go through. It’s not like you finish one and then you go to the next one and you forget about the first one. No, you keep building these into your life. We want all of these themes that are talked about in these lessons to become a way of life.

I know some of you have been through the Seeking Him study before, but here you are, going through it again because you know, as I do, that we need reminders. We need refreshers so that we can see, “Is there something that I’ve been forgetting?” 

You go to the doctor and you get a complete physical. You know the things he told you to do last time, but maybe since last year you forgot about some of those things. So we need the reminder; we need a fresh checkup to say, “How are we doing in these areas?”

The first requirement for revival, the first requirement in seeking Him (we hinted at it in the last session, but we’re going to unpack more of it today) is humility. So I want to just start by praying.

Lord, we’re going to talk about something that is unnatural to us. We need Your help, and so we need You to open our ears, open our eyes, open our hearts. Help us to be people who say, “Yes, Lord!” to whatever You say to us today through Your Word . . . and each day. I pray in Jesus’ name, amen. 

I want to start in Isaiah chapter 57. In the last session we were in Isaiah 55, so we’ve just turned over a couple of pages. We’re still on this thought of, “How can we experience the reality of Christ’s presence, His peace, His joy in our lives?” And in Isaiah 57, verse 15, we have what I think is one of the key Bible verses—one of the key verses in all the Scripture—about humility.

It starts by talking about God, which is where we should start in every conversation. We start with Him, and then we see how we fit into it. Isaiah 57:15 (NKJV): “For thus says the High and Lofty One

Who inhabits eternity, whose nameis Holy . . .” Now, we could just spend a whole session on those two lines!

We won’t, but we’re starting with God, and we’re seeing that He is high, He is exalted, He is eternal, He is self-sufficient, He is holy. Thus says this high, exalted, holy God Who lives in eternity. He says, “I dwell in the high and holy place.” Well, that’s no surprise. God is high; He is holy; He is exalted. Of course, the place where He lives would be exalted and holy, right? “I live there.”

That’s no surprise to us. But then He says, “I also dwell in a second place.” God has a second address. It’s actually the same place. He says, “[I dwell] with him who has a contrite and humble spirit . . .” (Some of your translations will say, “lowly”—“contrite and lowly spirit.”) “. . . to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Do you want your heart to be revived? The starting place is in humility. God is high. He is lofty. He is eternal. He is self-sufficient. We are everything but that! We are created. We are dependent. We are needy. And God makes some incredible promises to people who are willing to humble themselves.

He says, “I dwell will them; I will live with them.” He promises to revive them, to bring fresh life into them, to refresh them. Do you need that? I need that constantly! I need it every day. I need it some days even worse than other days, but there’s never a moment of my life when I don’t need God to revive my heart! 

And God says, “Here’s the kind of person I’m going to revive: it’s the person who is contrite and humble in spirit.” The first step to experiencing these blessings and the first step to experiencing every other blessing that God has for you is humility. 

Now that word, “humility,” it sounds like a word we use a lot. It’s the word “human,” right? In fact, the word “humility” is derived from the Latin word “humus,” which means “dirt, earth.” Some of you like to eat hummus. It’s made out of something that comes from the earth. I don’t know if it’s related to that or not! “Humus” is earth. 

God formed the first man of dust from the ground Genesis 2:7 tells us. He was earth, dust, dirt. And then God breathed into him the breath of life, and he became a living creature made in the image of God. But with sin came man exalting himself above God; that’s what caused the first sin. God said, “I am God; you are man. Love Me, worship Me, serve Me, be true to Me, obey Me.”

But man said, “No, I’ll be God!” He put God down, and he put himself up. That’s what all sin really is. It’s deifying ourselves and humanizing God, bringing God down to human “dirt,” earth and bringing ourselves up to that high and lofty place. 

God said, as He told the man and the woman and the serpent the consequences, He said to the man, “You are dust”—humus, earth—“and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 3:19). Because man would not humble himself, God said, “I’m going to humble you. I’m going to bring you down.” You see, we can’t talk about humility without also talking about pride.

What is pride? P-R-I-D-E: what’s smack in the middle of that word? “I”—self-exaltation, self-importance, self-centeredness, self-seeking, self-protection: “The world revolves around me!” We see this from the time we’re born. You see it in babies. You thought that little baby you gave birth to, your first child, was going to be sweet and precious and just sanctified, coming out of the womb.

And you go, “Oh, no!” It doesn’t take long for you to realize that baby has drives and everything in that baby’s world centers around itself. Most of us spend the rest of our lives looking and acting like big babies! “I” . . . P-R-I-D-E. Pride is no small matter. The Scripture tells us how God views pride.

I want to just read some of those verses to kind of give us a sense of how important and significant pride is for us to deal with. 

The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled (Isa. 2:11).

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

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

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

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:8).

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

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

Do you get the picture? Do you see how God can’t stand pride? Because what does it do? It tries to bring Him down, and God is high and lofty and holy. He will not be brought down. Now, let me just say, parenthetically, that what is true of individuals is also true of nations. 

You see an example of that in the little Old Testament book of Obadiah. Let me just read the first few verses of Obadiah (it’s just one little chapter, probably one page in your Bible), beginning in verse 1: “Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom . . .” God had a gripe with Edom because of the way the nation, the country, the city/state of Edom had treated His people.

There’s more of that in other parts of the Old Testament, but God says: 

Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be utterly despised. The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who live in the clefts of the rock, in your lofty dwelling, who say in your heart, “Who will bring me down to the ground? 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 (Ob. 2–4). 

People can’t afford to be proud, and nations can’t afford to be proud, because in the end God will bring down every person, thing, nation that exalts itself against Him.

Pride is destructive. It is deadly! It hurts us; it hurts our relationships—our relationships with God and with others. And so Peter says in 1 Peter 5:5, 

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another.

I know you got dressed this morning; you look great! I came with a couple options to wear for this session today. We have wardrobe. We get clothed before we go out. We clothe ourselves, but do you remember every day before you go out to clothe yourself with humility?

Listen, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the outfit you have is, how cool it is, how fashionable it is . . . or unfashionable for that matter! If you’re not clothed with humility, it doesn’t matter. And if you are clothed with humility, it doesn’t matter, also.

“Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another . . .” Why? “. . . for God opposes the proud.” Another translation says, “God resists the proud” (NKJV). 

That word “oppose” or “resist” is what God does to proud people. It’s a word that means, “to set oneself against.” It’s a military term. It means “to go to battle against.”

Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want God to set Himself against me! I don’t want God to go to battle against me, because I can tell you who’s going to win that battle . . . and it’s not me! It’s like your little two-year-old you’re trying to get to eat something off his plate. And you say, “This child thinks he’s going to win.” And you realize, “This is the battle I’m going to win.”

We resist God, and sometimes I think we must look to God like that two-year-old having that temper tantrum. “I will not!” or “I will! I will have my way!” And God says, “Keep trying; keep fighting; keep screaming; keep beating the floor; keep pulling out your hair, but I’m going to win this one!” God is going to win because God goes to battle against those who are proud.

Imagine being opposed by Almighty God! Yet that’s exactly what happens when we’re proud. By refusing to humble ourselves, to admit our wrongdoing, to accept responsibility for our actions and our attitudes, we make God our adversary, our opponent.

Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar learned this the hard way. He’s a case study in pride . . . and humility. At the end after he had been greatly humbled (God had made him lose his sense, his reason; he ended up in the field eating grass like a wild beast) he affirms that God is the God of heaven and earth.

In Daniel 4:37 he says, “Those who walk in pride he is able to humble.” That’s a verse we need to take with us everywhere! Those who walk in pride . . . Am I walking in pride at this moment? God knows. Everybody else may not know around me; sometimes they do, because pride stinks. But sometimes we can keep it kind of private. But those who walk in pride God is able to humble.

Well, back to 1 Peter 5:5; it says, “God opposes the proud,” but here’s the sweet part, “[He] gives grace . . .” Who does He give grace to? “. . . to the humble.” When we humble ourselves we become candidates for the grace of God. He gives us everything we need—at His expense!—when we’re willing to humble ourselves and acknowledge our need.

You exalt yourself? God will bring you down. You humble yourself? God will lift you up. He says, 

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you (1 Peter 5:6). 

What a thing, to let God exalt you rather than to exalt yourself!

A humble spirit; what is a humble spirit? We’ve kind of looked at pride, but what is a humble spirit? I think it’s a proper estimation of ourselves in relation to God and others, recognizing the truth of who we are in relation to God and in relation to others. 

So first we need humility toward God. That’s the vertical—how we view God, how we respond to Him.

Let me just give you a few examples to get your thinking started. When we are humble toward God, we see Him as great and ourselves as small. We realize when we’re humble toward God that God does not exist to serve us and to bless us, but that we exist to serve and bless Him. 

Now, He wants to bless us, but His ultimate purpose—and our ultimate purpose if we’re humble—is that God would get all the glory; that all blessing and honor and glory and power and strength, it would all go to Him. When we’re humble toward God, we recognize that we are not self-sufficient. We are not independent; rather, we are dependent on Him for everything—for every breath we take, for any good thing in our lives. We’re dependent on Him. 

We have nothing good that God doesn’t give us. When we’re humble, we recognize that. When we’re humble toward God we’re teachable, we’re pliable, we’re responsive to His Word. When we see ourselves in the mirror of His Word, we say, “Lord, you’re right; I’m wrong!”

We’re moldable; we don’t stiffen our necks as children sometimes do (and as grown-ups sometimes do, too). When we’re humble toward God we’re submissive to His authority. We say, “Yes, Lord!” Whether I agree with it or not, whether it makes sense to me or not, whether it feels comfortable or not, whether I can understand it or not. “Yes, Lord, I bow the knee.” I bow my head. I just say, “Yes, Lord!” That’s a humble spirit toward God. 

When we’re humble toward God, we’re willing to acknowledge and confess anything that He shows us to be sin. It’s another, “Yes, Lord!” Humility. God shows me that I have a root of bitterness and unforgiveness in my heart; I say, “Yes, I confess it.” 

I don’t argue with Him. I don’t defend myself. I don’t rationalize it or excuse or blame. I say, “Yes, Lord.” When we’re humble toward God we trust Him. We accept His Providences in our lives. We accept His choices for our lives. 

One night last week, Robert and I were lying in bed just talking before we went to sleep. There were several things in our day and in this season of our lives that we were just talking about. Some of these things were burdens. 

We found ourselves at the end of the day just kind of discouraged—not toward each other—but just kind of bearing together some of these things that were happening that we didn’t know how to fix, we didn’t know how to change. We didn’t know what to do about this or that. We could just sense it in each other.

You don’t want to go to sleep that way, and so we were praying. We were trying to lift this up to the Lord. And the freedom, the release to sleep in peace, came as we humbled ourselves together before the Lord. The passage came to my mind as Robert was praying and then I read this short Psalm 131. Let me read it to you.

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother (vv. 1–2). 

And so we calmed and quieted our souls before the Lord. We realized, I think, both us together, that when we strive, when we stress, when we try to figure everything out that . . . What did Chuck Swindoll say years ago? “Don’t try to unscrew the inscrutable!” We were trying to figure all this out; we were trying to be God, and we’re not! We know that, but we needed that reminder. 

We can’t fix all this. We can’t change other people. We can’t change certain circumstances. But as we calmed and quieted ourselves before Him we were saying, in essence, “We’re not going to become uptight, bent out of shape, trying to sort out of all this, trying to control all these outcomes.” We were saying, “We trust You, Lord, to figure this out. We trust You to show us what to do. We trust You to meet our needs and to direct our steps, and to work even through the hard things for our good and for Your glory.” 

And isn’t there freedom and a peace that comes when you humble yourself and say, “You’re God! I’m not. I trust You.” Humility toward God.

We need also humility toward others. That’s how we view them, how we treat them. And I’ll just say, when we get it right with God, it’s going to be easier to get it right with others. This passage in Philippians 2 (I wish we could just camp on this for a very long time), but let me just mention it here. 

In Philippians 2:2 the apostle Paul says, “Complete my joy by being of the same mind.” He’s talking about what it looks like to have humility in interpersonal relationships. 

[Be] of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from [rivalry] or conceit (vv. 2–3). 

He’s saying when you’re humble toward others you’re not going to be competitive. There’s no one-upmanship, no trying to bring the other person down, trying to push myself up. We do that in so many ways, conscious and unconsciousness. “Do nothing from rivalry . . .” That’s you against me. “. . . or conceit . . .” That’s, “I’m better than you are!” It’s exalting myself. “. . . but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

Now, it’s not so hard for me to account someone that I love and respect. When they love and respect me and we’re getting along great, I say, “Oh, you’re wonderful! I can account you as better and more significant than myself.” But what about the people who, like, step on my last living nerve?! What about the people who are obstructionists and they’re just cantankerous and they make my life difficult!? (I’m very thankful that I have more of the former in my life than the latter.) You know, one person who’s just in your way or on your nerves can color the way you see everything, right? And Paul says count that person more significant than yourself! 

How many contentions, debates, areas of strife, broken relationships would be solved—or would be greatly lessened—if we would do just that one thing: count others more significant than yourselves.

Then this, verse 4, Philippians 2: 

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 

Not, “How does this affect me? What do I think about this? Well, how will this make my life more difficult?” Moms, you get this, because you’re constantly having to put the interests of your little ones ahead of your own interests at times, right? 

Well, it works in parenting; it works in marriage. Now, that doesn’t mean that you don’t try to be healthy yourself, but you’re saying, “I’m here to serve. I’m not here to be served.” It’s amazing how as we seek to serve the Lord and others, God somehow amazingly, beautifully meets our needs. “Look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

It reminds me of Romans 12, a passage Robert and I have talked about many times, verse 10: “Outdo one another in showing honor.” Outdo one another. Think about that in your marriage, think about that with the person at work who drives you a little nutty. Esteem them highly. This is a recognition of our need for others.

“I need you. I need you even though you’re wired so differently than I am.” People take all these tests and they’re supposed to show people how they can work better together, how their suitemate or their roommate or their cubemate or their housemate, their husband-mate, how you can, you know . . .

You have all these tests, and if that helps you, that’s great. But I think you could maybe accomplish a lot of the same things just by living out some of these kinds of passages. If we would treat others as more significant than ourselves, if we would value and esteem them very highly in love, if we would humble ourselves and view them as being valuable, if we would view them not having to be the same as us, but even when they’re different than us, we value that. 

Jonathan Edwards said it this way; it’s pretty graphic: 

Christians who are but fellow worms ought at least to treat one another with as much humility and gentleness as Christ treats them. 

So when the person’s driving you crazy, just remember, we’re “fellow worms.” Humus. Earth. Humans.

Now, we’re made in the image of God, but not only am I. . .that person is, too. “Christians who are but fellow worms ought at least to treat one another with as much humility and gentleness as Christ treats them.” Well, of course, the Model for all of this is Jesus Himself, right? The humility of Christ. . .you see it as you go on in Philippians chapter 2. 

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 (vv. 5–6). 

Another version says, “He did not cling to his rights as God” (TLB). He made Himself nothing! This is the King of the universe—the One that angels bow before and worship!

He made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of [humans, humus, dirt, earth]. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross (vv. 7–8).

You remember what we read in 1 Peter 5:6: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” That’s what Philippians 2 tells us what happened with Jesus. He humbled Himself. 

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 (vv. 9–11).

Right before Robert and I got engaged (I mean like, that week), we flew from two different places. We met each other in Little Rock and spent two days (eleven-and-a-half hours over two days, if I remember correctly) in counseling, premarital counseling, with a man who specializes in blended marriages.

Robert had been previously married; his wife died. He has two adult children and grandchildren. I didn’t have a former mate and children, but I had all kinds of ministry “children” and relationships. We just wanted to get wisdom about how to bring all this together and to just confirm that God was leading in this way.

It was wonderful. It was so, so helpful! This man said so many wise things; we’ve thanked him many times. But something I will never, ever forget—at least I hope I don’t!—was at the very end. After all those hours of helpful, wise counsel, he took us to 1 Peter chapter 5 (where we’ve looked today) and he read that passage to us.

And he focused on this part: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (v. 5). He said, “God opposes the proud,” and then he looked at us and he said, “So do others, including your mate. If you’re proud, whether it’s with your mate or his children or his grandchildren or other people, if you are proud, other people are going to resist you.” 

“God opposes the proud and so do others, but God gives grace to the humble.” And then he said, “So do others. When you humble yourself with your mate, with his family, with your family, with your friends, in your office, it works in not just marriage, but in parenting, in any relationship. You humble yourself, God gives grace, and so do others!”

You can never, ever go wrong on the pathway of humility—with the Lord, with your mate, with your children, your coworkers, your neighbors, your friends, your enemies, on social media. Everywhere! Are you walking in humility? F.B. Meyer said, “The only hope of a decreasing self is an increasing Christ.”

You want to be humble? Don’t ask God to humble you. He knows how to do it, but you don’t want that to have to have happen! You want to humble yourself. How do you do that? Get a great big view of God—feast on Him, look at Him, focus on Him, see how great He is. And then ask Him to give you a true view of yourself.

That doesn’t mean you’re always self-deprecating or putting yourself down or, “I’m nuthin’! I’m just dirt.” No, that’s how we started out, but God breathed the breath of life into man; he became a living soul made in the image of God. God loves you. He values you. But you find your worth and your value when you see yourself in the correct perspective of who God is.

Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and in due time, at the proper time, He will lift you up.

Dannah: I think we all struggle with humility. I know I do, and I need this teaching from Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth. Maybe you do, too. She’s going to be back in just a moment to pray over us. The series that we’re in right now is entitled “Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.” I think it addresses some very basic and critical topics for us to relearn.

It provides a solid understanding of the basics. I want to invite you to go deeper on these topics by going through the workbook Nancy co-authored with Tim Grissom. It’s entitled Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. It is a perfect quiet time tool! You’re going to study the Scripture on personal revival and have a chance every day to reflect on your own life.

I’d love to send you a copy, and we can do that when you make a donation in any amount to help support the ministry here at Revive Our Hearts. You can make that gift by going to ReviveOurHearts.com, or just call us at 1–800–569–5959.

We live in a world of angles and spin and half-truths, and tomorrow Nancy’s going to help us see the value of honesty and help us to know how we can walk in integrity. Here’s Nancy to close our time today.

Nancy: Oh Father, You are high and holy and lofty! You are great. You’re eternal . . . and we are humus; we are human. We pray that we might come before you in a contrite and humble spirit, and we thank You that You’ve promised to revive our hearts, lift us up. So may we always be lifting You up, walking in humility before You and before others as we continue on this journey of seeking You! I pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to experience the joy of personal revival. The podcast is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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