Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Portrait of Personal Revival

Leslie Basham: Hiding your sin will keep you in a miserable place of bondage. Andrea Griffith shows you the way out.

Andrea Griffith: Confession is the key that unlocks the door to your bondage; to your captivity. It is the key that swings that gate wide open to set you free.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, April 30, 2015.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Yesterday we began listening to the story of a dear friend of mine named Andrea Griffith. If you missed that program, you will want to go back to ReviveOurHearts.com and listen to the audio or read the transcript from yesterday’s program.

Andrea explained how she grew up as a model churchgoer. On the outside she had it all together, but her heart was far from God. She was harboring resentment and bitterness, and she was hiding the guilt of past immorality and abortion even while serving in a Christian ministry. In fact, she traveled to various churches ministering with Life Action Ministries, which is the parent organization to Revive Our Hearts. At the end of yesterday’s program, we heard how Andrea had a breakdown in a grocery store. You will hear her mention that today.

It was at that point that she finally came clean and got honest with God about her sin and fully surrendered her heart to the Lord. After getting real about her sin, Andrea went through a process of personal revival. We are about to see what that kind of deep life change looks like. Here is Andrea.

Andrea: One of the things that God wanted to do in my life was just a deep work of brokenness. We have a working definition of brokenness that is simply my response of humility and obedience to the prompting of God’s Spirit and the revelation of God’s Word. It is exactly what happened to me in the grocery store that day, okay? God’s Spirit spoke to my heart, and I said, "Yes Lord, you are right." The prompting of God’s Spirit or the revelation of God’s Word when He speaks to me that I am to respond in humility and obedience.

Sometimes we think of brokenness as this great big catastrophic thing that happens in our life, but brokenness is just a lifestyle. It is a choice. How many of you have ever ridden a horse? Has anybody ridden a horse? I bet it was a broken one, right? You know the difference? We watch those rodeos. What do the unbroken horses do? They are bucking. They are trying to get that guy off their back. Do you know there are unbroken Christians who do the same thing with God in our lives? God is trying to direct us, trying to tell us which way to go, and we are like, “You are not going to tell me what to do!” And we are trying as hard as we can to get Him off our back. We are unbroken.

For some of us in this room we think, It has been a long time since I have just heard from God. It has been a long time since God’s Word leapt off the page at me. It may be because you are unbroken. You are not broken before the Lord, just yielding in humility and in obedience to the Lord. Sometimes when we are not broken before Him, what happens is this little saying that says, “Time heals all wounds.” You know what? That is not really true.

Time may help you erase a few things, but you know what heals our wounds? Jesus Christ. And us responding to Him in brokenness. When we are broken before Him, He can reach in and heal those places in our hearts. And when we are not broken, we can get mean and really ornery and not very much fun to be around when you are not a broken Christian woman. Anybody know anybody like that? We won’t raise our hands.

Or we can go to the opposite extreme. Instead of getting mean and ornery and forcing our way in our lack of brokenness, we can become very fearful and afraid and cowardly. God will tell us to do something, but because we are not broken, we don’t obey, and we become afraid and back ourselves into a corner. It is all a lack of having a broken spirit just daily before the Lord.

The other thing that God wanted to do in my life was give me a clear conscience. Having a clear conscience is basically being able to say that there is no one alive that if I have hurt or wronged them that I have not gone back and made it right. Now my clear conscience list was a mile long. I had so many kids in my youth group that I needed to call and seek their forgiveness. I had professors in college that I had cheated on tests in their class that I needed to call and seek their forgiveness. My parents, I had talked to them about all of my past, but now I had a new view of how I had hurt them, and I had to call them and seek their forgiveness. My clear conscience list was a work in progress and honestly, it still is.

Just to keep a short sin account when God brings that person across my path that I can seek their forgiveness and say, “Man, I really blew it here. Could you forgive me?” In my family, I had to ask my daughter’s forgiveness this morning. She said something and I snapped back at her, and God’s Spirit was just all over my heart. I just had to say, “Brooke, will you please forgive me? That was so wrong.” Just keeping that short sin account, having a clear conscience before people.

Not only did I have to clear up my past, but because I was such a good liar, I would just lie all the time, so I had to clear up my present. So what I did is if I would lie or exaggerate, I would look right at the person and I would say, “I just lied to you. Will you please forgive me?” And after you humiliate yourself like that, it becomes a whole lot easier just to tell the truth. I am lying to get their approval. If I have to go back and just tell them I lied, it becomes a whole lot easier just to tell the truth in the first place.

The other thing is that I began to get very sick. I began to have some major health issues. When I was at my worst, I could only be out of bed for about five hours a day. My joints were aching. I had no strength. I had no energy. Before this time I was running two miles a day.

At this point I could only be out of bed five hours a day just doing mundane tasks. My hair was falling out. I was losing weight. I was just sick. And I really didn’t understand what God was doing because I thought I was finally getting in a right relationship with Him.

How many of you in this room are gardeners? Does anybody like to garden? A few of you. I hope to one day be a gardener. But I have just not been able to grow very much on the church parking lot while I am there just for a week. But if you are gardeners, you may have heard of this term. How many of you have heard of the term sucker shoot? Anybody know what a sucker shoot is?

For those of you who have no clue what I am talking about, let me try to display it up here for you. Pretend this is a plant. Okay? And the plant is growing up and these are the little branches, and it is growing up and it is all healthy just like it is. Well, all of a sudden you get this huge branch coming out of your plant, and this huge branch is called a sucker shoot. Now those gardeners out there, what do you do with a sucker shoot? You have to cut it off. When you cut off the sucker shoot, the rest of the plant can grow up and be healthy and get the nutrients it needs.

Well, I had so many sucker shoots in my life that God just said, “Andrea, I am not going to allow you to live that way anymore. I am going to cut them off. I am going to remove those sucker shoots of pride in your life.” The only talent I had ever had was being able to sing. Now I would get up to sing and I couldn’t sing. My voice would crack; it would break; I was flat. It was horrible. And God was just taking it off. I had always wanted to be the kind of person that if you gave me something to do I was going to do it well, over the top; you would never have to think about it again. And now I could only be out of bed for five hours on any given day feeling terrible.

God was removing the sucker shoots of self-sufficiency in my life, and He was just saying, “I don’t want you to live self-sufficient anymore because if you do, nothing you do is going to amount to anything. I want you to learn to be dependent on Me.” It wasn’t a fun process at all.

And because I was so sick, my leadership decided that I needed to go home. I wasn’t an asset to the team anymore. I was just a total liability. And so they were telling me that I needed to go home. But Life Action had been my bubble. Life Action had been my safe place and home had been my place of failure, and so I was terrified to go home. But I was still meeting with the Lord morning after morning, and He gave me some verses that are so dear to my heart still even now.

In Isaiah, 54:4–5 it says: "Fear not" and I was terrified at this point to go home. He said,

Fear not for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth.

And that was all I could see was shame. With trying to clear up my past and my present, I wore my shame.

For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the LORD of Hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of the whole earth.

And literally, I asked that God of the whole earth if He would be my husband and if He would speak to me and teach me and be intimately involved in my heart. I love that phrase because even now I have a husband who sometimes he just doesn’t get it when it comes to meeting all my needs. Any of you there? Sometimes he just doesn’t get it. But you know what? God never made him to meet all my needs. There is not a man on the planet . . . God didn’t design him for that. God is the only one who can meet my needs. And if one day Trent goes to be with the Lord before I do, my Maker will still be my husband.

Would you not agree with me that the One who made us knows what we need? He knows what you need. It is going to be different than what I need. Our Maker is our Husband. He is the one, and those needs are meant to drive us to Him; not to drive us from Him. But those needs are meant to drive us to Him so that our Maker, our Husband, our God of the whole earth can meet those, and we can fall more in love with Him.

During this time God started giving me just a list of standards that He wanted for my life. I lived in Proverbs 7. Anybody know what Proverbs 7 is? It is the proverb of the strange woman, the immoral woman. And so what I did was I made a list of all the characteristics of the strange woman and what she looked like. Then I made a list of the opposites of those—the opposite characteristics. The second list became my goal.

It was amazing to me how I would be going throughout my day and I would be about to say something to somebody and the Holy Spirit would prick my heart and say, “Andrea, the strange woman flatters. Don’t say that. You are going to be flattering.” And I would say, "Okay Lord, I am not going to go there." But I used the Scripture to counsel my life and show me how I am supposed to live. At that time He gave me my life verse which is 2 Peter chapter 1, verse 3. And it says:

But God through His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the true knowledge of Him (paraphrased).

Well, for the first time in my life I had true knowledge of God, so it didn’t matter where I lived, I could live a godly life before him. And even now when things are going crazy and there is all this stress in my life and I want to be stressed out . . . Four kids are needing something, and the team members are knocking on the door five minutes before the service with a rip in their team pants or something, I have a choice. I can respond in godliness, or I can respond according to my flesh.

But this verse says I have everything I need to respond in life and in godliness. No matter what situation I am in, even in the freezing cold weather of Michigan, I have everything I need for life and for godliness through the true knowledge of Him, Jesus Christ.

Well, I did go on home. When I got there the first thing I did was start seeing different doctors, and they would all just tell me you have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, and we can give you an anti-depressant to help with that. And I just thought, I am not depressed; I don’t want an anti-depressant.

So I started trying different doctors. I tried homeopathy, and I went to chiropractors. I ate nothing but vegetables and water for six months. Just all in an attempt to get well. And nothing was helping. I couldn’t even hold down a part-time job. So I finally went back to the general practitioner and just said, "Okay, give me the anti-depressant so I can even just hold down a part-time job there at my church."

So I started taking that, and it helped with my muscle aches and my sleeplessness. About that time a young man named Trent Griffith started writing letters and making phone calls. I was back home in Huntsville, Alabama, and Trent was traveling around in Life Action teaching the youth at that time. As I started getting to know Trent, I found out that he came to know the Lord when he was fifteen years old, and that God’s hand had clearly just been upon him.

He witnessed to just about everything that moved, and he lived a life of purity, and he knew the Word of God. His two favorite books in this Book are Romans and Proverbs. You can tell that because he has just saturated himself in the Word, and he knows the Word. I call him . . . He is like a little walking concordance. I will start quoting the verse, and he can tell me where to find it. I knew that I could not say the same thing about my life. All those things that were true of his life were not true of mine. And as we started getting to know each other and this relationship seemed like it was going somewhere, we both knew that there were some things that I needed to tell him.

And so one day as he was traveling with the team and they were up in Tennessee, I drove up there to be with the team. We went out one night after a service, and we talked. I remember just forcing the words out of my mouth as I told him about my past and my failures. I remember just watching him there as he just broke over my sin, and I watched him weep over the sin that I had committed. And again, it was a picture to me of the heart of my heavenly Father and how I had broken God’s heart over my sin and now the heart of my future husband.

And he took me back to my friend’s house where I was staying. I walked in the door. My friend knew what I needed to tell him, and she said, “Well, how did it go?”

And I said, “I don’t know, but I was obedient. I told him. I may never see him again, but I did it.” So again, I just slept like a rock that night.

And you may be thinking, Now, why in the world did you think you needed to tell him that? I mean, it was in your past, and it happened before you got saved. It happened before you even met him. Why did you think you needed to tell him about your past?

Well, the Bible is so clear on this word confession. I think we are so afraid of it. We are so afraid to confess. But you know what the truth is? Confession is the key that unlocks the door to your bondage. To your captivity. It is the key that swings that gate wide open to set you free.

Let’s look at some verses here. First of all 1 John 1:7. It says:

If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the light, then we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If I wanted to have fellowship with my future husband, the Bible calls this a one flesh relationship, there needed to be no secrets between us. He needed to know what he was getting himself into and what baggage I was bringing in to this one flesh relationship.

This verse is so neat because it talks about walking in the light as Jesus is in the light. What happens when we do that? We have fellowship one with another. If I am walking in the light in obedience to the Lord, then I have fellowship with you. And if I am walking in disobedience, I am not walking in the light; do you know what that hinders? It hinders our fellowship in the body with our husbands and our families and broader in the family of God.

Now does that mean that you have to stand up here and tell all the ladies in your church your past failures? No. That does not mean that. But does your husband know? Do you have an area in your life that you have never gotten victory over, and you have never told anyone? Have you ever gone to a godly older woman and said help me with this, walk me through the Word, here is where I am failing? The Bible says that if we confess our faults to each other and pray for one another that we will be healed (see James 5:16). That is body life. Going to a godly older woman, going to your husband and letting him know what has gone on in your life and the deepest needs of your heart.

Now when you confess your confession, you don’t confess details, but you confess depth of sin. You don’t tell all the details of your sin, but you confess the depth of your sin. Details can get in the way and have a way of coming back and haunting us or haunting the person that we are sharing with. But the depth of our sin, so God can heal that.

There was a lady in Georgia that came to me after I shared this, and she said, “Andrea, I am on my second marriage, and my second husband thinks that it was all my first husband’s fault.” And she said “But I was the one who committed adultery. I was the one who was immoral.” She had a list, and her now husband had no idea. And she said “I am terrified to tell him because if I do, it will end our marriage.” Do you know it wasn’t her confession that would hurt the marriage, it was her sin. It was what she had already done. She went back, she confessed to her husband, and she wrote me a letter later and said, “Our marriage has never been stronger.” Do you know what she did? She believed the lie that if she kept it covered she would be okay, but if she confessed it she would be in trouble.

Look at this verse in Proverbs 28:13:

He who covers his sin shall not prosper. But he who confesses and forsakes shall find . . . (NKJV)

What? What word is it? That is a promise from the Word of God. When we confess our sin and forsake it, God dumps His mercy into our lives. And it doesn’t just have to be great big things. This is exactly what happened to me with my daughter this morning, Brooke, when I snapped at her. What did I have to do? I had to confess my sin and forsake it. And every time we do it is a promise. What does God do? He dumps His mercy into our lives. He is waiting on us to confess so that He can give us mercy into our lives. Do you believe that today? Or are you still hiding, still covering? Until we are willing to confess, we will never experience all that God wants us to experience with Him, in our own personal lives, with our families.

Well, after that day Trent came and picked me up and we went on a picnic, and during that time we both just felt the presence of God. And he looked at me and he said, “Andrea, if it is this good for us in the hard times, what is it going to be like for us in the good times?” Because the presence of God just surrounded us that day. Now, God was not honoring my life. Do you know what he was honoring? His Word.

When we confess and forsake, we find mercy. Mark it down. Every time we find mercy.

Nancy: That is Andrea Griffith. She has been telling us about the freedom that she experienced after getting real about her sin and confessing it to the Lord and when appropriate, confessing to others that she had sinned against. Andrea has been describing the process the Lord took her through after she surrendered her life to Him. She confessed her sin, cleared her conscience, learned to speak the truth, and began to grow in her desire for holiness.

Here at Revive Our Hearts we call this process personal revival. There are times in each of our lives when we need to walk through this process in a fresh way. I have written about this process of personal revival in the workbook called Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival.

We would like to send you a copy of this workbook, Seeking Him, when you send a gift of any size to Revive Our Hearts.

Leslie: Make your contribution at ReviveOurHearts.com and we will send you the workbook Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been telling you about. You can also call with your gift. The number is 1–800–569–5959. We'll send one workbook per donation per household.

How has this story of our guest, Andrea Griffith, affected you? You can let her know or ask her a question by visiting the Revive Our Hearts listener blog. Visit ReviveOurHearts.com, find today’s transcript, and scroll to the end. You will find comments from our listeners including Andrea. She will be participating in the blog today and tomorrow.

And, Nancy, our listeners can also come hear Andrea speak at the conference Revive '15: Women Teaching Women.

Nancy: That’s right. Revive '15 is for any woman who wants to share God’s Word with other women. I’ll be speaking, along with Jen Wilkin who leads a large Bible study for women in the Dallas area. Lauren Chandler, also from the Dallas area, will lead in worship. And you can also attend a pre-conference session on different ways to communicate God's Word. Whether you want to do it through writing, through speaking, or through leading worship. Today’s guest, Andrea, will be part of the session on speaking.

Can you imagine the Lord using you to understand His Word and then to pass along what you’re learning to others? You’ll be encouraged and equipped at Revive '15. It’s coming to Indianapolis September 25–26. Get all the details at ReviveOurHearts.com.

Well as we heard today, Andrea Griffith stopped traveling with Life Action Ministries due to illness. One day while living with her parents, she got a big surprise that encouraged her to go back on the road. She will explain tomorrow on Revive Our Hearts.

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

All Scripture was taken from the New American Standard Version unless otherwise noted.

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

Join the Discussion