Revive Our Hearts Podcast

The Heart of Humility and Simplicity

Leslie Basham: Before today’s Revive Our Hearts program begins, Nancy Leigh DeMoss tells you about a resource that has quieted her heart.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: If your life is anything like mine, you find yourself needing fresh doses, mega doses, of God’s peace day after day, week after week. On a day like today when I’m spending several hours in the studio and then meeting with our staff for a couple of hours, I need the peace of God to help me focus while other decisions, demands, and deadlines are pressing in.

Today we’re going to look to God’s Word to find that peace in a series called, How to Have a Quiet Heart. I’m so thankful that the Word of God provides that daily dose of God’s peace that we all need.

Recently I’ve been playing a CD over and over again because it renews my mind and heart with Scriptures that point me to God’s peace. God has used the beautiful Scripture-based songs on this disc to recalibrate my heart and to give me that daily dose of peace that I need.

The CD is called Hidden in My Heart. We’d like to send you a copy when you support Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any size.

I so appreciate all of our listeners who have reached out during the month of May to help us by giving what they can. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

And a special thanks to new supporters who joined us for the first time this month! Your gift has been doubled by friends of the ministry who have set up a matching challenge of $60,000 for new givers during the month of May. So if you’ve never given to Revive Our Hearts before, I hope you’ll help us meet and far exceed this wonderful challenge.

If you intended to give and help us reach this goal, you still have a couple more days, and make sure to ask for Hidden In My Heart when you call with your support. The number to call is 1-800-569-5959, or you can make your contribution by going to ReviveOurHearts.com.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, May 30.

Calm. Peaceful. Do these words describe your heart? They can as Nancy describes in a series we’ll begin today. It’s called, How to Have a Quiet Heart.

Nancy: Not very long ago we were going through some changes in our ministry, some growing pains. Those changes were bringing about some challenges, and I was feeling like the waters were a little choppy.

During that time I picked up a little booklet called Stress. The subtitle was Peace Amid Pressure. It’s written by a friend, someone who had ministered to me. So I picked it up, and this booklet on stress was actually a message or an exposition on a psalm that I had memorized years ago. It’s a psalm I’ve loved over the years.

But as I was having my attention brought back to this psalm, Psalm 131, (feel free to be turning there in your Bibles), as I was reading this little booklet, I had no way of knowing that within days the winds were going to pick up, and we were going to soon be in a full-force gale.

Isn’t that the way life often happens? We don’t know what’s ahead. We don’t know when the winds are going to pick up. We don’t know when the storms are going to come.

If we could predict them, we could get out of the way. But sometimes these storms just come and catch you off guard. That’s why you have to live with a prepared heart and the confidence that God in you is the God of the storms.

I’m so thankful I read that little booklet and had my attention directed back to this passage, because in the weeks since I first read that booklet, this passage has been a life preserver for me again and again and again. Psalm 131.

I’ve been telling people in recent weeks, “Find Psalm 131. Go home and read it. Read it in every translation you can find. Pick one that you especially like and memorize it. And then start quoting that psalm, and quote it over and over and over and over again until it becomes a part of you.”

I just trust that during this time, this psalm will become something that is a foundation for your life. You may be in a storm right now, and you may find that I’m getting ready to throw out a life preserver to you.

I’m going to reference a number of different translations through the course of this series, but let me quote the passage to you first in the King James Version, which is the passage in which I originally memorized this psalm.

Psalm 131—just three verses, and it’s a prayer directed to the Lord. David says,

Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child. Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and forever.

I see several heart attitudes in this passage. In fact, we’re calling this series How to Have a Quiet Heart. I think that’s something that in this world we especially need.

If you could describe most of our lives as women, you would not describe most of us as having a quiet heart. We tend to be frazzled, frenetic, frantic, frustrated, fragile, and maybe a few other adjectives thrown in there that you can think of.

But a quiet heart? I mean, we’re so stinking busy! How can you have a quiet heart with the pace that most of us keep? And then there’s pain and suffering and problems and these things that get us in turmoil inside. So this passage directs us to some qualities that need to be true if we’re to have a quiet heart in responding to life as it is on this fallen planet.

One of the translations that I’ve referred to gives a title to this psalm that is: “Simple Trust in the Lord.” This psalm takes us back to that simple trust in the Lord. So we’re going to see in the first verse the heart attitude of humility.

We’ll see also in the first verse the heart attitude of simplicity. Then we’ll see how humility and simplicity lead to quietness, and that will be the focus of verse 2.

The focus of verse 3 is trust. Trust in the Lord, and that is the bottom line. We tend to think in the middle of life’s storms and problems, “Okay, I know I need to trust in the Lord, but I need something else. I need something more. That’s not enough.”

I want to tell you ladies: It is enough because He is enough. There is not a storm you can go through that ultimately the answer for you is not, “Trust in the Lord.”

Now, Scripture has a lot of other things to say, a lot of other things we need to understand, principles we need to apply and obey. But when it comes down to it, do you trust God to be God? Do you trust God to determine when to kick up the storm? Do you trust God to decide when to calm the storm? Do you trust the Lord?

Let’s just start today into this passage, and then we’ll pick it up over the next days. The first quality of humility we see beginning in verse 1: “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty.” This psalm, this prayer, is addressed to the Lord.

It would be one thing for me to say to you, “I’m not haughty. I’m humble. My eyes aren’t lifted up. My eyes aren’t lofty.” But you don’t know my heart. I could tell you that I’m not proud, that I’m trusting in the Lord, that I’m walking with Him; but you have no way of knowing. The One who knows my heart is the One to whom David addresses this psalm.

“Lord, You know all. You see all. You know the true condition of my heart, and I’m addressing this prayer to You. I can’t fool You. I can’t pull the wool over Your eyes.”

David says in this open, transparent, outpouring of his heart to the Lord, “Lord, as You already know—and if I’m not seeing it correctly, I know that You’ll show me—Lord, my heart is not haughty nor mine eyes lofty.”

I see in there a humility that goes two directions: First, a heart that is humble toward God, and then a heart that is humble toward others. David says to God, “My heart is not haughty.” That’s my heart attitude toward God. That word haughty means “to soar; to be lofty; to mount up; to be proud; to raise up to great heights.”

David is saying:

  • God, I know who I am compared to You, and I know I’m nothing compared to You.
  • I don’t esteem myself more highly than I should. I have a proper estimation of my worth and my value.
  • I’m not self-absorbed.
  • I’m not easily offended.
  • I don’t get depressed when I get overlooked or mistreated.
  • I don’t get elated when others pat me on the back or approve of me.
  • My happiness, my well being, is not dependent on others’ view of me.
  • My heart is not haughty toward You.
  • I’m not weighed down with selfish ambition or self-seeking or aspiring.

"Lord, I have a humble heart toward You.”

And then “my eyes are not lofty.” I think that has to do with the way we see others. You know the passage in Proverbs 6:17 where it talks about six, yea seven things the Lord hates? One of those things is a proud look. It’s the same phrase used here as “lofty eyes.” A proud look—lofty eyes—it’s an abomination to the Lord.

The Psalmist is saying here, “I don’t look down on others.” What are some of the ways we do that?

  • belittling
  • judging
  • envy
  • bitterness
  • anger
  • a competitive spirit
  • domineering
  • quick to find fault and point out the mistakes of your mate or your children or your pastor 

“My eyes are not lofty.” Quick to assume negatively on others? That’s lofty eyes.

I love this quote by Charles Spurgeon that I found while I was studying this passage. He said,

After all, Brothers and Sisters, we are nobodies and we have come from a long line of nobodies! . . . We all trace our line [up] to a gardener who lost his place through stealing his Master’s fruit—and that is the farthest we can possibly go.

So what do we have to be proud of? Look where we’ve come from! Look who we are compared to God. We are nothing. So for us to esteem ourselves better than others is so foolish. You’ll never have a quiet heart if you don’t have a humble heart. We need our pride, which comes naturally to all of us, to be subdued and conquered by Christ.

But a humble spirit is the basis for a peaceful spirit. If your heart is humble, then you can be quiet and composed within, even as the Psalmist was. You can have a peaceful spirit. You won’t be easily disturbed.

But if your heart is proud toward God or your eyes are lofty toward others, if you have an exalted, elevated opinion of yourself, then you’re going to be devastated by the storms. You’re going to live in turmoil within.

You’re going to get wounded when someone violates your rights or doesn’t treat you as they should. When someone gets in your space, you’re not going to have a quiet heart. You’re going to rush to defend yourself or rush to retaliate because your heart is proud and your eyes are lifted up.

So David starts by saying, “Lord, I’m approaching You from a position of humility. My heart is not haughty. My eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.”

This is one phrase that has become like a mantra to me. I find myself in so many situations of life now where I just have to step back and say, “This is too high for me. This is too great for me, so I am not going to let my heart get exercised over this thing that is too high for me.”

There are a lot of things like that. You see, we want to be able to manage everything. We want to be able to control everything. We want to be able to figure everything out. We want to know why everything is happening. We want to be able to put all the puzzle pieces together. But because God is God and we are not, there are “bajillions” of puzzle pieces that you and I will never, ever be able to put together this side of heaven.

We’re talking in this psalm about how to have a quiet heart, and one of things you need, as we said, is the heart of humility. But now we see that something you need is a heart of simplicity, the simple heart that says, “It’s okay not to be able to figure everything out. I don’t have to know it all. I don’t have to understand it all. I don’t have to figure it all out.”

“Neither do I concern myself with great matters, nor with things too profound for me.” I’ve quieted my heart. I don’t concern myself. I don’t “exercise myself,” the King James says there, “in great matters, or in things too high for me.”

While I was working on this passage, I was having some problems with my laptop and my DSL modem, and I decided that maybe this verse applied to that, because those things are too high for me. They’re too profound for me to figure out. I think that’s one area that may apply, but there are lots of other areas.

This phrase “things too profound for me,” “things too high for me”—it’s a word that means “things that are extraordinary; things that are miraculous or astonishing; things that are beyond the bounds of human powers or understanding; inaccessible wonders; things we can’t possibly figure out.”

David says, “I’m not going to expend needless energy trying to figure out things that can’t be figured out.” Remember that passage in Proverbs 30 where the writer says, “Three things are too wonderful for me”—too amazing for me? It’s the same word.

Four [things that] I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a virgin (vv.18-19).

There are some things that are just mysteries. I can’t figure them out. I can’t fathom them. Sometimes we spend a lot of needless emotional and mental energy and time and frustration trying to plumb the depths of something we can never understand.

It may be in the way of our trying to have personal ambition, trying to concern ourselves with things that are too high for us. Jeremiah in the Old Testament said to Baruch, “Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t seek them.”

  • Don’t try to be lifted up.
  • Don’t try to be exalted yourself.
  • Don’t strive.
  • Don’t be ambitious for great position or prominence, for great accomplishments.

“If only I could do something really valuable for the Lord. If only I could really have a lot of wealth or possessions. If only I could have lots of human approval or recognition.”

Those are things that are higher than what we should be grasping for. Charles Spurgeon, if I can quote him again, said,

Fill your sphere, Brother, and be content with it. If God shall move you to another, be glad to be moved. If He moves you to a smaller, be as willing to go to a less prominent place as to one that is more so. Have no will about it. Be a weaned child that has given up fretting, crying, worrying and leaves its mother to do just what seems good in her sight. When we are thoroughly weaned it is well with us—pride is gone and ambition is gone, too.

So you say, “This company just doesn’t value me the way they should. I have no place on this organizational chart. There’s a glass ceiling here, and they’re not letting me accomplish what I could in this organization.” Maybe you feel that way in your home. “I’m just not being allowed to use my gifts.”

Are you seeking great things for yourself? You’ll never have a quiet heart as long as you are. Don’t seek them. Let God be God. Let God place you where He wants to use you and have you serving in a way that’s pleasing to Him and doing what would be His will for your life.

Here’s another area where we tend to try and figure out things that can’t be figured out, and that’s in relation to spiritual and theological truths. You don’t have to understand all the deep things of God or understand all about post-modern thought and philosophy in order to have an effective ministry or be an effective servant of the Lord in this day.

Again, let me quote Charles Spurgeon, who has such a way with words and word pictures. He says it’s like a little child who

Expects to understand a book on trigonometry and cries because it cannot, or a child who frets and kicks in its nurse’s arms because it cannot get the Atlantic [Ocean] into the hollow of its hand. . . . Yet a child might sooner hold the Atlantic and Pacific in its two hands, without spilling a drop, than you and I will ever be able to hold all the revealed Truth of God within the compass of our narrow minds!

God’s truth is infinite. Our minds are these puny, tiny little things fabulously made by God. But we can’t begin to comprehend the vastness of God’s truth, of theological thought, of the Scripture. That’s why you keep searching. You keep exploring, you keep digging, but you’re also realizing, “I can never understand it all.”

And then an area where sometimes I think we’re most prone to exercise ourselves in great matters or in things too high for us has to do with the providence and the choices of God for our lives. “Okay,” we say, “I can’t understand everything about theology, but it’s the stuff that’s going on in my life right now that doesn’t make sense. I’ve got to understand it.”

I’ll tell you what. If you feel that you have to understand and make sense of everything that’s going on in your life, you will drive yourself crazy trying. You cannot fathom the providence and the choices of God for your life.

A woman wrote us not too long ago. She said,

I’ve been widowed almost a year. My 45-year-old husband died very suddenly, leaving me with our 10 children, ages 3-22. It has been a real trial and struggle to my faith. I do not understand God’s will in taking my husband from us. We’re very faithful to church. We’re very involved. It doesn’t make sense to me.

I’m sure that’s true. And there are things that don’t make sense to you. Why did the Lord take my dad when he was 53 years of age, suddenly with a heart attack, leaving my 40-year-old mother widowed with seven children ages 8-21? It doesn’t make sense. But you know what? It doesn’t have to make sense to me.

You have to come to the place in your life where you are content to live with mystery. Now, that doesn’t mean you don’t ask God what His purposes are, that you don’t ask God for light and understanding. If God shows you, great!

But He may not show you. You may never see and understand all the purposes. You will never see or understand all the purposes that God has for what He does in your life.

Spurgeon again said,

[It’s] foolish to try to know all the reasons of Divine Providence—why this affliction was sent and why that? . . . When we begin asking, "Why? Why? Why?" what an endless task we have before us! If we become like a weaned child we shall not ask, "why?" but just believe that in our heavenly Father’s dispensations there is a wisdom too deep for us to fathom.

That’s what the Scripture says in Deuteronomy 29:29. “The secret things belong to the Lord.” Let Him have them. Let there be some things that God knows that you don’t.

This little booklet that I read on Psalm 131 said, “Most of the noise in our souls is generated by our attempts to control the uncontrollable.” Isn’t that true? We try to manage something. We try to fix somebody. We try to change somebody. We try to control somebody. And we end up with this noise in our soul; not a quiet heart, but in turmoil.

When it comes down to it, we go back to Psalm 46:10-11.

“Be still [cease striving], and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Listen, if God is with you, if He is around you, if He is your fortress, if you have His presence in your life, you don’t have to understand everything. You can be still. You can have a quiet heart. You don’t have to live in turmoil because He is God. He is with you, and He is your fortress.

Leslie: Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been inviting you to let go of things you can’t control and trust in the Lord. That message begins a series called, How to Have a Quiet Heart.

At the beginning of the program, Nancy told you how often her heart had been quieted while listening to a CD called Hidden in My Heart. It’s full of Scripture set to lullabies. I’ll remind you that you can get a copy of this calming CD when you contribute any amount to Revive Our Hearts.

Your gift will help us reach an important goal of $350,000 in the month of May, helping to fund Spanish language radio, much needed studio spaces, and much more. When you call with your gift, ask for the CD, Hidden in My Heart.

Our number is 1-800-569-5959, or visit ReviveOurHearts.com.

Is it possible to have a quiet heart even when you’re in the middle of a storm?

Nancy: We tend to want somebody else to come around us and fix it or help it or make it better, and people can encourage us. They can point us to the Lord, but ultimately, we have to say to our own soul, “Soul, be quiet. Be still. Wait on the Lord.” This quietness is something that takes place within our hearts.

We tend to think, “If the things outside of me, the external circumstances in my life would change . . . if my husband would just . . . whatever . . . or if my job were just this, or if my boss were just this, or if just this would happen, then I wouldn’t feel so much in turmoil inside.” But, you know, the storm really is within our own hearts.

“Surely I have behaved and quieted myself.” It’s a change that has to take place within. I’ve learned that you can change all kinds of circumstances in life, but your heart still be in turmoil. And you can have all kinds of turmoil going on around you, and still have a quiet heart because peace is a matter of what goes on inside the heart.

Leslie: Tomorrow, Nancy explains how to maintain that kind of amazing attitude. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

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

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