In 1995, God used a message from Nancy Leigh DeMoss to bring about a spirit of true repentance at the National Staff Training of Campus Crusade for Christ, now called Cru. I had just left the staff of Cru two years earlier, but my friends were calling me to share that God was doing a mighty work at the training in Colorado and I couldn’t wait to listen to the message as it was made available to alumni. It challenged me 20 years ago, and today, I was reminded of this message and spent this evening listening to it again, as I asked God to search my heart and break my heart for the things that break His.
In the message, Nancy talks about the characteristics of pride, which are rooted in arrogance and insecurity versus true humility, which is rooted in authentic brokenness. In the message, she challenges the church to be broken before the Lord, for God wants to unleash his power through broken people.
Here are the differences she shares between proud and broken people. In reading these characteristics, let’s confess those characteristics of pride that God reveals in us and let’s ask Him to restore the corresponding quality of a broken, humble spirit within us.
Proud people focus on the failures of others.
Broken people are overwhelmed with a sense of their own spiritual need.
Proud people have a critical, fault-finding spirit; they look at everyone else’s faults with a microscope but their own with a telescope.
Broken people are compassionate; they can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven.
Proud people are self-righteous; they look down on others.
Broken people esteem all others better than themselves.
Proud people have an independent, self-sufficient spirit.
Broken people have a dependent spirit; they recognize their need for others.
Proud people have to prove that they are right.
Broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.
Proud people claim rights; they have a demanding spirit.
Broken people yield their rights; they have a meek spirit.
Proud people are self-protective of their time, their rights, and their reputation.
Broken people are self-denying.
Proud people desire to be served.
Broken people are motivated to serve others.
Proud people desire to be a success.
Broken people are motivated to be faithful and to make others a success.
Proud people desire self-advancement.
Broken people desire to promote others.
Proud people have a drive to be recognized and appreciated.
Broken people have a sense of their own unworthiness; they are thrilled that God would use them at all.
Proud people are wounded when others are promoted and they are overlooked.
Broken people are eager for others to get the credit; they rejoice when others are lifted up.
Proud people have a subconscious feeling, “This ministry/church is privileged to have me and my gifts”; they think of what they can do for God.
Broken people’s heart attitude is, “I don’t deserve to have a part in any ministry”; they know that they have nothing to offer God except the life of Jesus flowing through their broken lives.
Proud people feel confident in how much they know.
Broken people are humbled by how very much they have to learn.
Proud people are self-conscious.
Broken people are not concerned with self at all.
Proud people keep others at arms’ length.
Broken people are willing to risk getting close to others and to take risks of loving intimately.
Proud people are quick to blame others.
Broken people accept personal responsibility and can see where they are wrong in a situation.
Proud people are unapproachable or defensive when criticized.
Broken people receive criticism with a humble, open spirit.
Proud people are concerned with being respectable, with what others think; they work to protect their own image and reputation.
Broken people are concerned with being real; what matters to them is not what others think but what God knows; they are willing to die to their own reputation.
Proud people find it difficult to share their spiritual need with others.
Broken people are willing to be open and transparent with others as God directs.
Proud people want to be sure that no one finds out when they have sinned; their instinct is to cover up.
Broken people, once broken, don’t care who knows or who finds out; they are willing to be exposed because they have nothing to lose.
Proud people have a hard time saying, “I was wrong; will you please forgive me?”
Broken people are quick to admit failure and to seek forgiveness when necessary.
Proud people tend to deal in generalities when confessing sin.
Broken people are able to acknowledge specifics when confessing their sin.
Proud people are concerned about the consequences of their sin.
Broken people are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin.
Proud people are remorseful over their sin, sorry that they got found out or caught.
Broken people are truly, genuinely repentant over their sin, evidenced in the fact that they forsake that sin.
Proud people wait for the other to come and ask forgiveness when there is a misunderstanding or conflict in a relationship.
Broken people take the initiative to be reconciled when there is misunderstanding or conflict in relationships; they race to the cross; they see if they can get there first, no matter how wrong the other may have been.
Proud people compare themselves with others and feel worthy of honor.
Broken people compare themselves to the holiness of God and feel a desperate need for His mercy.
Proud people are blind to their true heart condition.
Broken people walk in the light.
Proud people don’t think they have anything to repent of.
Broken people realize they have need of a continual heart attitude of repentance.
Proud people don’t think they need revival, but they are sure that everyone else does.
Broken people continually sense their need for a fresh encounter with God and for a fresh filling of His Holy Spirit.
© Revive Our Hearts. By Nancy Leigh DeMoss.