Monday, May 29, 2006

Proud People vs. Broken People

I just finished re-reading Nancy Leigh DeMoss's book, Brokenness: The Heart God Revives. There are few books that I have found as convicting as this one. She goes into great detail about what makes a person's heart proud and how brokenness before God and others is a necessary reality in order to truly experience personal revival.

DeMoss recounts the story of the revival that happened among Campus Crusade staff out at staff training in the summer of 1995. I didn't join the staff of Campus Crusade until a few months after this happened so I wasn't there, but DeMoss shares about how God met all those present in a deep way. Sincere awakening happened among those present as many people confessed their sins. And trust me, those of us that are missionaries struggle with all the sins everybody else does... we just attempt to do a better job of acting like we've got it all together.

DeMoss provides a list of the different characteristics of "Proud People vs. Broken People." There are over thirty areas on the list so I won't list them all, but here is a sampling:
  • 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 and look at everyone else's faults with a microscope, but their own with a telescople; broken people are compassionate and can forgive much because they know how much they have been forgiven.
  • Proud people are self-righteous and look down on others; broken people esteem all others better than themselves.
  • Proud people have to prove that they are right; broken people are willing to yield the right to be right.
  • Proud people desire to be served; broken people are motivated to serve others.
  • 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 and are thrilled that God would use them at all.
  • Proud people feel confident in how much they know; broken people are humbled by how very much they have to learn.
  • Proud people are concerned about the consequences of their sin; broken people are grieved over the cause, the root of their sin.
  • 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 don't think they need revival, but 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.
I don't know about you, but after reading this list, I'm confronted with the fact of how filled with pride I am. I frequently blame others instead of accepting my own wrongs. I want to be served instead of serving others. I want to be recognized above others. I justify my own sin, but want to bring others' sins out into the light. I tell myself how much better I am than others, but fail the test when compared with God.
After reading through this book, I've begun again to pray more consistently that God would root out the pride and sin in my heart and replace it with brokenness, humility and grace. If you'd like to order a copy of this book you can follow this link.
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Anonymous said...

I'm reading through this book(let) also. I'm, like you, becoming more fully aware of my pride. However, what is difficult for me is understanding what healthy brokenness looks like. There seems to be a fine line between brokenness and self-deprecation. Same as with doing things well: there's a pride that is sinful and a pride that you're doing what God is asking you to do.

Know what I mean?

scottmcrocker said...

Yeah, I hear you, Rob. I guess what I seem to be learning is to look much more at my motives. It can be tough, though, to really look at ourselves as God does since we really can't comprehend how He feels about us, huh?