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Book Review - BROKENNESS: The Heart God Revives

BROKENNESS: The Heart God Revives

by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

The first in a series called Revive Our Hearts, this slim volume packs a punch that belies its size. The theme is revival, and the premise is simple: revival can only take place following an experience of brokenness and humility before God. This is what took place unexpectedly at a Campus Crusade for Christ staff conference in 1995 at which DeMoss was speaking, and the revival that resulted deeply moved her and ultimately constrained her to write this book.

DeMoss starts by giving examples of people who needed major heart surgery due to differing manifestations of pride caused by “our family history of [spiritual] ‘heart disease’”. One lady needed a complete ‘heart transplant’, while a man was suffering from ‘hardened arteries’ - clogged by pride, self and religious works. What is the remedy? DeMoss reminds us that God’s grace is always available to those who lay down their pride and offer the sacrifice of a broken, contrite heart (Psalm 51:17). Brokenness is the shattering of self-will and self-reliance. If our lives resemble a house, then, for our hearts to be revived, the roof of our lives must come off (brokenness towards God) and the walls must come down (brokenness before others). True brokenness brings a release that produces a deep sense of joy and peace.

Using examples from Scripture, DeMoss shows us pairs of individuals who illustrate the contrast between pride and brokenness (eg, Saul and David, the Pharisee and the tax-collector) and reaches a conclusion that some may baulk at: “Could it be that God is more offended by those of us who appear to be respectable and spiritual but who have proud, unteachable spirits, than He is by adulterers, fornicators, sodomites, abortionists and pornographers who make no pretense of being godly?” If we are offended by this, let us reflect on DeMoss’s further point that “proud, unbroken Christians have done far more damage to the church of Jesus Christ than any sinners outside the church could inflict” (p. 83).

Chapter 4 lists qualities that can be used as a guideline to determine whether we are a proud or a broken Christian. But why would anyone choose the path of brokenness? Chapter 5 shows us that brokenness brings blessings, namely, God’s close presence, new life, deeper love and worship, a greater ability to be used by God, and ultimately the rivers of revival that we long for.

Easy to read and hard-hitting, this is a book that has the potential to change lives by preparing and softening readers’ hearts to bring about true and lasting revival.


Book review by Rachel Wong