Day 21: The Principles of Spiritual Growth & Providence/Sovereignty

Day 20: The Principle of Ebb and Flow
February 18, 2017
Day 22: The Principles of the Dry Season & the Fullness of Time
February 20, 2017

Burns’ second principle of revival is the Principle of Spiritual Growth. The goal of revival is not to get absorbed in guessing when the wave will start. The goal of revival is to know the Father. The goal is spiritual growth—not just growth of the individual but growth of the church toward a new level of dedication and spirituality.

One of the greatest examples of this was seen in Savonarola, the noted Italian preacher of the Florentine Revival in fifteenth century Italy. As a young man, he spent hours at the altar in prayer. Burdened over the world’s rejection of Christ and salvation, he fasted, prayed night and day, and poured over Scriptures. The principle of spiritual growth is that through revival, just as in Savonarola’s day, the spiritual and moral temperament of the whole community is changed. Imagine how your own community—your church, your school, the neighborhood you call home—might be changed by a spiritual awakening. Imagine what spiritual growth could occur.

This leads to Burns’ third principle of revival, the Principle of Providence/Sovereignty. Savonarola surely admitted that anything he said or did was part of God’s divine plan. Because spiritual awakening occurs on God’s timetable, not ours, His sovereign will always remain in charge. Like the wave action of the ocean, revival is always under His control, and for all its power, it is orderly. Even though we know His Providence is at work, we can’t determine exactly when the wave will hit.

This is consistent with Scripture: “The secret things belong to the Lord our God . . .” (Deuteronomy 29:29). Though we can perceive the indicators of revival—thanks to the human insights of a gifted, godly person such as Charles Finney—the sovereignty of God is the final determining factor in any revival. Consider the time and energy you might spend on pondering the “what ifs” of revival. What would happen if you invested that same effort in considering the nature and characteristics of God? Might the way you view Him change the way you understand and view revival?

2 Timothy 4:2 New King James Version (NKJV)
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 

Deuteronomy 29:29 New King James Version (NKJV)
29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. 

Jeremiah 9:23-24 New King James Version (NKJV)
23 Thus says the Lord:
“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the Lord.



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Phillips, Tom (2016-11-01). Jesus Now: God Is Up to Something Big (Chapter 7 p. 158-160). BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC.

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