Editor’s note: This article was first published March 24 by Bill Elliff on his website’s blog. Elliff is the founding and national engage pastor of The Summit Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas. He also serves on the Prayer Task Force at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention.
In the recent outpouring at Asbury University, there was one song that filled the room over and over again, sometimes for hours. It has been one month since the night and day services at Asbury ended (although the reviving work of God continues and expands), but this song is so embedded that many of us who attended find ourselves singing it throughout the day. It expresses what’s in our hearts. To sing it is to step back into the place of His manifest presence.
You are worthy of it all.
You are worthy of it all.
For from You are all things,
And to You are all things.
You deserve the glory.
Day and night, night and day let incense arise!
This song comes from Paul’s beautiful benediction in Romans 11. It is characteristic of Paul that he often comes to a point in his Spirit-breathed writing that he can go no further without erupting in worship. A glorious benediction flows from his heart as he is overwhelmed with God.
Oh, the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)
Words like this erupt from those who have seen God, who have been overwhelmed by a fresh understanding of the Almighty. The proud man never sings these words. He lifts a song of himself, which is a tragic, myopic tune based on the big lie that the creature is more important than the Creator. It is like an ant being so blinded by arrogance that he doesn’t even notice the man who towers above him.
“Blessed are the pure in heart,” Jesus said, “For they will see God.” And this purity comes by recognizing our spiritual poverty with such depth that we mourn and then, in brokenness, bow before the Lord in glad submission (see this foundational progression in Matthew 5:3-8). When we are purged from a self-absorbed life, we begin to see that everything is from God, through God, and to God.
This is why the wise leaders during the blessed days of revival at Asbury continued to remind us that we must walk in radical humility. The more we let Christ fill our gaze, the less we think of ourselves. We find, as Timothy Keller says, “the freedom of self-forgetfulness.” This is the posture of the revived.
Revival restores God to His rightful place in our hearts, our minds, and our lives. God magnified. God worshiped. God adored. God loved. God served. God boldly shared with everyone around us. And when He fills our vision, everything is returned to its rightful place.
God is making Himself known during these days, not just at Asbury. I was with 30 revival leaders this week and heard the testimony of three pastors who, combined, have seen hundreds of conversions in the last two months. Also, from two leaders from Indonesia and India where revival winds are blowing. The story of the largest Christian television station in the Arab countries broadcasting the Collegiate Day of Prayer to millions. From both leaders and students at Baylor University where 2,000 students gathered for 72 hours to seek God this week.
In multiple churches where I’ve had the privilege to speak the altars have been full in every service and I’ve heard this testimony from many pastors. There is an unusual expectancy and extraordinary prayer continuing. Aslan is on the move.
You can ignore this or explain it away, but if you seek Him, you will find Him. Do not seek revival … seek Him. And as you do, He will put a new song on your lips that you cannot stop singing. Because it’s all from Him, through Him, and to Him.