A Fresh Move of the Spirit and a Warning

R. Loren Sandford
R. Loren Sandford

We are coming into the time of a new outpouring of the Spirit. This will not be a reliving of past revivals, nor a continuation of the movements of recent decades. It will be different in ways that would be difficult to explain apart from the actual experience of it.

I can say only that a fresh newness is coming to us who can receive it and that it will be more rooted in the Father's heart and the character of Jesus than any that have come before.

Be aware, however, that historically whenever there has been a fresh move of the Spirit, opposition has erupted. It comes in two forms. The first comes from those who don't really want the Spirit to move, who can't handle the mess it makes or who find their theology threatened by it. It would seem that the spirit of religion cannot allow for anything to occur that human beings cannot control or understand.

I learned long ago that one person's order and decency are another person's boredom and death and that not everyone will be comfortable with the freedom revival brings. Hidden in what might outwardly appear to be chaos may be a well-established order and set of protocols.

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On the other hand, beneath an outwardly reserved appearance, someone might be having a deep and powerful experience of God. Let criticism stop, and let us respect one another's natures!

Realize also that it is biblically sound for God to act in ways that are unprecedented and out of the box. There was, for instance, no biblical precedent for the gift of tongues on the Day of Pentecost. While Joel and others foresaw the gift of the Spirit, no passage of the Old Testament could be construed as a clear prophecy of that gift. While God will never actually contradict Scripture or act in a way not consistent with His own nature, He nevertheless "does whatever He pleases" (Ps. 115:3), and we would be wise to make room for it.

The second form of opposition comes from those who want revival and don't mind the mess it makes but who think themselves immune to deception. Specifically in these days to come, the enemy will access weaknesses and unhealed regions of the heart to twist words and perceptions in order to paint the leaders of that move of the Spirit as having less-than-pure motives or as having said abusive or inappropriate things that were neither said nor intended.

As the words actually spoken get twisted and changed, offense will be taken, then held in the heart and fed. If not actually altered, words spoken innocently and in righteousness will often be perceived in ways that distort their meaning and intent.

Those who get caught in this trap will be led to believe that their "discernment" is godly and accurate so that correction becomes exceedingly difficult and is often rejected. The enemy intends this to cause division and to wound and weaken leaders so that they cannot lead as effectively as God intends. Lest anyone in my own circles think I'm speaking specifically of you, know that I am in touch with pastors and leaders in many places who tell me stories that reflect the dynamic I'm articulating. It is not uncommon and comes with the territory.

This two-headed demon of opposition rises simultaneously with an increase in the move of the Spirit and blinds those caught in it to what is really going on. Not one of us is so holy as to be immune to this! I have been privileged to live through the charismatic renewal, the Vineyard movement, shades of Pentecostalism and lately the Toronto Blessing, and I have seen this dynamic played out every time God has launched a new thing.

To think that you are immune to it constitutes the kind of pride that comes before a fall. Don't fall prey to the enemy's strategy! Stand for oneness. Keep your heart clean. Before assuming anything about the heart of another or even what you think you understand from what you've heard or seen, ask questions and then honor the answers you receive.

What's coming is glorious, but the way is narrow that leads to life.

R. Loren Sandford is the founder and senior pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver, Colo. He is a songwriter, recording artist and worship leader, as well as the author of several books, including Understanding Prophetic People, The Prophetic Church and his latest, Visions of the Coming Days: What to Look For and How to Prepare, which are available with other resources at the church's website. 

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