The Leadership Encounter

Good Leadership needs clear vision, but it also needs to be one seen through the right lens, and from the right perspective. It would seem this best comes from a life changing, healthy encounter with God!

In a recent devotional they highlighted this by looking at the life of Isaiah[1]. And when I considered the role of another leader in the early Christian church, the Apostle Paul[2], it seemed to a bit of a theme. In fact, when I pondered other leadership heroes of the Bible, such as Peter, Moses, or people such as John Wesley[3], Reinhard Bonnke[4], Heidi Baker, Bill Johnson, and Bill Graham[5], it is a very common theme.

Let’s take a look at Isaiah’ encounter.

‘In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said:Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory!”

And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, The Lord of hosts.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.  And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”

 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” And He said, “Go, and tell this people: ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; Keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ (Read Isaiah 6:1-9)

Israel was in constant rebellion with God, which was putting them in jeopardy with God, and their own future. So, to help point them in a better way, God calls Isaiah. The Apostle Paul was a zealous servant of God, more like a blunt weapon but being used the wrong way, however God had chosen him to take the message of Christ to key parts the known world (full of so many different beliefs), way beyond the impact of the other twelve apostles at the time. Both were influential leaders of their time…and beyond.

But before sending them out there, they had an encounter with God to ensure their vision was correct, not biased by the world around them or their own agendas/experiences, or because they had a totally wrong understanding of what they were meant to do because of their beliefs.

The first thing this encounter did for Isaiah and Paul was to give them a vision of His power and glory. God new Isaiah and Paul needed a revelation of His power and majesty, as what lied before them was way beyond their abilities. In addition, in terms of Paul his message and actions were from a very wrong understanding of who is God. He needed a course correction, and a revelation that would empower him to do so much for the growth of the church into the known world.

  • Whatever God call us to do will require more than a job description and some skills, we need a vision of His glory and limitless power to reassure us He is more than adequate of the challenge. An encounter with the Almighty God, may be a fearful thing, but also helps us understand the true power of heaven. (See Ephesians 3:20)

The second thing this encounter did is to give them both a right perspective of themselves. For Isaiah the response was immediate, ‘I am not pure, and I live among people who are not pure’ (Isaiah 6:5). Paul, it seemed need to ponder that vision of God in Jesus for a few days (remembering he was blind immediately after for a few days, but he certainly trembled when He learnt who God was, and in the blindness started to be humbled to the point of almost complete dependency on God and others. Both realised they were no better than the people they were called to reach.

  • Until we see ourselves realistically, humbly, and with honesty, in relation to God and others, our mission or vision won’t succeed. (Romans 13:2)

The third thing God did in these encounters was to respond to their humility and equip them with the vision and enabling needed. An angel touched Isaiah’s lips with God’s purifying fire and said, ‘your sins have been taken away’ (Isaiah 6:7). His mouth then became one of the most profound prophetic voices in history. Paul was touched by a man whose name was Ananias (Acts 9:10-18), and through this he had his eyes open to a new vision, was commissioned by God for a new call, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. With this he was equipped to turn the world upside down. God revealed to them how He sees them, leaders and world changers for Him (despite the brokenness they had come to).

  • God doesn’t call perfect leaders, He calls humble, forgiven, honest leaders, and equipping them, and crowning their efforts with success, regardless of the odds. Leaders who realise it is all about Him, and that it is about what God can do through them, who are heading in the right direction. Usually, such people have had both an encounter with God, and a journey of brokenness.

For some these encounters can be like those of Isaiah, for others it is more like being kicked off your donkey. God has away of getting our attention, but also reframing our view of Him, who we are, and how He sees us. As leaders here in your family, business, church, community, and in other spheres of life, it seems to me that such revelations from heaven are what we need, and perhaps we need to receive fresh, ‘healthy’, encounters to keep us on the God arrow for our lives, or to deal with issues of the past. Even though these times can come at time or trial, and may not encompass some fantastic vision, those moments where we are confronted with the awesomeness of God, while being humbled ourselves, should perhaps be cherished, for it is then God often provides the clarity of vision we need for those He sends us to, and in His supernatural way, see us equipped for the journey.

From a place of seeing and/or knowing His awesomeness, God corrects our vision of ourselves, and sends us out with a fresh view of who we are in Him, and what He want to achieve. This can apply to us as individuals, but also as organisations. And perhaps such an encounter needs to be our heart cry.

[1] Isaiah 6

[2] Acts 9:1-19




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