As a young teenager, I can remember having this innate desire to lead. To use my personality, charisma, charm, and wisdom to inspire the thousands and change the world. Although these can be great aspirations, I have come to find out that there is a lot more to leading than just having a known personality. God has a way of creating leadership moments in individual lives that appear foreign to those of us living in the 21st century.
If you have been in the church for any length of time, I am sure you have heard the phrase, “the upside-down Kingdom”. Leadership in the world, in many cases, has a top down structure where the leader dictates to those beneath him/her. However, leadership in the Kingdom is not that way at all. God is looking for a different kind of leader that more reflects His Son. For example, Jesus demonstrated true leadership through His actions of obedience to the Father.
I don’t speak on my own authority. The Father who sent me has commanded me what to say and how to say it. – John 12:49
It is this kind of leadership that sets the stage for awakening. As John Maxwell stated, “Leadership is influence”. The influence of Jesus increased only as He walked in full obedience to His Father’s commands. Outside of obedience, Jesus’ influence would have been less than what it was, diminishing His leadership impact. If that was true for Jesus, then I have to believe it is true for us.
I get it. Using Jesus as an example isn’t fair. What about the rest of us who are simply humans fighting hard just to obey the traffic laws of our land? For us, I have another Biblical example that we can probably all relate to – Moses. Here we have a man who had an encounter with God. During this amazing encounter, God asked of him something that he was unwilling to commit to. God asked Moses to be His spokesman before Pharaoh in Egypt. Moses was promised that his obedience would produce a change in heart of every Egyptian, bringing about Israel’s deliverance. Sounds like a great assignment, right? Maybe for some, but not for Moses. Instead of embracing what God was asking of him, Moses started listing reasons why he was unqualified, unable, and not willing to obey. In the end, Moses did obey, but that was not his initial response. Sounds a little like us, right? I can’t. I won’t. I don’t want to. Thank God for His patience and persistence! Moses’ obedience, even though reluctant at times, brought about a historical shift for the nation of Israel. An awakening of a nation to its purpose and destiny.
Leading within your sphere of influence is tied to obedience. When you obey, new life is released where your obedience is displayed. This is leadership in the upside-down Kingdom. Influence happens in the context of obedience. If you have a desire to lead, start asking God how you can obey Him in every arena of your life – family, work, church, community. When you ask, He will reveal. When He reveals, just obey. When you obey, you will lead! The world is waiting for the sons and daughters of God to step up and lead. As we do, the shift will begin in our culture. Everyone doing their part, no matter how big or how small that part may appear in our own eyes, will collectively bring about the awakening needed in our cities and nations.