Kingdom At Work is a movement that seeks to inspire, equip, and ignite leaders to advance God’s Kingdom through their influence in the marketplace.
There are many guiding principles and practical ways in which an influential leader can operate as a Kingdom leader. As we have previously discussed, some of those topics might include things such as spiritual leadership, accountability, and decisions concerning personnel.
Simply put, our calling to be Kingdom leaders requires the priorities of God’s Kingdom to be exemplified through our lives. For most, it is obvious that these priorities will differ significantly from those of the world’s priorities. It has often been said that the Kingdom operates according to an upside-down economy. What’s not always obvious is that God’s Kingdom priorities also differ from so many of the religious practices that have been adopted.
Religious practices and traditions certainly aren’t altogether unfruitful. Unfortunately, though, many are hand-me-down practices that are more closely tied to the tradition of man rather than humble obedience to our Heavenly Father. Kingdom leaders must embrace the truth that God’s Kingdom and its power will disrupt anything that isn’t submitted to Him. It is also true that change and growth usually cannot occur without some form of disruption.
Of all the attempts we could make to try and summarize a Kingdom leader’s primary role, perhaps it’s best summed up in one word – Arise.
If we turn our attention to Scripture, almost every recorded reference to the word Arise is immediately followed by a measurable, tangible action verb. For example, to Abram God said, “Arise, walk through the land.” To Lot He said, “Arise, take your family and leave.”
In the New Testament, God spoke to Joseph and said, “Arise, flee! Go!” Later in the Gospels, we read where Jesus spoke to the leper and said, “Arise, go your way.”
In all of these examples, the command to arise is merely the prelude to a subsequent, more urgent action for which they were responsible. However, if we look near the end of the recorded writings of the prophet Isaiah, we find a much different application for the word Arise.
Arise, shine! For your light has come! – Isaiah 60:1
God was calling His people to stand up and take their place. These were a defeated, torn down, torn apart, abandoned people. To these, God issues an ordained calling for them to stand up and shine.
Truthfully, there is nothing about our humanity in and of itself that shines. The only way a human can shine with eternal value is if there is a supernatural power at work in and through them.
Regarding the command here in Isaiah 60:1, it is important we understand that God did NOT say, “Shine! And then arise.” His call was to first arise, and then something for which He was responsible would follow – the shine. It is actually His responsibility – by His Spirit – to shine through us when we Arise. Our act of obedience is to stand up.
When we consider the context of this Scripture passage, we learn that it was issued to a nation of people whose earthly identity had been wrecked. They were in no way qualified vessels through which God’s glory would shine. But that’s one of the more powerful revelations in this story. Their unqualified state is what ended up actually contributing to their qualification!
If we look deeper into the book of Isaiah, specifically at chapter 43, we find this amazing two-part declaration by God:
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name. You are mine. – Isaiah 43:1
Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you; therefore, I will give men for you, and people for your life. – Isaiah 43:4
In the midst of an absolutely impossible situation, God lavishes these words of promise upon the captive Israelites. At the lowest of lows, He declares that He has redeemed them and called them by name. While their circumstances hadn’t yet changed, He was promising to redeem all they had painfully endured.
The Promise & The How
In summary, we can describe the words found in Isaiah 43 as God’s promise of redemption. The words we have already observed from Isaiah 60 can be summarized as God’s call to arise. Between those two passages, located in the 53rd chapter, we have the prophetically detailed and graphic description of Jesus going to the cross. This placement was no stroke of writing genius from the mind of Isaiah. Instead, it was evidence of the clear and strategic answer from God for the question of how. How is this possible?
The 43rd chapter issues the promise. The 53rd chapter answers the how. The 60th chapter answers the why.
When a leader’s why (purpose) shifts from the advancement of his own kingdom to the advancement of God’s Kingdom, the supernatural fruit for which God is responsible begins to emerge.
As we re-visit the 60th chapter of Isaiah and continue reading, it is now clear why God has issued the call to arise.
Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. – Isaiah 60:1-2
Lift up your eyes all around and see: they all gather together, they come to you… – Isaiah 60:4
When Kingdom leaders arise and take their place, God’s glory rises upon them. More specifically, God’s glory will arise over them so that He shines in them, through them, and upon them. He will use the obedience of Kingdom leaders to influence the people around them.
Even if we come to grips on some level with the promise of God and the pathway that Jesus created, many Christ-followers still get hung up on the qualification question. Let us be reminded that the filter by which God qualifies His children is far different than most assume. It is in the obedient act of arising and taking their place as leaders that God creates the Kingdom influence He desires.
In his book, The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person, Dr. E. Stanley Jones powerfully affirms the same point. “He believes in me when I can’t believe in myself. So, I respond to His belief when I can’t believe on my own, and He creates the thing He believes in.”
God and His Kingdom will shine through leaders who are willingly submitted to the lordship and spirit of Jesus Christ.
The Path Ahead
The sun shall no longer be your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you; But the Lord will be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. Your sun shall no longer go down, nor shall your moon withdraw itself; for the Lord will be your everlasting light… – Isaiah 60:19-20
Our mission as leaders is to Arise. Why? So that His glory can shine upon us and over us, and as a result, draw others to Himself.
How do we do this? By seeking first His Kingdom and responding obediently in faith. We must Arise and symbolically (and oftentimes, literally) take our place. The path ahead may not be certain or without its trials, but God’s continued promise is that He will be the light as we go.
You have been called, you have been chosen, and you bear His image. Now is the time to Arise!