“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.” Isaiah 9:6-7a NLT

The elements of true leadership are open to everyone.

  • Building trust
  • Being safe people
  • Taking 100% responsibility
  • Standing in the gap
  • Declaring healing for others
  • Acting in justice for others

All of these things can be done by any one of us. Each of us can become safe people, trustworthy and available to those around us. Any of us can take on 100% responsibility for at least one of the troubles and problems all around us. We can stand up and declare healing for others and we can take action for justice in our homes, faith gatherings and our communities.

Daniel (who we studied in chapter 50, page 66) became this kind of leader even though he was essentially a slave taken captive by an enemy nation. He became a leader ‘from the middle’ by his integrity and strength as an individual and as he lived according to the knowledge of God in his life.

Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire…. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy.” Daniel 6:3b+4b NLT

As we have noted before, in our human systems of this world, leadership, or spiritual authority even, is thought to be a position from which we direct and command others. We believe it to be about power over other people. But the core of true leadership and of authentic spiritual authority is not about power over people, it is about influence and the touch of God through us to others, for their benefit and blessing.

God compels leaders into compassion for people and through a direct arrangement by the Lord to minister and heal and bring life to them. Leadership is about standing in the gap to ensure a different reality for others.

Consider Isaiah 3:6-7:

“For a man will take hold of his brother in the house of his father, saying: “You have a cloak; you shall be our leader, and this heap of ruins shall be under your rule”; in that day he will speak out, saying: “I will not be a healer; in my house there is neither bread nor cloak; you shall not make me leader of the people.” Isaiah 3:6-7 ESV


It is an account of the calling of a person to step into leadership, “You have a cloak, you shall be our leader.” but the one being called wants nothing to do with it. This person refuses to become part of the solution. In fact, this person denies his/her resources and skills that could be used to help bring solutions.

The Israelites had fallen into chaos. All of the healthy and settled ways by which life thrives had been removed and lost from them. They had given their lives over to sinful habits and decisions and in this context we find this passage and in it a direct correlation between healing and leading.

Read verse seven again. Notice how leader and healer are interchangeably used?

To lead is to heal, and to heal is to lead. This changes everything. We come to understand that power 53 is not the goal of the Lord through our lives. God’s heart is about service and about bringing others to a full understanding and restoration within his love and grace and holiness.

Healing leaders come in the spirit of Sulha, out of obedience to God, in service to the freedom and healing, the restoration and transformation, of others.

At a simple glance a few things stand out from this passage. First of all:

  1. Leading comes out of our resources at hand, “You have a cloak; you shall be our leader,” Isaiah 3:6

All too often we wait on something ‘more’ before we begin leading. We easily discount what we already have. Yet each person has skills and wisdoms and resources that can be applied and that would make a difference for someone. God calls each of us to begin leading, to begin making a difference with what we already have at hand. Secondly:

  1. Leading is for the express purpose of setting right what has gone wrong, “This heap of ruins shall be your rule.” Isaiah 3:6

Now, not many of us naturally want to have a heap of ruins as our rule. Yet quite practically, and we know this today, the art of leadership is in fact about solving problems. In fact, the better a person is at solving problems, the farther they advance in leadership. Once we learn to head toward problems in order to discover and apply solutions we will be able to apply those same skills and strength in any situation and for the health and well-being of any people. Third:

  1. Leading is all about healing and in healing we are leading. Isaiah 3:7

Leading as healing is something we must get in the core of our beings. We might rather have leading about whipping people into shape, about shaming others for all that is wrong and about demanding that someone make it right, but leadership, walking in true Godly authority, is about stepping up to the difficulty ourselves. It is about taking responsibility for the messes we have around us.

It is about us making a difference rather than demanding someone else do it.

Some 2000 years ago this is exactly what Christ did. He came to earth to carry the responsibility of our sin. He came and died, taking on 100% responsibility for all that had gone wrong in the world, declaring once and for all,

“Those things?… You didn’t do them, I did!”

God stepped forward in full healing leadership to set right what had gone so terribly wrong.

While a heap of ruins is never the place that we choose to minister or lead, as ambassadors in the kingdom of God this is the exact job. We take on the heaps of ruins; take responsibility for them, entering into the mark of God, that has us equipped for these tasks by God himself.

Now, it’s not about us making a difference everywhere. The whole lot is not ours to personally take on, of course. Yet there is something where each of us are uniquely wired and impassioned to make a difference. God invites every single one of us to significant service in the Kingdom of God.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time earlier in this material looking at the heart of God and then exploring our own hearts alongside him. We’ve journeyed into the depths of our own stories, the good and bad of our lives, and are learning to live every part of our lives for the glory of God.

All of this has been so that our hearts might be clear of muck and debris, so that we might discern our own passionate, caring, hearts, and the visions planted there by the Lord. Leadership is never to be about imposing expectation or ought or should. Leadership rather, is about that inner compelling and fire from our guts that can do no less than step in and make a difference for others. And this comes from God.

We contribute, engaging our particular influence and work, out of compassion and empathy, out of an authenticity with ourselves and God and then in authenticity between ourselves and each other. We do not remain puffed up and above others, unable to sympathize with them. Rather, we know the low places as that from which we ourselves have come. We too are simple and common people, and from this place we minister in powerful healing and restoration.

Consider what the Lord himself says,

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15 ESV

We then read in the book The Wounded Healer,

“Through compassion it is possible to recognize that the craving for love that men feel resides also in our hearts, that the cruelty that the world knows all too well is also rooted in our own impulses. Through compassion we also sense our hope for forgiveness in our friend’s eyes and our hatred in their bitter mouths. When they kill, we know that we could have done it; when they give life, we know that we can do the same. For compassionate man nothing human is alien: no joy and no sorrow, no way of living and no way of dying.” by Henri Nouwen 54


And Brennan Manning writes,

“The compassionate love of Jesus at work within us empowers us to suffer with, endure with, struggle with, partake of, be moved in the depths of our being for the hunger, nakedness, loneliness, pain, squalid choices, and failed dreams of our brothers and sisters in the human family. We don’t have to join the work of Mother Theresa in Calcutta or Bruce Ritter in Times Square or the medical missionaries in El Salvador. The passion of Christ is being played out in our own communities, perhaps in our own homes, in anyone who is in agony of the flesh or spirit. Jesus is there not in some vague eerie way but as a real presence—for what we do for the least of our brothers and sisters, we do for Him.”
by Brennan Manning
55

My own Dad wrote this,

“Of course we often still feel overwhelmed by the human condition, but none of that
lessens the powerful bonds of God’s endless love.”
by Art Coombes

It must not be missed that in the Kingdom of God compassion is the avenue by which authority happens.

It is not an exaggeration to say that without compassion we are godless.

Compassion sees with the eyes of God. It has big, big perspective. Compassion doesn’t get all riled up over the details. It doesn’t major on the minors, rather it moves with much bigger perspective.

Compassion holds no prejudice or contempt. Compassion gets it that the choices we make affect our lives but simultaneously hears God’s heart that says, regardless of their bad choices you go bless on them, “I want them to know how much I love them.”

Compassion gets past the law, and the ought’s and the ‘should’. Compassion is the primary manner of our God. Without compassion we can find all the reason why such and such is happening to so and so, and never once be moved to assist or to help. Compassion sees the reasons, and helps anyway.

Compassion is not about proving our point. It is not about who is right or who is wrong, and it is not about blame. In contrast, compassion takes the responsibility for what has gone wrong in the world and gets on with setting it right.

And as our hearts express God’s heart of compassion miracles happen. May I be so bold to say, that it is only as our lives are in accord with God’s compassion that lives are changed and renewed. And it is only in compassion that we are safe and secure, because compassion is of the spirit and not of the flesh. 56

Compassion is all about the Spirit of God, and only in the Spirit are we truly safe and secure.

Healing leaders, the kind of leaders who are making a true impact on the human spirit in our communities and nations, are leaders who have a big heart and that big perspective of God that sees all that is wrong and goes forward into the trouble to set it right.

Healing leaders operate out of compassion that no longer blames or condemns others but stops long enough to get to know people, to listen to them well, and to understand what is going on for them, and how and exactly what kind of help they may benefit from.

Healing leaders are making a difference for people, for families, for communities and for nations. May we be these kinds of leaders.

PRAYER

“God we come to you today in the name and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. Father, would you teach us to be healing leaders. May we grow in sensitivity to those moments when we are just bossing and directing and correcting, may our leadership be something different and more than this. May our leadership be in compassion, with listening, and with action for justice, for healing and for the health of those around us. May be we truly in service to and for others. May we bring your heart and manner and life to the awareness of others. May we be healing leaders. Teach us Lord. Amen.”

APPLICATION

Allowing Christ into every part of our lives is a journey of a lifetime, yet we can start by experiencing what we have been speaking of, one of The King’s basic building blocks called compassion.

Compassion is an integral working out of grace in our own lives:

  • Do you know compassion?
  • Can you feel compassion for others?
  • Is compassion for you?

Before we can walk in spiritual authority it is absolutely necessary that we personally taste the compassion which has driven our Lord all these years.

We do well to consider:

  • How might we show compassion to ourselves?
  • What would that look like?
  • How might that feel?

And to ask these questions:

  • In order to have compassion abide in you and for you, what might you have to give up?
  • Imagine if we were to receive the compassion of The King, how might this change the way you live?
  • How might this change the world?

NOTE: We ask questions not to get answers, but to open our thinking and our hearts before the Lord.

There is nothing more powerful than holding open hands for the Lord’s answers to pour in. Questions do this. Therefore, do NOT rush to answer these questions. Rather, hold them loosely and admit you just might have more to learn and experience. Rushing to answer questions closes down our ability to learn and to see things afresh, don’t do this.

What we do know is that God:

  • Has invited you. Isaiah 43:1
  • Longs to experience fullness of intimacy with you. Revelation 3:30
  • Wants to passionately partner together with you to set things right on this earth.
  • Ephesians 3:14-20

As we come to intimately know the Lord’s heart we can speak on his behalf. We are able to advocate and declare his heart of compassion, of healing, and of mercy, of restoration, hope, peace, and more to a broken world. We live these things as the living God takes up full abode within us.

We learn His heart through union with Him. Through radical partnership and intimate fellowship we come to know our God. Study your heart to learn of Him.

SUMMARY – HEALING LEADERS

The true elements of leadership are available to anyone. 1 Timothy 4:12; Romans 12:9-13

Leading is healing and healing is leading. 3 John 1:2; James 5:15-16; Matthew 10:8

We head into difficulty to make a difference for people. Isaiah 1:17; Matthew 7:12;

We come from a place of 100% responsibility. Galatians 6:5; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 6:4

We come in the specific work of the Lord for us personally.
1 John 2:1; John 14:27; Matthew 11:28-30

Compassion and empathy enable us to be healing leaders.
Ephesians 4:32; Romans 12:15; Galatians 6:2

______________________________

53 About Power: the power of God is not about being ‘over’ others, but as an advocate, in agreement, for the heating and health of others. Power is revealed through humility (leading in the Spirit), about love (covering over a multitude of sins), and of forgiveness (allowing others to see and know the forgiveness of God), and the power of obedience to God (we act out his heart on this earth).
54 The Wounded Healer, 1972, by Henri Nouwen, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc. NY, New York
55 The Ragamuffin Gospel, 1990, 2000, 2005, by Brennan Manning, Multnomah Books Colorado Springs, CO
56 If you are trying to win battles in the spirit realm out of hate, contempt, pride, arrogance, disdain, you will be taken down by the enemy because you are walking in the flesh and not in the spirit of God. The demonic can only grab hold of and attack the flesh, and so it is out of living in the spirit that we are protected and living in the flesh that we are exposed and open to attack.

=> Next is the last lesson in Month Seven, Walking in Spiritual Authority

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