By Ryan Shaw
Ryan is the international lead facilitator for Global Mission Mobilization Initiative (GMMI) and currently lives among the unreached.
In Isaiah 6:1-8 we find one of the most concise and clear examples in all of Scripture of the process God desires to lead His children through. All around the world today God is pursuing a people who are committed to His plans and purposes and to aligning themselves with those plans and purposes according to His own ways and conditions. We often find believers wanting to be used by God yet not necessarily willing to do so according to the processes God has set up. As a result, our outward service can become fruitless because the crucial inner life processes have not been adequately cultivated.
Isaiah’s experience in these verses is a blueprint for all to follow who want to be used of God. It reveals critical developments that God leads His children through in order to carry His heart and vision rightly in the world. Isaiah could not be God’s mouthpiece until he had experienced God in His awesome and terrifying reality. We can never take others where we ourselves have not been. Spiritual leadership means influencing others onward and upward in wholehearted devotion to Jesus. If we ourselves are not encountering Jesus in a deeply personal and real way on an ongoing basis, we are not able to lead others to that place.
Isaiah’s encounter with God can be broken down into three distinct phases: the revelation of God’s glory to Isaiah (vs. 1-2), a new grasp of God’s holiness, true repentance and cleansing of sin (vs. 3-7), and finally God asking the question who will go and Isaiah responding (vs. 8). This account is in the Scripture to teach God’s people the inter-connected relationship between personal revival and the outworking of His power and love through a life. This does not mean we consistently feel an emotional high as we follow Jesus but instead are being shaped by encountering the heart of God and being awakened in our spirits to love Him with our all.
Let’s look at these three phases in detail to see how they relate to us. First, God reveals His glory to Isaiah. The emphasis was on the greatness and essence of God and His splendor. God meant that Isaiah would catch a glimpse of Him as He is and be transformed as a result. Moses had such an encounter at the burning bush. An awe-inspiring picture of the absolute superiority of this great God they served. It is essential that Gods’ people have a right experience of His glory. This will always increase intimacy with God and awe toward Him in our hearts. Such an experience causes us to behold the majesty of God as we see Him high and lifted up and recognize His intimate knowledge of us.
It moves us beyond our often pitiful views of God and enlarges our vision of Christ. One of the keys to seeing true spiritual awakening in our universities and ministries is the restoration of a high vision of God Most High. This is truly the most important piece of our spiritual lives because how we view God affects everything else in our lives. It affects our discipleship, outreach, families, relationships, our very responses to God. Many resort to a low or small vision of God because they have never seen the real thing. Strength produces strength in others while weakness begets weakness and a small vision of God does the same. If we grasp a high and true vision of God everything is affected and our individual lives and churches are forever changed.