Abusive spiritual authority is epidemic. Reactionary responses to abusive authority are also epidemic. My friends Don Atkin, Greg Austin, and myself address what genuine kingdom authority looks like: a serving nation of priests, not chief executives and “visionaries” of an organization. In this installment, Greg Austin talks about the “descending priesthood” as a necessity for genuine NT kingdom authority.
The spiritual sojourner, whose life-determination is to walk according to the precepts and the ways of a glorious and peerless God, discovers on his way a transcendent magnificence that invites him upward. The divine call always is to move higher, into spheres and heights, among territories unknown, into places untrodden by fleshy feet and into fathomless locales populated by our God and His holy angels.
Indeed, moving in the Godward direction we find ourselves being lifted from the rough and twisting pathway of mundane life into heavenly places by the merciful hand of our gracious God. And yet, in these lofty altitudes we discover not some kind of ethereal splendor, not some unattached, disembodied spirit-life, but instead we find ourselves dwelling among our own brethren, along the streets of commerce and among disheartened, broken, desperate lives in need of a Savior.
We are lifted “up” that we might function “down.” His invitation is to gain endorsement, encouragement, to be energized on the mountaintop as we minister in the valley.
And the true joy of serving Him comes, not from mountaintop ecstasy but from valley effectiveness.
When Jesus experienced His great transfiguration, as recorded in Matthew 17 and Mark 9, three of His disciples were present and witnessed the phenomenon. Jesus was literally, physically transfigured—changed, transformed in His appearance, and He shone with the intensity of an otherworldly, heavenly light. Indeed, according to Matthew’s account, “His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.”20
The whole scene was so glorious that, cognizant of the calendar, (It was the time of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles.) and because he did not know what else to say because of his fear, Peter suggested that three booths (tabernacles/tents) be constructed atop the mountain: one for Jesus and one each for Moses and Elijah. Yet as the intensity of the transfiguration experience diminished, Jesus immediately led His friends back down from the summit to the valley. The message is clear: To be effective for the kingdom we may visit, but we may not remain, on the summit of our mountaintop experiences.
Indeed, Scripture does not reveal even the name of the mountain upon which the transfiguration took place, as though heaven were protecting future believers from constructing a shrine of continual occupancy in a place where little, true ministry could occur.
Descending the mountain, Jesus, Peter, James, and John arrived in the valley and were immediately met by a man whose son was possessed by a mute spirit. Jesus demonstrated the way “from glory to glory.” From the glory of the mountaintop He moved to the glory of the valley by liberating a young boy who had been grievously tormented by a demon.
The lesson to be learned here is that while we may experience and enjoy the mountaintop glory, while heaven calls us upward, into the heights of divine splendor and close association in the Holy Spirit, our place always is among the multitudes, in the valley of service.
It is a kingdom principle that he who would rise up, into heavenly places; he who would move higher in Christ must seek the lowest of estates.
It is here, in the low places of the valley that the visitor of the heights of God’s splendor finds true satisfaction, walks in divine righteousness and experiences divine peace and heavenly joy—for in these is the kingdom of God and not on some plane beyond and invisible to the physical, temporal world of men about us.
For the child of God, the route, the direction towards effectiveness must always be downward, while the consequence of effectiveness moves us upward.
When we live as Jesus lived, as we notice what He noticed, place our priorities where His were placed, we find ourselves moving among the poor, the brokenhearted, to the captives and towards the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed.21 Such was the predetermined agenda and the heart of the Son of God, the Savior, and such must ours be if we are to possess true, kingdom authority.
This blog is by Greg Austin and is an excerpt of our book: Royal Priesthood: The Pathway to Kingdom Authority, available at www.stevecrosby.com#www.badchurchexperience.com
Would you like to partner with us in distributing our materials and perhaps generate some income for yourself? Please go to www.stevecrosby.com for details of our Affiliate program. This ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those believe in the message of a radical grace in a new covenant understanding. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? Thank you and God bless you.