"The Resistance" Bible Study Guide by Joshua Staton
"The Resistance: Becoming a Servant Leader through the Beatitudes Bible study guide by author Joshua Staton of Hendersonville, NC.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Matthew 5:5

“The Resistance” Bible Study Guide Lesson 3: A Composed Temperament

See parallel verse in Psalm 37:11

This week, in the 3rd Lesson of our Bible study guide, we address our temperament and choosing not to fight for ourselves or our wants.  In other words, it confronts the heart of self and is at many times contrary to our human nature.   This will not be easy and requires deep spiritual commitment to achieve victory.  Oh no, the self does not go quietly or without a fight…

Meek translates to: gentle, mild, patient, not arrogant, not forceful, reserved and not needing to defend one’s position.  Meekness does not imply the inability to defend one’s self, but rather it conveys the choice not to exercise strength at the cost of others by harsh words or snide comments, intimidation, complaining, bitterness, shortness, isolation or violence.

While inherit paints the scenario that if you decide to fight for yourself and your wants you will never truly obtain it, instead inheriting strife and consequences.  As Exodus 14:14 says, the Lord fights for us, we need only be still.  If you fight for yourself, expect to inherit strife and suffering.

Choosing not to fight for yourself is one of the hardest instincts to restrain.  At least it is for me when I feel I have been put into a position to have to defend myself…  I believe there is a direct correlation between this truth and what Jesus stated in Luke 9 when the disciples pressed Him about who would be the greatest.  To which He answered, “For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

We must seek to make ourselves the least

Application (Bible Study Guide Homework)

As leaders, this flaw becomes prominent when we seek to serve our wants instead of the needs of others.  We fight to have our demands fulfilled, which results in vanity, animosity and bitter fruit.   We may get what we want, but we also may pay a price we didn’t intend to have to pay.  We must seek to put the needs of others before our wants.  This may affect finances, time and effort.

While there is a proper season to fight and defend (Ecclesiastes 3) it can’t be our primary go-to solution for interactions with others when we don’t get our way or become offended.  If we view other people and their needs as annoyances and inconveniences, we must evaluate where our perception originates from and understand the legacy we leave behind by the example we have set. 

Character in Action

Read Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and reflect on the questions below regarding your objective.

  • What do you find yourself fighting for the most in your objective area?
  • What actions or opinions do you often feel the need to defend or justify?
  • What has this fight cost and what has it produced?
  • What is the inheritance you are leaving behind?

Prayer

Father in heaven, You are our true inheritance.  Please forgive us for the times we chose to fight for our wants.  Thank You for winning the fight so many years ago on the cross.  We ask that You give us eyes to see the needs of others and seek to fulfill their needs before focusing on our wants.  In Your Son’s holy name we pray, amen.

For more information or to purchase “The Resistance” by Joshua Staton to use as a Bible study guide, or curriculum for an addiction recovery class, please visit:

The Resistance: Becoming A Servant Leader Through the Beatitudes Book

If you are in the Hendersonville, NC area, join us for an addiction recovery class. Click for more information on attending a First Contact Ministries support group for individuals or families struggling with addiction issues.

Did you miss the other lessons? Click see the entire Resistance: Becoming a Servant Leader through the Beatitudes Biblical Leadership Series.

The Resistance Biblical Leadership Devotional
"The Resistance" Biblical Leadership Devotional from the "Beatitudes", Jesus Christ's Sermon on the Mount.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Matthew 5:4

“The Resistance” Biblical Leadership Devotional Lesson 2: An Accurate Realization

Those who mourn visually translates into a picture of someone grieving from a deep emotional sense of loss.  More specifically, a deep sorrow over sin and what it produces… a spiritual brokenness and separation from our Father.  And even more precisely, this addresses heart change which leads to repentance.

As leaders, we must accept responsibility for ourselves and those we lead if we expect positive changes which create opportunities for growth.  If we allow pride (Matthew 5:3) to blind us, we will naturally fall into the mindset that we have done nothing wrong, therefore not needing forgiveness, which is a lie.

Admitting and addressing failures and wrong doings is paramount to not only becoming a Godly leader but continuing as one.  This is not an area we can phone in… it is imperative that we model this characteristic in a humble, consistent manner so those that we lead will learn by example and be encouraged.

We must acknowledge our sins and what it has produced in our lives.  This is the first step in true heart change.  We must remember who we once were, and the price Christ paid to redeem us.  By acknowledging our failures, we can confess that sin and move toward repentance which will ultimately strengthen us in our weakest areas.

Sin produces so much hurt, pain and suffering in life that if we allow it to grow and operate in us, the day will come that we become so numb and desensitized to its effects that our conscious and moral fabric deteriorates to such a point that our view of life and reality become twisted.  Twisted so much so, that wrong will seem right and right will seem wrong.  In other words, we knowingly deceive ourselves.

Application (Leadership Devotional Homework)

For this week, inspect your heart and determine if you have indeed experienced heart change in the area you are choosing to focus on.  If not, we must go to the Lord in prayer that He would lead us to see and feel the ramifications and seriousness of our failures… that He would not just leave us in our sorrow, but to comfort us that we can and will be forgiven.

From scripture, we know that we can acknowledge our sins by confessing them.  This is a required first step for repentance.  We also know that we can have faith that God is just and merciful and faithful to forgive us our sins.  But it is our responsibility to be obedient by confessing sin and asking forgiveness then to be repentant and turn from the sin.

It almost goes without saying that we may stumble during this process, but we are to press forward and not just give up and accept mediocrity in becoming comfortable with our failures.  We cannot tolerate complacency of sin within.  We must be honest and ruthless when confronting sin in our lives and realize the eternal effects.

Character in Action

Read Luke 7:36-50 and pay attention to verse 47.

  • Can you say you have experienced this sort of heart change and forgiveness due to sorrow over sin and what it has produced?

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, You are the One who created and sustains everything.  Please forgive us for our sinful selfish choices that have led to separation from You.  We thank you that You are faithful to forgive.  We ask that you equip us with a heart of repentance and bless our walk with You.  Please encourage us during this time of confrontation with the hope and expectation that if we would just let go of what is making us sick, we can then grasp that which makes us healed.  We pray this in Your Son’s holy name, Amen.

For more information or to purchase “The Resistance” by Josh Staton to use as a Biblical leadership devotional, or curriculum for an addiction recovery class, please visit:

The Resistance: Becoming A Servant Leader Through the Beatitudes Book

If you are in the Hendersonville, NC area, join us for an addiction recovery class. Click for more information on attending a First Contact Ministries support group for individuals or families struggling with addiction issues.

Did you miss the other lessons? Click see the entire Resistance: Becoming a Servant Leader through the Beatitudes Biblical Leadership Series.

The Resistance: Biblical Leadership Series by Joshua Staton. Learn how to become a "servant leader" through the teachings of Christ in the Beatitudes.
The Resistance Biblical Leadership Series by Joshua Staton.  How to Become A Servant Leader through the Beatitudes teachings of Jesus Christ.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3

“The Resistance” Biblical Leadership Series Lesson 1: A Humble Spirit

The Beatitudes are the introduction to the Sermon on the Mount. The Sermon on the Mount begins in Matthew chapter 5 and goes through the end of chapter 7. Jesus addresses many topics including anger, lust, divorce, loving your enemies and giving. And when He finished the sermon, many people began to follow Him based on the authority with which He spoke.

We look at the Beatitudes because they define virtues that are laid out as condition and result statements. The word Blessed appears at the beginning of each Beatitude, and to understand what blessed means we must go to the Greek word Makários.

Makários: describes a believer in a fortunate position when God extends His benefits and grace.

In this section, we begin our study of the Beatitudes with Matthew 5:3, which is the very first of the Beatitudes and Jesus addresses the reward for a humble spirit.

Poor in spirit literally translates into being humble. We don’t think highly of ourselves, nor do we adopt an arrogant posture towards those around us. We must realize that what has been given to us is supposed to directly benefit others, not ourselves. This includes, but is not limited to: talents, time, status and possessions. Pride creeps in when we focus on our efforts and works. While we may not verbalize it, our posture oozes the statement “Look at me.”

Application (Homework for Biblical Leadership Series)
As leaders, we must always be aware of the temptation to fall into the trap of pride resulting from our power, position, or possessions. These gifts and opportunities that God provides are not meant to terminate on themselves. We are to be faithful stewards of them and seek to build up the kingdom of heaven.

Warning signs of pride

Internal Soundtrack:
“I don’t have time to deal with this.”
“They need to get over it.”
“Not my problem.”

Outward Expression:
Annoyance and anger
Shortness and resentment
Unforgiveness and bitterness

If you find yourself doing these, you may be unconsciously feeding pride. Pride is so deeply rooted in our hearts and our view of ourselves it often goes unnoticed and unchecked, infecting everything we touch. As accounts and offenses are brought forward, make confession and repentance your top priority to becoming a better servant leader, when addressing pride.

Set aside a consistent daily time that you can pray specifically for God to reveal if a prideful spirit is undermining progress in your noted area.

Character in Action
Read John 13:1-17 and pay close attention to what Jesus says in verses 14-17.
• Are you able to model this same character in your current role?

Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father, only You are worthy of praise and glory, not us. Please forgive us for allowing the gifts You have given to become sources of pride and affect how we treat others. We thank You for all of your provision and grace and please show us best how to be aware of our need for a humble heart and how to use these gifts for others and Your glory. In Your Son’s holy name, amen.

For more information or to purchase “The Resistance” by Josh Staton to use as a devotional, Biblical leadership series, or curriculum for an addiction recovery class, please visit:

The Resistance: Becoming A Servant Leader Through the Beatitudes Book

If you are in the Hendersonville, NC area, join us for an addiction recovery class. Click for more information on attending a First Contact Ministries support group for individuals or families struggling with addiction issues.

Did you miss the other lessons? Click see the entire Resistance: Becoming a Servant Leader through the Beatitudes Biblical Leadership Series.

The Resistance Teaching Series by Joshua Staton. Addiction recovery class curriculum.
The Resistance teaching series for discipleship and leadership, as well as an addiction recovery class curriculum.  Based on the beatitudes.

Character development for leaders as Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount.

Introduction: A Dilemma

This leadership teaching series is also useful as a curriculum for an addiction recovery class. Here’s a note from author Josh Staton regarding the translation from book to blog:

The original text of “The Resistance” was created to facilitate a Saturday morning men’s group.  It eventually became a book and now a blog series.  In this transition, some sections have been omitted or condensed.  I believe the heart and spirit are still alive and well.  This introduction post comprises the first four chapters of the book and covers a significant amount of ground.

Leadership will always face a dilemma: the self.  The self does not want to focus on weakness.  Ever.  This is the design of the self.  The self is bent towards preserving its interests and pursuing its wants.  It would rather focus on its strengths than its weaknesses.  The biggest problems with strengths are that they create blind spots which lead to pride.  Once pride roots in, a downfall will follow as the writer of proverbs records.

As Christ followers, we must confront the gap between what the world says a leader should be versus what God’s word says a leader should be.  We are to be The Resistance.  Resist the urge to get swept up in the battle, to not be sifted, to not be weighed and found wanting.

Essentially, this series is an application of biblical scripture.  Its primary focus is to fight the ever-present disease of the self.  In business, I believe it is economical to build upon your strengths.  It is easy to hire out the work you are not especially good at or feel an attachment to.  However, in our personal lives we can’t just farm out the work, we must allow the gospel to refine our weaknesses in the following way:

Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.

John 15:2, ESV

Our objectives change as the years go by; weaknesses become strengths and new opportunities appear over the horizon as our character is refined.  At times, growth is painful.  But the yield it produces is what we must devote our attention to during these trying seasons.

As a natural result of this growth, our lives should begin to bear fruit for those people placed in our lives: our family, friends, co-workers and neighbors.  The way we do that is to model leadership after Jesus’ example and teachings.  This is our primary mission; reconciliation to Christ and community.

Charting the Course – Define

If we are members of a family or a church, if we work a job or have neighbors… we are part of a community.  Community is essentially defined as the people you live around or have contact with.  Many of the people we come in contact with are for the better part strangers: the mailman, cashier at a department store, bag boy at the grocery store, a co-worker at the office, the neighbor who enjoys listening to AC/DC at 2am.

However, there are a number of encounters that eventually become relationships due to the close proximity and frequency of our encounters:  a member from church, someone from school, individual from small group, parents of a friend of your child.

Application (Homework for addiction recovery class)

Take some time to reflect and pray over the following question.  This determines your areas of influence and opportunities for being a servant leader.  List them out, as many as you can think of.

What roles do you currently assume?

Husband/Wife

Father/Mother

Brother/Sister

Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Son/Daughter

Friend

Co-worker

Neighbor, Etc.

Charting the Course – Diagnose

Above we made a list of the areas where we fill a role or have influence.  Over the years, I have found that trying to balance all of these roles and demands leads to exhaustion and frustration.  When we do good in one area, another area gets neglected.

The apparent problem lies in the perceived ebb and flow of priorities being temporarily out of whack.  Our struggle to find homeostasis does not resemble the swing of a pendulum going from one extreme to the other, but the fact that we almost always swing back to the out of whack priorities after a short period of time.  We gravitate to doing good in what we usually do good in and neglect what we usually neglect unless a siren goes off and alerts us that the ship is keeling too far to one side.  Begrudgingly we make adjustments and go about life until the siren goes off again.  This becomes the repetitive cycle that we are going to take a look at a little deeper in our assignment this week.

Application

Undoubtedly, as you were making your list, one if not a few areas are louder than the others.  In this section we will now begin to narrow our focus.  We do this with a two-part question to develop strengths by addressing weaknesses:Out of all of these roles, which one needs the most work and attention?

  1. Why does it need work?  Why is it so loud? Out of all of these roles, which one needs the most work and attention?

Which one has the volume cut up the loudest on?  In other words, which role are you experiencing the most frustration, disappointment, lack of hope or progress in?  God will bring to mind and heart the area He wants you to make efforts in.  These are not going to be your strong areas.  These are going to be your weakest areas.  Spend intentional time analyzing your weakest areas; the area where you say:

“I struggle with _________ the most, and if any progress is made it will have to be by God’s grace and through His guidance.”

2. Why does it need work?  Why is it so loud?

  • Spouse – arguments with husband/wife
  • Parent – need a better relationship with kids
  • Child – unforgiveness towards parents
  • Employee – Patience toward a co-worker

This is reconnaissance for your battleplan and necessary for charting a proper course.  Notice I use the word proper.  If you are not analyzing and being specific, the waters will get murky very quickly, making it impossible to navigate and give an honest assessment.  Focus on facts.  Do not focus on your opinion of others, their responsibility or hearsay.  This is about you.

Establish an Objective (Homework for addiction recovery class)

Now, using these answers we have the components to set an objective or goal; one that can be measured, and progress can be tracked.  One quick note about setting a goal.  This goal cannot be something as lofty and esoteric as world peace or become a better person.  While noble, goals of that manner are too general and do not spell out specific actions.  Our goal needs to be specific.  Spell it out however elaborate you need to, we can whittle it down once we find out what it is.  In essence, it will acknowledge a journey that has to be traveled.  It will state:

“Here is where I am, but there is where I need to be.”

This objective will be what we focus on during the rest of our study.  We will look at our weakest areas through the lens of each Beatitude and gauge how to apply each characteristic we learn from the gospel to it.  I believe each Beatitude is a piece of the puzzle for us in our character development as followers of Christ and leaders of others, man or woman.

Final Consideration – Communication

This will not be an exhaustive investigation on the topic of communication.  But it does bear mention and consideration.

Two Main Forms

  • Direct – what you say and do
  • Indirect – how it was heard and interpreted

Environments

  • Occupational – Job
  • Societal – out in the community
  • Residential or Familial – Home

Many times, how we communicate at the house may be different than how we communicate at work, or in front of people at a meeting.  Who usually is the recipient of the best of our communication skills and who gets to see us at our worst?  It is one thing to put together a presentation and talk to strangers about something, but it is an entirely different thing to communicate effectively in your household. 

Because it is not just your words that the members of your house hear, they also see your actions.  It is that long string of your actions that will ultimately dictate what they hear from you, regardless of what you intended to say or do.  This is how your life ultimately communicates to others what you value, indirectly.

Components

  • Confidence – Do you really believe what you are saying
  • Clarity – Simplify the message to the main point.  Do not busy the waters with auxiliary information or opinions.
  • Consideration – Recognize who it is that you are speaking to and the proper time and place.
  • Compassion – Always end with hope and understanding.

For us, as Christ followers and leaders, our lives must communicate and reflect our Savior to others.  And for this reason, I am convinced, a leader must excel at communicating and is one of, if not the most important aspects of leadership.

For more information or to purchase The Resistance as a discipleship or leadership guide, or as a curriculum for an addiction recovery class, please visit:

The Resistance: Becoming A Servant Leader Through the Beatitudes Book

If you are in the Hendersonville, NC area, join us for an addiction recovery class. Click for more information on attending a First Contact Ministries support group for individuals or families struggling with addiction issues.

Click to see other lessons in the Resistance: Becoming a Servant Leader through the Beatitudes Teaching Series.