Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:10
“The Resistance” Christian Leadership Book Lesson 8: Prepare for Conflict
As we conclude our look at the Beatitudes, I hope you have experienced progress in your defined objective. In case you haven’t realized it, part of the purpose of this series is learning how to set goals and prioritize efforts to achieve those goals, but we have to be aware of our shortcomings and measure ourselves the way God measures, by the heart.
Granted, there are going to be times you are going to make a boneheaded mistake. You will usually have the opportunity to work through them provided you are humble and take responsibility. But here, we are talking about something more serious. To be persecuted is not being done wrong and retaliating. It is not about being punished or corrected for sin. It is about being treated unfairly, being oppressed, abused, harassed, hunted or killed based on your faith in Jesus.
Persecution in this sense is an inner resolve to stand firm and accept persecution for the right thing. It is the highest level of self-denial and if you don’t believe in it, you will not choose to suffer for it. You have to be willing to lose popularity points because you fear God more than you fear people. Reference 1 Samuel 15:24 for more information on someone who didn’t fear God more.
As leaders, our every move and decision will constantly be under the magnifying glass. Being a leader means you will have to make tough decisions and it is of paramount importance to take time and examine our actions before we make them and be aware that doing the right thing does not always produce allies and cooperation. It is much better to be hated and persecuted for taking the correct course of action than to answer for moments of weakness and selfish motivation.
Regarding your objective, what is the difference between suffering for doing right and suffering for doing wrong? How do you reconcile and find solace in your decision? This answer defines your victory or subsequent failure in your objective.
A way we can understand and apply this verse of scripture is to remember Luke 9:23… and accept that if we are to truly follow Jesus there will be times in our lives that we have to:
Deny ourselves & take up our cross
While this may not mean the physical death it has meant for others, it is a call for the daily death: giving up our wants and opinions, doing without, willing to be mocked or treated differently for doing what is right…
For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.
Character in Action (Christian Leadership Book Homework)
Read Acts 7 and answer the following question.
- How can you resolve to do the right thing even when it will bring discomfort, alienation or even worse?
Dear Father in heaven, You are the creator and sustainer of our lives. You breathed Your spirit into us, that we would bring You glory. This life and the battles we go through are tiring at times and I ask that You forgive us for growing weary in the trenches and questioning Your plan for our lives. Thank You, dear Father for being our comfort in times of need and please help us adhere to the promise that there is something after this earthly life, a life with You in Your majesty. In Your Son’s holy name, we pray all of this that we would bring Your name glory and be called a “faithful steward” when that day comes. Amen.
I hope that as you have worked through the Beatitudes, you have seen them as somewhat of a couple of puzzle pieces that fit together in a logical order, to create a whole, better understanding of our character. Whether we know it or not, or even acknowledge it, so many things influence our character and most of the time, those things go unnoticed. These things come in the forms of people around us, characters we see on movies and television, things we read on the internet, etc.
So many times we get distracted by other things and lose our identity trying to be something else. But there is always that call… the call of the Holy Spirit for us to come back into a right relationship with Him.
Regardless of where we are, who we are and what we struggle with, we are loved and we have a mission within the roles we have defined throughout this process. I leave you with one final piece of scripture and encouragement:
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”Matthew 28:18-20
While in the midst of these roles, we must also be aware that we are a Christ follower and are called to not only be a disciple, but a maker of disciples. This is our highest calling regardless of the role. But we can take heart that He will be with us… always.
For more information or to purchase “The Resistance” by Josh Staton to use as a Christian leadership book, or curriculum for an addiction recovery class, please visit:
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 The Resistance: Becoming a Servant Leader through the Beatitudes Biblical Leadership Series.