Spiritual Life of the Leader - Lesson 10

The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 2/4)

When you experience a difficult situation, how do you begin to turn your focus away from the negative and on to what God is doing? How do you respond when you are working closely with people that don't like you? What do you do as a leader when there is a person that is angry with you and disagrees with how you are leading?

Stephen Martyn
Spiritual Life of the Leader
Lesson 10
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The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 2/4)

The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 2)

I. Questions and Answers About Tristitia

A. When you experience a difficult situation, how do you begin to turn your focus away from the negative and on to what God is doing?

B. How do you respond when you are working closely with people that don't like you?

C. What do you do as a leader when there is a person that is angry with you and disagrees with how you are leading?

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Class Resources
  • Dr. Martyn has surveyed church leaders around the world to understand their responsibilities and pressures. He aims to use his experience to help them develop a model of ministry that encourages spiritual formation, discipleship, and worship in a healthy way. His class is comprehensive on topics such as spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles, and worship. Listening to this class could benefit anyone regardless of whether they have an official leadership position or not.
  • Christian activism is Christians seeking to be involved in the issues and needs of the day and time. Wesleyans in the 1700's in England sought to minister to people that others didn’t care about. To be called by Christ is to be called into the body of Christ. A biblical model is that every member is a full-fledged minister of the gospel without distinction between clergy and laity. 

  • Mysticism can be described as the direct communication of your spirit with the Divine Spirit as taught and illustrated in the New Testament as a fundamental part of Christian belief. Receptivity means that I am open to what the Lord is saying to me through the revelation of his word, the magnificence of his son and the voice of his Spirit which is consistent with the written word. The church was emphasizing what they were doing for God rather than on first listening to what God wants us to be and then acting. Union with our Lord must come before any type of donation or work (kenosis) for our Lord. (Download the complete text of the sermon by clicking on the link on this page or under the Downloads heading on the class page.)

  • Which do you love more, the Lord or the projects you are doing for him? Is your goal to exalt the Lord or build a personal kingdom? Essence of anxiety is whether or not you can trust God. The question to ask when you begin having feelings of self-pity is, “Is you life going to be defined by how you think it ought to go?”  The blame-shame mindset is that you are unhappy because there is something wrong with the people around you. When you experience these red flags in your ministry, you should recognize it as time that it’s possible that the Lord may be prompting you to make a change in your life.The Mary in you must rest at the feet of Jesus if the Martha in you is to do her work.

  • Essence is who the Lord has created you to be. Biblically, essence precedes existence as oppose to Sartre's teaching that man is no more than what he makes of himself. God has given us the capacity of reception, to be able to hear God’s voice and follow it. The spiritual life that God calls you to live is based on what you receive from God, not on what you do for God.

  • How do you determine if your motives are right in your efforts to serve God? The more gifts and talents we have, the more susceptible we are to self-deception regarding our motives. Resist the urge to make pleasing people your primary motivation. You will never please everyone and in the process you lose sight of focusing on pleasing God. When people have expectations of you that don’t match what God has called you to do, there are times when you must, “let Lazarus die.”

  • God wants us to be faithful to the kingdom and his son and fruitful according to his metrics. What’s the goal and what condition do our hearts need to be in to understand the goal? The Mary in us needs to rest at the feet of Jesus in order for the Martha in us to do her work. Think about when you experienced renewal and think about when you were blessed. When you have received God’s blessing, how has that resulted in demonstrating his hand of mercy to someone else? How are your activities balanced?

  • A canal simultaneously pours out what it receives. A reservoir waits till it’s filled then discharges water without loss to itself. Today, there are many in God’s church that act like canals. The reservoirs are far too rare. So urgent is the charity of those through whom heavenly doctrine flows that they want to pour it forth to us before they have been filled. They are more ready to speak than to listen, impatient to teach what they have not grasped, and full of presumption to govern others while they know not how to govern themselves. High mountain lakes have one stream out and water level relatively constant throughout the year. How is the water level staying constant in your life? Depletion results in erosion of presence, and results in just going through the motions. 

  • The Lord desires that we live dispositionally. Important elements include loving God, living devotionally, relational strengthening, vocational serving (listening with the intent of following what I hear). Dallas Willard wrote, “If I am a disciple of Jesus, I am with him to learn from him, how to be like him." The primary calling of a pastor is to follow Jesus, within the calling of leading a church. 

  • The eight deadly sins are in the order that Satan uses to try to get us and in the order in which we need redemption. Gormandize means you are overdoing it and being a slave to flesh. Fornication refers to a wandering heart and seeking to devour others. Avarice is the love of money and sometimes is a fear of not having enough. Anger is a rancorous spirit. The spiritual cancer of depreciation is looking at the vast horizon of God’s goodness in his creation and my life and depreciating it, only seeing what’s wrong. Psalm 51:10-12, create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me.

  • When you experience a difficult situation, how do you begin to turn your focus away from the negative and on to what God is doing? How do you respond when you are working closely with people that don't like you? What do you do as a leader when there is a person that is angry with you and disagrees with how you are leading?

  • The sin of acedia is, “I don’t care anymore.” The sin of tristitia is sadness, wrongly processing suffering and loss, allowing the soul to close in on itself and refuse instruction from God. Tristitia is neither a result of other people or of our outward circumstances. Satan wants to get us off the track in stupid presumption or in sinful carelessnenss. God redeems the hurt that evil has done.

  • In the early church passion was seen as something that controlled you and out of control and leading you astray, not a positive motivation. John Cassion described vainglory as passion to take pleasure in our own qualities. The danger is that we take credit for what God is doing. In pursuit of being popular, we often sacrifice who we are at the core. Pride is the original vice from which all others spring. Pride can develop into functioning atheism. The cure for pride is to have the humility of Jesus in our heart. 

  • Is there a sin that's not deadly? To what extent can you worry about something before it becomes a sin? What does it take to overcome gluttony? The minute you make an exception for yourself, you either presume on the grace of God or break a known law of God. Admit what you are feeling and submit it to God to have faith in him in the situation, then do your part.

  • Instead of gluttony, we see temperance. Temperance means living a balanced life. Chaste love is extending love to others, not preying on them. Poverty of spirit rather than greed. Cultivate meekness to deal with anger. You have been forgiven much so you should be willing to forgive others much. Cultivate faith, hope and love to deal with hopelessness. Cultivate humility to deal with vainglory. Evangelism in the first 300 years a result of the quality of the lives of disciples as they lived in a hostile environment. 

  • A transcendent crisis is yearning for the “more than.” “Is life meaningful?” “Is God good?” Can I trust my life to God or have I been abandoned by God? An idolatry crisis happens when you run after a passion rather than pursue God. Each person in your sphere of influence is going through crises in their own lives. God can use a crisis to help something in us die so we can experience and share the light of Christ.

  • To feed the 5,000, the disciples had to rely on Jesus because they didn’t have the resources. Jesus walked out on the water to comfort the disciples with his presence. The disciples thought they were going to die a terrible death. If you choose to think your situation, the church and others are hopeless, it results in ego desperation, or hopelessness. You see what’s wrong, you think you have exhausted your resources and you see no way that it’s going to get fixed. If you allow the crisis to take you into the life of Christ and dependence on him, it will not destroy you. 

  • It's important for us to understand how our relationship with God is affected by being born at a certain period of time and in a certain society. The vital is the physical dimension of the human life. Vitalism is where your physical pleasures become the priority in your life.  Functional is the roles, tasks and responsibilities we take on. It’s a problem when we allow our roles and responsibilities to define us, which is functionalism. Transcendent is the longing for the “more than.” Pneumatic/Ecclesial level is the capacity the Lord has given each of us to hear and respond to the Holy Spirit, God’s voice. When ambition gets separated from the leading of the Spirit, it can become self-promotion. Functional Transcendence is you using the things of God for self-gain.

  • It's important to keep Christ at the center of who you are. Interiority includes memory, intellect, will. Augustine says will is most important.In addition to our personal thoughts, we exist in community with others who are submitting their lives to the will of Christ. The Lord has placed us in a certain place and time and wants you to live a life of obedience in that context every day, not just one day a week. The Father is seeking to form your life into the image of Christ as you were meant to be. Through our experiences, God forms you into a unique person. On the relational side, this results in compassion for others because we love others with the same love we experienced. God gives us confidence that he has given us the gifts and resources we need to live out the calling he has given us. Competence that our ministry will be effective. Our courage comes from trusting in the strength of the Lord. Community, the work of God’s Church is a work done with others. Confirmation comes internally from God and externally from the community of faith. 

  • If you are following Jesus, you have a role as a leader. If a spiritual leader does not understand what their task is according to scripture, then their spiritual life is not going to have the focus the Lord wants them to have.  Worship is a response of the love that has been shown to us. Worship involves our all aspects of us and is enabled by God’s Spirit. We worship God because of who he is. By looking at Jesus, you see who God is.

  • The Church needs you to present what Scripture says, not your own ideas. Worship means to kneel before someone out of respect or honor. We owe it to God as an act of service to sit at his feet and worship him. Spiritual worship is to place our physical bodies at God’s disposal. Are we leading people to worship God, or just providing religious goods and services to them? Solid biblical teaching is important. Structure follows purpose. We are failing to dig down into the revelation of God and let the revelation of God set the compass. If you are not careful, your program sets your agenda.

  • Movements in worship: 1. kneeling in acts of loving worship. Kneeling in submission before God to acknowledge that you are dependent on him. 2. Exalting God by declaring his worthiness 3. Receiving God’s life symbolized by the sacrament of communion. 4. Empowers us and encourages us to go out and serve. We participate in the fellowship and life of the Trinity. We need to immerse ourselves in relationship to God and let that inform and empower what we do so that our worship service is more than creating an experience or transmitting information. Be explicit about your purpose in worship and include prayer.

  • The elders fall before the throne, they worship the Lord and they cast their crowns before him. Falling before the throne represents an acknowledging of God as absolute deity. What is going to happen in the future tells us what we should be doing now. When we fall down before the throne, our heart condition is inward humility and submission to the Lord. Then they raise up and exalt the Lord by proclaiming his worth. Inward love results in proclaiming what is right, good, just and holy. Taking of crowns is an outward expression of placing everything we have under the Lordship of Christ and an inward movement of total abandonment of everything we are to God.

  • The call of Jesus to, “follow me” is the call to redirect everything in our lives. A disciple is one who seeks to fulfill the will of the father by actively following Jesus the Son while continually depending on the Holy Spirit for guidance and strength. Faith is my trust in Jesus as well as the content of the Gospel. Practice is putting it into play. Catechism is the content of the faith, and catechesis is how you express it. Cheap grace is not biblical because it allows for justification without ensuing discipleship. Primary purposes of the church are to proclaim the Gospel, worship and make disciples. In addition to knowing the content, you must live it out. Clergy need to learn how to make and train disciples. Laity must be fully committed full-time ministers of the body of Christ.

  • Movements that are necessary for the church today to fulfill what God is calling them to do. For the clergy, 1. moving from pastor as the primary minister to each believer fulfilling their calling as full-time ministers in their spheres of influence; 2. Moving from preaching only to not only appropriate sermon preparation time but also discipling a core group; 3. Moving from a priority on numbers to staying with a process that results in mature disciples; 4. From solo leadership to team leadership. Discipleship should not be optional. Old Christendom model is breaking down but confusion on who and what we are called to be. “Is my first aim to make disciples, or do I just run an operation?” For the laity, 1. From going to church to being Church; 2. From expecting benefits from Christianity requiring no sustained effort to being intent on being disciples; 3. From being passive observers to full-time ministers. Primary purpose of leader is to equip the people of God to do the work of God.

  • The sermon is a critical part of the discipleship process. The “through” movement is the process of the “from-to” movement. Each of these steps must be contextualized to your situation. We are aiming for maturity in Christ. As a leader, you love the whole but you only disciple the few. Don’t neglect public proclamation but don’t see that as the end of your ministry. Daily pray, read scripture, weekly services, small groups acts of service, fasting, giving. Discipleship is helping people integrate the word of God into their lives.

  • Tozer says we don’t have the right of choosing Jesus as Savior and postponing our obedience. Dispositions are something that’s part of your daily life. Christian disciplines help us to love God and love our neighbor. Encourage people to seek God’s direction for where he wants them to serve. The biblical model is that mature Christians will live as disciplined followers. Make it a goal for pure love to fill your heart and govern your words and actions.

What do you think the priorities should be for a leader in the Church? How do you cultivate your personal spiritual life in a way that keeps you emotionally healthy and helps you avoid choosing sin? What is your measure of success for your church? How does that compare with a biblical measure of success? What is a disciple? What should the process of discipleship look like? What principles can you learn from the way Jesus interacted with his followers that will help you to encourage spiritual formation of the people in your sphere of influence? What are sins that people in leadership have commonly struggled with over the past 2,000 years? How do you recognize them in your own life and what are some practical ways to avoid them or repent and recover from them? What is the essence of worship? How do you live your life so you are worshipping God authentically in everything you do? How do you lead worship in a group setting in a way that encourages others to worship authentically? 

These are a few of the questions that Dr. Martyn poses to begin a conversation regarding the subject of the spiritual life of the leader. As a pastor for more than 20 years, Dr. Martyn asked and answered these questions in the context of loving and serving people personally. As part of his current position of teaching future pastors at Asbury seminary, he and some of his colleagues have conducted extensive surveys of church leaders throughout the North America and the world to get a better understanding of the responsibilities and pressures that church leaders face every day. His goal is to be able to understand biblical principles and use his experience to help leaders develop a model of ministry that helps them develop their personal spiritual life and give them a model to disciple and encourage the people they work with in a way that is healthy and encourages their faith and practice. 

Whether you have an official leadership position or not, you will benefit from listening to this class. It is one of the most comprehensive classes on spiritual formation, discipleship, leadership principles and worship that you will ever hear. If you listen and reflect on each of the lectures from beginning to end, you will be glad you did. 

Dr. Stephen Martyn

Spiritual Life of a Leader


The Eight Deadly Sins (Part 2/4)

Lesson Transcript


[00:00:00] Okay. Welcome back. We're not we're not done with trusted studio with this inordinate sadness yet, but I want to stop and let people ask about this so we can get a little bit more clarification. One of the questions I had was when you were talking about, you know, the smoke and Yeah, and not seeing all the good and focus on the little. Yeah, yeah. And we're supposed to put that off and put on other stuff. The practical quote is lots of times when you're right in the middle of it, you can't just say, just stop it. Yeah, I know. And so the question is, I mean, is there do we allow ourselves a time frame for grieving. Yeah, well, at a practical level, you start. Yeah. Putting off and putting on. Yeah. Awesome question. You know, I think first of all, we do not deny the fact that we get broadsided, we get hit. We cannot deny that. In fact, we'll do a whole lecture on crises and how that impacts us and in how we, we, we move through that. You can also not deny that that when you know, the body's severely injured in some way or the soul is severely injured or your spirits really hurt, that that takes the whole horizon. You know, I've been at a point of physical injury where that how can you do anything else? So we don't want to deny reality. We don't we don't want to deny the fact that that when you're in a time of suffering, you don't want to be Pollyannish quick example about that. I had two really, really bright students, man and wife, and they were toward the end of their education in seminary, and they were working in a large congregation at the time and one of their parents died.


[00:02:16] They went to the funeral that week and only a few days later they came back to be in ministry. That day on Sunday in church, large church, influential church, their boss pastor came up to them and said, Now I'm going to count on you to put on the joy of the Lord. This morning they looked at me and they said, What do you see? And I looked at them with great love, and I said, I think you need to turn in your letter of resignation right now because you're working in a false system. When our brother is crying, when our brother or sister is hurting, it is our job not to tell them to shut up. That all that says is we can't handle you know, we can't handle it. So I don't want to be inhuman. And the question really helps validate this. What what, what what I'm attacking here and what the early church was attacking was when it turns into a way of living, You know, we're all I see is what's wrong. And so we'll do some ways out, you know, through the crises. Even today we're going to do some ways out. But part of the way is you go through the waters of suffering. You go through the valley of the shadow, and sometimes that takes several years. I mean, sometimes it may take. A lot of years. A lot. A lot. A lot of years. So. All right. Other questions on sadness we've got on. First of all, I think this is, to me, been deeply helpful. You had mentioned that sometimes in ministry there's people who maybe just don't like you and you can't figure it out. Something happened and you're not going to figure it out until you get glory.


[00:04:23] Jesus is going to have to figure that out. Yeah. You try to forgive each other, you move on. Yeah. It may be hard to believe, but there are some people who don't like me. Yeah, and. And some of them are still involved in in in ministry. Closely with me. Yeah. And I'm trying to figure out how to deal with that. Is there a time to disassociate? Do you just bear through it? I don't know if that's a fair question. It's a very, very fair question. It's a very, very difficult question. And so you just pray for me as I ask the Lord for help. There are times. In ministry. Where I have to dismiss people. I was never in a pastoral setting where I didn't have to dismiss people and oh my gosh, talk about one of those times. Literally put me in the hospital. Literally put me in the hospital. But. You simply cannot allow a dissident voice to bring the whole bus to a grinding stop. And there were times when I would bring people in and they were spitting nails at me now. Now. So I was talking about staff when I'm a lead pastor, when I'm the lead pastor. There were the times when congregants, people from the congregation would come in spitting nails. And I say, look, you know, I've got I've got a calling on my life and the leaders of this church or stand behind where we're going in this calling. And and you've got a different calling on your life. Maybe, maybe this is the time for you to seek another fold to unfold your calling. And sometimes people would even be honest with me, say, you know, we we respect your calling, but it's not our calling and we're going to leave.


[00:06:44] And at that point, you just blast people and let them go. You don't try and forcefully hold anybody. Now, you got to also raise the issue. What do you do when you've got a staff member and you're not the boss and you're spitting nails at the boss? I mean, that's a very real issue. Going to be a very real issue for people listening to to this video teaching time. What I will tell my students and then those who come come back is, you know, you're going to have to make decisions. Is there basic moral integrity in your boss? Is your boss under spiritual authority? Is your boss you know, is is your boss crossing lines? This should not be cross. If that's the case, then you need to get out. If it's not the case, then the general word of the church historically has been hold your ground. Would Paul say stand, you know, stand this. Let the Lord do his work. One of the counter reformers in the Roman Catholic Church is, Look, man, you've come to the monastery for everyone to be a part of your molding and Christ. And he said, you need to stand. You need to stay still and let the work go. So you see, there's not a lot of easy answers here, and you might need to come back. Go ahead with clarification. What if the person that's so angry with you is is a congregant and you're in leadership? Oh, I've had that. Oh, people. Oh, my gosh. And. Multiple times. I don't think I ever served a church. I was in no pastoral setting where someone didn't come unraveled with what I was doing. And there are even times in a teaching ministry where I'll have a student come completely unraveled with what I'm doing.


[00:09:09] All right, here's the deal. I've got to ask God for Grace in saying, first of all, is there any measure of truth in what this individual is saying, even if they're you know, it's like, you know, I grew up in an agricultural setting. And so, you know, if you ever heard the term mad as a wet hen, you know, chickens would come after you. And I actually have quite a number of stitches on top. I had here as a child, a rooster perched on my head and spurred me. And I still to this day, remember blood coming down I couldn't even see. And they all puff up their feathers. You know, they'll. So even when someone's all puffed up and they're exaggerating, I mean, what they're basically saying, you're the worst thing that's ever happened. You're destroying their life. And normally they'll say, and you are destroying this church. Oh, my gosh. How many times have I been told that you are destroying this church? Is there a grain of truth? Do I need to ask for forgiveness from them in some way? When that is, when that's followed through. And I've been truly humble before God. And if I do need to ask for forgiveness, I need to ask for forgiveness. But then they continue on. Then I've done all I can do. And there have been times when other parishioners actually would have to intervene for me and say, Leave him alone. Leave the pastor alone. You let others. You're going to have to let your elder board or others take care of it. These are real issues in a divided culture and in a divided society of the great, well, the greatest tools of Satan today. There's the book on this. And it will it will come to me.


[00:11:19] It's actually a charismatic book written by a charismatic author. It's talking about the greatest tool of Satan. Today is where someone just gets outraged. You know, they're there. They've been wounded in some way, and they ought to vent in every way that they can vent. Well, how do you stand against that and how do you do so without without being hurt and doing the same thing? So the minute you're hooked and then the minute you start throwing the grenades and the bombs back at them, well, Satan's got a perfect playhouse there. Then, you know, everybody loses their whole pastor. You stand, you stand. And part of what I had to learn is that I will stand even when my integrity is being trashed. Why? Jesus has got my back. I don't have to prove anything. I know I'm a sinner. I know I've made mistakes. But I know I've been God's man. And I know I can stand in that. And. And he's going to sort that out in the end. He's going to take care of all of that. But I can stand to say, the point is, sometimes I feel that to say to you, maybe you were called to worship elsewhere. Oh, absolutely. Yeah. I have said to people, you know, maybe God is calling you to be in leadership in another place. But I'm going to do it the way Jesus would do it. You know, I'm going to be firm. I'm going to call a spade a spade. Just as he will. Just as he did. But I won't put Peter Sword back in its scabbard. You know, I'm not going to take that out. I'm going to. I'm going to stand.