UN/Broken - Day 10

Luke 4:5-7
The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. If you worship me, it will all be yours.”

Jesus’ temptation here was for power and influence. As previously mentioned, false gods are poor substitutes for the sacred we seek. The need for power and influence is a strong motivator and a false god for many of us. When the wise among us have influence, it is a good thing, and any organization is blessed to have leaders with Jesus’ ideal of being as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. However, the desire for power and control is also linked to what is wrong with human nature. According to theologian Ray S. Anderson, trained in the Reformed tradition and influenced by Christian psychotherapy scholars, humanity’s original sin was the craving for omnipotence or power (Anderson, 1995/2010). 

A group of psychologists outlined a version of this observed in scientific research with both humans and animals, which they called the dominance behavioral system (Johnson et al., 2012). They described it as being composed of dominance, motivation and behavior, and power. It is associated with pathological levels of hostility and aggression, substance abuse, mania, and narcissism. The impact of the dominant behavioral system on others is pathological levels of anxiety and depression. As we will see in the next verse, Jesus rejected this temptation and thanked God for that!

In what ways do you want power and influence, and what is your motivation? 

By Dr. Kenny Boyd

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