UN/Broken - Day 13

Luke 4:12-13
Jesus answered, “It is said: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.

When Jesus responded with his statement and refused to jump off the temple, one interpretation is that he rejected the idea of willingly putting himself in danger where he would need a divine miracle to save him. 

Pargament and his colleagues have studied religious coping methods for over three decades. Some religious coping strategies are seen as a means to gain control over stressful events or situations. The following are from Pargament et al., 2000, with the associated results of the strategy.

  • Passive Religious Deferral: passively waiting for God to control the situation
    • Positive religious outcome
    • Lower distress at the time of the event

  • Pleading for Direct Intercession: seeking control indirectly by pleading with God for a miracle or divine intercession
    • Positive growth
    • Positive religious outcome
    • Worse physical health
    • Higher distress at the time of the event
    • Higher current distress

  • Active Religious Surrender: an active giving up of control to God after doing what one can
    • Positive growth 
    • Strongly positive religious outcome

  • Collaborative Religious Coping: seeking control through a partnership with God in problem-solving
    • Positive growth 
    • Strongly positive religious outcome
    • Better physical health

It would seem that Jesus did not use passive religious deferral here, as he argued with Satan. He did not jump and plead for direct intercession. Jesus’ response seems to fit best with collaborative religious coping and active religious surrender because he quoted God’s word and was content in surrendering to God’s plan for him to live out a human life filled with distress and ending in death. This likely would not have happened if he had jumped and appeared to the crowd to float gently to the ground.

While some positive aspects of passive religious deferral and pleading for direct intercession, active religious surrender and collaborative religious coping generally lead to better outcomes.  Which styles do you tend to use?

By Dr. Kenny Boyd

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