“Power,” former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is said to have believed, “is the ultimate aphrodisiac.” Is it any surprise, then, that the lust for power and control is at the heart of one of the three temptations of Christ? Luke 4:5-7 reads, “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.’”
We live in a time when we’re paying a heavy price for this lust for political power and manipulation of each other. It is tearing apart our society, our families, and even our churches. Make no mistake: that desire for control is a tool of Satan used to divide us. The aphrodisiac of worldly power is poison to the church.
Jesus’ response to Satan is simple: “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only’” (Luke 4:8).
Being a Christian is about following Jesus’ example of serving one another, not trying to rule over each other. Our instructions are fundamentally the opposite of Satan’s seductive offer. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43-45).
Jesus’ way is the opposite of our natural inclination to be self-serving. It is a seemingly instinctive desire to want to control the world and people around us. Yet by operating in this way we find ourselves in complete opposition to the way of Jesus.
The way of Jesus is the way of servanthood. In John 13:12-15, after washing his disciples’ feet, Jesus says, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
Washing people’s feet was a slave’s duty. But this is the way of Jesus. How radically different and loving our fellowship would be if we could simply be Christ’s servants to one another! It would be exactly as Jesus instructed us: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).
Let us live the way of Jesus. It is, after all, his command to us.