Tempted to control others? Pray for them — Let God tell them what to do!

The third time Satan tempted Jesus in the desert he tempted Jesus with the need to control others, as I read it, and thus control the outcome of their lives:

Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” Matthew 4:8-9 (New International Version)

It’s as if the deceiver was saying, “Jesus, how will these poor people ever know who you are if you don’t help them control their destiny?  The best way to do that is control the desires and outcomes you have for them.  They are just sheep, Jesus, wandering aimlessly, looking for someone to control them.  Come Jesus, this is not rocket science.  This is about controlling your destiny and by extension the destiny of those who follow you.  If you are the Savior, you have to get your priorities straight, my man.  And learning to control people is job #1.”

Jesus simply answered Satan by quoting Scripture, saying that God alone is worthy of worship. God alone is the source of Jesus’ true identity:

“You must worship the Lord your God and serve Him alone.”

When we are tempted to control others it’s always wise to follow Jesus’ model of answering Satan with Scripture.  For me at least, when I am tempted to tell others what to do, to tell them how to live their lives, I sometimes go to Philippians 4:8, for example, praying:

“Lord, you know _______.  You created him.  He’s your man.  His life is in your hands.  I don’t give him his every breath.  You do, Lord.  So today, would you help him follow you, making the best decisions he can.  Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—help him think about such things, living his own life before you.”

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