How can we be saved from the seduction of power?
How can we encourage servant leadership styles within your organization, business or congregation?
I recently pulled a book out of my library entitled Leading Edge by Robert Dale. While scanning through the book I came across a section in chapter 2 entitled the “Seduction of Power.”
Power is a powerful temptation. How can it be conquered?
The Seduction of Power to Override Servanthood
Dale points out one of the temptations of Jesus as a lesson in dealing with leadership power over servant-leadership. In the Gospel account of Matthew, Christ was urged to bow down to Satan and become ruler of all the kingdoms of the world.
“Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”
Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” (Matthew 4:1-11)
This temptation of Jesus set the stage for Jesus’ ministry on earth. What Jesus said in just a few words is the foundation for servant leadership.
Jesus had the ability to do anything he wished to do. However, when he was tempted in the wilderness he made it clear to the Tempter that his intention was to “worship the Lord…and serve him only.”
Christ refused to let power override his role as a servant leader.
Seduction of Power That Compromises With Evil
Leaders are tempted on a regular basis to compromise to evil forces in order to reach their goals, power, or status. Chuck Lawless wrote,
Think about the bait that the Enemy offered Eve in the Garden. “You will be like God, knowing good and evil,” he said (Genesis 3:5) There apparently was (and is) something powerful about the promise of gaining knowledge, especially knowledge that someone else has but you do not. Knowledge gives us a sense of power and control. It is no wonder, then, that the writer of Proverbs describes the words of a gossip as “choice morsels” that stimulate a desire for more (Proverbs 18:8, NIV) (Dr. Chuck Lawless, Disciple Warriors, Kregel Publications)
Every person will have to make a choice about their place in life. Power can corrupt our ability to spiritually connect with God’s plan.
The challenge to avoid being self-centered is one that has been around since the Garden of Eden.