I am listening to a Matt Chandler series on Luke right now, because a) our house church is going through Luke and b) I listen to Matt Chandler anyway.  This past Sunday I listened to the one that covered the temptation of Jesus (Luke 4:1-13).  The whole thing was good, as always, but the second part stuck out to me.  When he talked about the second temptation, he categorized it as a temptation to power and control.  And then he talked about how we often try to manipulate and control others to change their behavior but we can’t manipulate the condition of the soul.  So even if you achieve the desired behavioral results you basically squish the person’s soul and damage the relationship, and REALLY what we want is for their heart to change but we can’t do that because that’s God-stuff.  (And then he made this connection with how that’s like the Law and the Gospel – behavior versus heart.)

I have never thought of it quite like that before.  If you had asked me at any point in my life whether I could change someone’s heart, I wouldn’t have even had to think to answer “No.”  Because I know that.  But when I am irritated or angry with someone it is because THEY AREN’T DOING WHAT I WANT THEM TO.  And then I use sarcasm or my irritation to get them to do what I want, and that is just caving in to this temptation for control because I’m trying to get them to conform to whatever behavior I want – when really I should just be praying for a heart change for them.

And me too, because obviously my motivation in the whole process is selfishness.  But even if I am legitimately right I usually still have a bad attitude about it.

Whew.  Preach it, Chandler.