Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Control (01/30/06)
TITLE: The Gentle Side of Control
By Amory Calcott
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Taking control of a situation doesn't necessarily require behaving like a bullying, manipulative thug. In fact, people who display such behavior are far from being in control of themselves. There is a right way and a wrong way to exercise control over any given situation.
Let's look to Jesus for an example of how to stay in control of ourselves. After all, He healed the sick, calmed the waves and raised the dead. Now, with all of His power and abilities, did Jesus go around bullying people, screaming at children, getting involved in nasty business deals and generally engaging in the vicious, brutal behavior that passes for good management, good sportsmanship, and even good parenting these days? Not at all. Did He yell at people, use foul language, and constantly threaten lawsuits? No.
On the other hand, did Jesus have problems here on Earth? He certainly did. Jesus Christ had problems that mere men cannot even begin to comprehend. But what is the one thing that Jesus had, even when faced with personal temptation from Satan?
Jesus Christ had control.
He was in control of Himself, His desires, and His destiny.
Satan tried tempting Jesus with a level of power that, although very real, was also quite superficial. Christ immediately realized the nature of Satan's offers, and refused. What can we learn from this?
Jesus could've taken Satan up on his various propositions, but then He would have been settling for second best. Jesus taught us that the promises of the world are simply vain and cheapened imitations of the genuine promises of God. Sometimes, it takes a certain amount of control to pass up the shallowness of life, and redirect our attention toward the things that really matter.
Control, then, is not a matter of aggression, or ruthlessly forcing people to submit. Instead, it involves a quiet mastery of one's own thoughts and impulses. Unless a person can exercise control over his or her own ego, spiritual growth will be slow to develop. Note that Christ never forced anyone to follow Him, act like Him, or think like Him.
Thankfully, the best model of self-control has already lived among us and shown us the way. So let's look to Jesus Christ for examples of how to react to life's trials with dignity, compassion--and control.
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