Leading with temptations
In preparing for a message on the temptations Jesus faced in the wilderness (Matthew 4), I came across Phil Yancey’s observation in The Jesus I Never Knew. Yancey notes that Jesus was alone during his stay in the wilderness. There were no eyewitnesses.
So how did Matthew (and Luke) gain access to the recorded conversation between Jesus and Satan?
Apparently Jesus disclosed the experience to his disciples.
This is a remarkable display of transparency on Jesus’ part. Here is the God-man, Lord of the universe, talking about his most intimate, vulnerable struggles with his followers.
Who among us are comfortable to talk about our temptation with others even in the most general terms. When was the last time you heard anything remotely similar at a church service?
“Please pray for me. I am really being tempted with strong physical appetites, to show off my special rank in God’s kingdom, and the lust for power and control over the whole world.”
I for one can’t remember such a confession. I’m sure I’ve never heard a pastor or church leader make such disclosures.
For Jesus to admit he was tempted in these areas demonstrates extraordinary courage and unconventional leadership. He apparently was comfortable enough in his own skin and in his relationship with his Father to humbly and honestly and freely talk of his unique battles for his soul.
This opens up all kinds of possible conversations.
Specifically, what are the lessons and considerations concerning leadership?
- What do we do as leaders and pastors with our temptations?
- How open should we be in discussing them?
- With whom?
- What are the potential consequences and outcomes of such transparency?
- What are the consequences and outcomes of never discussing our temptations?