Do you desire control apart from God? Worldly power is the desire for more control than we were designed by God to have. The apostle John called it the lust of the eyes, the second of three habits of highly destructive people: “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:15-17 NASB).
There might not have been another human being who lusted for power more than King Herod the Great, Tetrarch of Judea, who ruled 2,000 years ago when God came to earth in the form of Jesus Christ. Known for his great building programs, Herod built his first of a series of palace fortresses three miles southeast of Bethlehem. They were designed to give him safe asylum in case he were forced to flee the country to his homeland of Idumea. His largest fortress was the Herodian, 45 acres of building on 200 acres of land, making it the third largest architectural find in the ancient world. The palace featured four towers, with the highest stretching 120′ into the air, sprawling 55′ in diameter.
Yet, when Jesus Christ came to earth, He did not choose this physically impressive location. Instead, within eyesight of this ancient wonder, God came to earth in a feeding trough. Why? The answer is in the eyes. Herod gazed to satisfy himself. He saw power in the love of the world’s fortresses and locked doors, keeping others out. However, Jesus sought others to find the love of the Father in them. He saw power in love, permitting all who were willing to enter. Jesus taught that the eyes comprise the lens of the human heart (see Matthew 6:22).
The eyes have power. Where are your eyes focused?
In this contrast of portraits, which had to fill the apostle John’s mind, we see two kinds of power: one of the world, one of the Father; one dark, one light; one temporary, one eternal; one that dies, and one that lives. John revealed: “But the one who hates his brother is in the darkness and walls in the darkness, and does not know where he is going because the darkness has blinded his eyes” (1 John 2:11 NASB). Consequently, each of us must ask, “Am I locked in the darkness of the world’s power, misusing and abusing control, or am I living in the light of the Father’s power?”