Talk about prophetic! How can we help but read this and picture our wounded Savior and Friend, Jesus, the Ever-Faithful One, contrasted with the deceitful and weak Judas who betrayed Jesus with a kiss?
Judas didn't leave much of a legacy. In fact, if you had to chose one human being in the Bible who was most unfaithful and least deserving of Heaven, who would you choose? Many of us, without much thought, would choose Judas, right? After all, he claimed to be a follower of Jesus---which implies devotion, respect, love for Him---yet he easily betrayed the Lord for pennies.
Wow---I'm SO glad that I am not like him! I would never do something as dishonoring to the Lord as Judas did. I mean, can you imagine having unlimited access to the King of Glory---God in the form of man---and then throwing it all away just because you were afraid of what others might think about your association with Him?
**cough** **cough** **cough**
Can you comprehend the thought of receiving any amount of compensation for betraying our Lord? Judas's 30 pieces of silver were equal to about four months worth of wages. Would that be worth it to you?
The truth is that we're all Judas.
How often do we betray Christ by distancing ourselves from Him? Like Judas, we become disillusioned by the contrast between what our Christian walk really is and what we think we're entitled to. When Jesus doesn't do things in our lives the way we think He should, we want to take matters into our own hands, like Judas did, and make it happen! Of course, when we take action on our own, it pretty much always backfires---like it did with Judas. When he betrayed Jesus to the authorities, he wasn't trying to get Him crucified. He was trying to force Jesus into displaying His power and real authority---he was trying to start a revolution.
When we step outside of God's plan and direction, we're not usually trying to deliberately disobey Him. We just want to get the job done faster, so we think we'll help Him out a little. This only causes us to fall into a pit of our own making---one that is far from God and far from his plan. We actually become enemies of God.
Often times, we find ourselves accepting the world's compensation for sin (betraying Jesus), when we know there's a better reward to be had for faithfulness. Even though we've experienced Christ, we still gravitate toward what is comfortable or what we feel is safe. Our head knows that God's ways are right, but our foolish hearts too often yearn for things that are less than God's best. Like the "washed sow" who returns to her mud pit, so we often go back into our old ways---even after being cleansed by God's saving grace. We allow the loud voice of the enemy to drown out the calm and quiet voice of God that says, "just wait---I have a plan! Trust me."
If we want to avoid the same pitfalls as those of Judas, Peter, and others who walked with Christ yet denied Him later, we must be changed.
There are many verses that we know so well---so well that we often dismiss them. We can rattle them off verbatim, but we haven't taken the time to get them into our very being.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2
Don't get me wrong: it's essential that we know Scripture by heart. However, we must make sure that these truths are actually in our hearts and are manifested in our actions. How do we avoid the pitfalls of denying Christ and, instead, leave a legacy of faithfulness? We stop conforming to the world. Often times we think that this means we shouldn't act or think like the world. It's more than that, though. In addition, we shouldn't be concerned with how the world perceives us---when we know in our hearts that we are following God. We must let God renew our minds and allow him to focus our thoughts on that which brings him pleasure. Trust me, this is not going to look anything like the world we live in. But, it just might make the world desire to know Whom we've got living in us.
This article was written for The Christian Post, Issue 58.