Studying Judas made me realize two things really clearly.
One, Judas’ sin cost Christ His life. But so did mine. Judas is the most hated man in Christianity because he succumbed to the sins that we are all capable of. He may have had a direct hand in shedding Christ blood, but even if he hadn’t, the blood of The Lamb still would have been shed—even just to cover my sin. It’s a lot, I know.
Second, Christ loved Judas no more or less than He loves me or you. Christ extends the same gentle mercy to me, as He extended to the man who betrayed Him for a fistful of coins.
Embarrassingly, this week has required nowhere near the self-control and obedience Christ showed his enemy. And yet, I struggled with it as though it did. I was just dealing with the normal “Should I? Shouldn’t I’s?” There’s no Judas in my story, I have just been wrestling myself for three days. Weird mental image, I know.
This week, I have really been struggling to rest in the promises of God. I have been faithfully praying over a few areas and each time He faithfully answers. I get so excited that I’ve heard from the Lord, and it lifts my spirits and gives me such rest. For 15 minutes.
And then, I find myself wringing my hands all over again, all worked up over what I should or shouldn’t do. When I know good and well, I SHOULDN’T BE DOING ANYTHING. I should be waiting and watching for Him to do the doing. Make sense?
Ever been in a situation where doing what seemed like the “right” thing was directly disobedient to what God had called you to do? Even though it makes sense, and it oozes character, it’s not what the Lord wants from me right now. Man, I have tossed and turned over this one. I knew at 10 PM I was never going to sleep. I tried to just lay there still, hoping the Holy Spirit would just save me the time and speak audibly. But, alas nay. I got up about 4 AM, as lunatics often do, and crept into the kitchen to dig it out for myself.
And, big reveal—here was one of my quiet times.
“Come to me with your plans held in abeyance. Worship me in spirit and in truth, allowing My Glory to permeate your entire being. Trust me enough to let me guide you through this day, accomplishing My purposes in My timing. Subordinate your myriad plans to My Master Plan. I AM sovereign over every aspect of your life!
The challenge continually before you is to trust Me and search for My way through each day. Do not blindly follow your habitual route, or you will miss what I have prepared for you. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts your thoughts.”
Subordinate your own plans for His. Judas Priest couldn’t do it. Not even while living with The Great High Priest. No authenticity, no accountability. Rejected Christ’s true identity, rejected Christ’s true and authority. Respond to all the Lord has done from places of bitterness and resentment. Those things have made killers of us all.
Isaiah 55:8-9 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As far as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways. And my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
Yes, Lord. I get it. Even I understand that.
Another, favorite devotional led me to this passage today.
Deuteronomy 4:2-4 “Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the Lord your God, that I give you. You saw with your own eyes what the Lord did at Baal of Peor. The Lord your God destroyed from among you everyone who followed Baal of Peor, but all of you who held fast to the Lord your God are still alive today.”
Before I explain the text, I read this immediately after Isaiah. Its subheading is “Obedience Commanded.” Thank You Lord, for not giving me a single minute to question Your ways, before commanding my obedience. He is making it as remedial as possible for me, friends.
Just prior to this God had told Moses that he will be forbidden to cross the Jordan into the promised land. Moses’ offense was disobedience. During the wandering in the desert, the Israelites daily struggled with adhering to God’s law and not being influenced by the pagan religions surrounding them. Baal Peor is a reference to Numbers where the Israelites have disobeyed Moses and God’s law and began worshipping an idol. 24,000 were killed because of it and only those who remained faithfully to the law were spared.
To wrap this up neatly…You have Judas, whose idolatry was his own selfish ambition and desire. It kept him from Christ and heaven.
And you have Christ’s model of immeasurable obedience and self-control by continuing to love Judas through even betrayal.
As I battled my inability to trust God’s leading, my own inability to obey and use self-control; what I was battling was my own selfish desires—the Judas Priest within. Even though, the actions I would prefer may be\seem “right,” they would have disobeyed what I knew God was calling me to do. Wait, trust, obey. His ways are higher than my ways, even when I don’t understand what He is working out or how He is doing it.
But He reminds me again to obey. Not just reminds but commands my obedience as He did from the Israelites. His reward for those who did, they were spared and able to grow deeper in God. “All of you who held fast to the Lord your God are alive today.”
So here is your verse for today, for those want to trade their rebel heart for a righteous one:
See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.
There is no pretending with Jesus. There is no almost obedience that is overlooked or unreconciled.