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Elijah’s List posted this recently.
WOW! Heart check!!!
Seriously though, take a minute and ponder that.
When I pondered…I thought of the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. When Screwtape tells Wormwood to focus the patient’s attention on petty things while he was at church. So the patient wouldn’t focus on the Word and how it applies to himself.
Judas did focus on the petty. The negative. And he remained a sceptic despite seeing miracles right before his eyes. He didn’t read about the miracle of the fish and bread feeding 5,000. He actually ate the bread and fish! He didn’t read about blind eyes being opened, he watched it happen.
Truthfully I feel bad for Judas. He didn’t enjoy His life. He clearly didn’t like himself. Seriously. Judas was with Jesus Himself for 3 years, and never actually absorbed anything about who Jesus was. Jesus was, is, and will always be love personified.
Who spends 3 solid years with Jesus, and comes out worse than where he started?
Truthfully…a lot of people.
What? Why? Who? Sacrilege!!
I know. Because I was one.
I confessed Jesus as my Savior at 16. And promptly tried to be perfect (as in without flaw) and do all the right things. I focused on behavior and looking the part.
Nothing reached my heart.
I couldn’t be perfect. And it frustrated me. My life didn’t change. No miracles happened in my life. And I was disappointed.
I ended up flipping around and going absolutely in the opposite direction. I became more critical. More judgmental. I loved less.
And it took a good 7 years before I gave it another shot. At 16, I shoved the Word at people…but at 25 I started applying the Word inward. I began to deal with my heart issues. My broken places began to heal. It was a process that still continues. It’s a day to day walk.
I can tell you that it’s much easier to point fingers and throw rules at people than it is to love them. It’s easier to criticize, scoff & judge.
But…if you take that pointing the finger and judging everyone path. You won’t heal. You won’t grow.
I think that’s what happened to Judas. I think he allowed his natural skeptic to dismiss miracles. He chose not to receive the love and teaching from Jesus. He chose not to heal and grow.
We have a choice too. Perspective and attitude are everything. Being open isn’t alway easy. Neither is change. Not for me. Not for you. Not for the disciples either.
Let’s be real…the 12 disciples are like us. They screwed up. They didn’t always understand. They acted without thinking. They lost their tempers.
But the difference between Judas and the other 11 is that the 11 grew and changed. They applied what Jesus taught them and walked it out.
Were the perfect? Um…definitely not. And neither are we. Neither are your leaders. We are all human. Doing our best. We are all given a choice.
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT
Judas got to choose too. Unfortunately we all know how that worked out. (Spoiler alert…it can’t get much uglier).
Judas was bitter. I don’t want to be bitter, but some days I see myself heading in that direction.
Judas was a cynic. I don’t want to be an eye rolling cynic, but sometimes I am.
Judus had a greedy, selfish & negative outlook. Sometimes I do too.
I don’t want to be a complainer or a gossiper either. But some days I am.
So this is a heart check for me. To go back to Jesus on the rough days. The days I’m more Judas-like than Jesus-like and ask Him to show me what is going on in my heart and head so I can deal with the root of it and have a better attitude and perspective.
Especially with all the chaos in my life right now…I need more Jesus time. More worship. More Word. And less judgmental attitude. Less pessimism.
Point to ponder while you wander…..
I’m having a rough time with one particular condescending co-worker. After a meeting with him I need to walk for a minute and readjust my attitude. Then I read this… sigh. How do I work that magic of my best self coming out in the face of being condescended to?
Proof I need Jesus more every day.
Matthew 5:43-47 The Message Version
“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If all you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.”
Love is always the right answer. I know that. Be kind. Don’t puff myself up. Be patient. Remembering that in the moment and choosing to act on it…that’s maturity in Christ.
Right now my emotional stability is continually fluctuating. And my intellectual pride really detests being talked down to like I am an idiot. I am not am idiot. I may not understand something. I may not know something. But I am always willing to learn.
But these are just excuses and rationalizations.
I should not behave like a toddler.
The Fruit of the Spirit should be kicking in…Self-control and Love.
But I need to choose to respond in love. Just like I need to choose joy in the face of trials like condescending co-workers. Just like I need to choose to maintain peace in the face of stress.
Jesus is always there to call on. Holy Spirit is always there with His Fruit of the Spirit. Abba is always there loving me (and you) and believing in me (and you).
So I need this reminder every Monday: Choose love today, Jill.
Point to ponder while you wander…is verse 48: “In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”