Friday, October 18, 2013

The Judas Cloak

"Judas bore the cloak of religion, but never knew the heart of Christ."  Max Lucado

After completing my Bible reading this morning, the commentary on the passage included the above quote.  Whenever I read about Judas' betrayal it moves me to tears.

Too often I think we read of the "heroes" and "villains" in God's Word and regard them more as action figures about to take the stage in the next big theater release.  We picture them as felt characters on Sunday School boards or little singing vegetables teaching a lesson with a happy ending.  No, Judas was real...and he could have so easily been me.

I think what I find so sad concerning Judas is that He so often walked in Christ's presence.  He was right there.  He ate with Him, saw the miracles, heard the plan of salvation presented countless times, yet he missed it.  Oh I think he obviously had some "form of godliness".  He must have been outwardly doing many of the "right" things as even the night of his betrayal the other disciples weren't pointing a finger at Judas saying, "It must be him".  No, they were questioning who it could possibly be.  Had he so deceived others and himself into thinking he truly was a disciple of Jesus Christ?  Jesus wasn't deceived, and He won't be fooled by the cloak of religion we wear either.

I think of a gal who recently shared with me how delighted she is that her husband accompanies her to church most Sunday's, but as yet he has not made a personal decision to receive the Lord as his own personal Savior. He's there hearing the Word presented clearly, but not responding.  He's not pretending to be a follower. He's seeking.

My thoughts turn to those who actually take the name "Christian" whether because they attend church most Sundays, read their Bible, consider themselves to be fairly "good", maybe even attend a Bible Study, tithe, and are generous in reaching out to the needs of others, yet their hearts are really no closer to the Lord than the one sleeping in Sunday morning completely unaware of a need.  They might have even repeated a prayer some time ago.  A ticket to heaven.  Fire insurance.  It's not enough friends.  A prayer for salvation is the beginning, not the end.

I know only the Lord can reveal Himself and remove the blinders, but let's examine our own lives.

First, have you had a personal encounter with the Lord? Was there a point in time when a decision was made to follow the Lord...not just in word, but in an act of repentance and surrender?  Did you acknowledge that you are a sinner?  Did you confess your sins?  Did you ask for forgiveness? Did you repent and turn away from past sinful behavior or are you still living doing basically the same things?  What has changed, or what is changing? Did you receive the Lord's forgiveness through the sacrifice Christ made on the cross? Are you walking in obedience to God's Word?  Do you pick and choose Scripture that validates your desires or do you let the Lord run a fine-tooth comb through your life removing any of the tangled mess that still remains?  Are you clinging to old habits, thoughts, language, feelings? How do you spend your time?  Is God a priority?  Are you daily in His Word and in prayer? Is your longing for Him growing?  Have you been filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you baptized?  Do you more than just believe there is a God, but know Him intimately as your personal Heavenly Father?  Do you speak to Him?  Does He speak to you? Is your walk more than words?

Oh I have so many more questions. I'm so concerned for those I see who are living deceived. How do I know?  Not standing in a place of judgement, but God's Word says our fruit will give evidence that we are children of God.  And, it's not just some fruit, but ever increasing fruit.  A tree that bears more and more every year because the roots are going deeper into the rich soil of God's Word.  Too many hearts have been betrayed by the evil one. Their minds are receiving lies, their thoughts accusing or excusing them. God does not accuse or condemn, but convict.  God does not excuse, but will pardon.  It's His desire that none perish, but we need to come to Him and surrender all.

________ bore the cloak of religion, but never knew the heart of Christ.

Precious you know His heart?  Please...please...know His heart.

I'd love to hear from you today. Please leave a comment and if you need prayer, I'd love to pray with you and for you.

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Cheri Bunch said...

Dear Joy,
Who can come away from this post without examining their heart? I cannot! The verse on my heart this week has been: "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8. I've been praying that the Lord would make that verse true for me.
Thank you for your boldness. I appreciate it so much! Praying for all of us who read this message! May it have an eternal impact on every single soul that does!
Love you!

Marilyn in Mississippi said...

It's so true that "A prayer for salvation is the beginning, not the end." I've been so concerned this week for several people we've come in contact with that are just so complacent in their lost state and really don't see any reason to seek the Lord. Just makes me so sad to see so many in our would like this.