Have you ever wondered what happens in a person’s heart to cause them to betray someone? What leads a husband or wife to have an affair? What causes a son or daughter to go against all they have been taught and wreak heartache and pain on parents they once professed to love?
Recently, in my Bible reading I came across this passage: Then Satan entered into Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples, and he went to the leading priests and captain of the Temple guard to discuss the best way to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted and they promised to give him money. So he agreed and began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus so they could arrest him when the crowds weren’t around. Luke 22:3-6 (NLT)
I couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to Judas’ heart to cause him to take the initiative to betray Jesus. They didn’t come to him, he went to them.
Judas had traveled with the Savior for three years. He had witnessed the blind seeing, the lame walking and the leper made whole. He had been in the boat and watched as Jesus commanded the sea to be still. He had listened to Jesus’ teachings and observed His love for people. What was it that sent him on his evil mission? We could easily answer that it was Satan but why was his heart open to the invasion of Satan?
Could it have been that Judas had become disillusioned with Jesus and His journey? Was Jesus not meeting up to the expectations that Judas had of him? Was he beginning to wonder if he had wasted three long years of his life following Jesus around the countryside?
Many have speculated at what led Judas to betray his Friend. One idea is that Judas wanted Jesus to defeat the Romans and set up his kingdom then and there. That idea is a logical guess since we see in the gospels that many of the people who followed Jesus had this misconception.
Whatever it was, I believe that Judas’ betrayal was from a disillusioned heart. God was not meeting his expectations. He wasn’t following Judas’ plan. Judas’ disillusioned heart was the tiny crack in the door that Satan needed to overtake Judas and carry out his plan.
Disillusionment is often the catalyst for betrayal.
Disillusionment causes many a heart to turn away from God. . . when God doesn’t meet our expectations, when things don’t go the way we think they should, when life takes a turn that leaves us wallowing in despair.
It’s easy to follow God when things are going our way, when life is for the most part fairly smooth. But it’s in those times that we must guard our hearts even more. If we don't lay a good foundation when times are easy, than there will be no foundation when times get tough.
Cracking open our Bible every few days or going to church weekly isn’t a guarantee that we will not fall into the pit of disillusionment – look at Judas! He was with Jesus twenty-four seven, for three years! If it can happen to him, it can happen to anyone.
How do we guard our heart from unrealistic expectations?
It's KNOWING Him – spending time with Him in His Word and in prayer, asking God to reveal Himself to us for who He is not for what we want Him to be.
It’s grabbing hold of verses like Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT) and refusing to let go. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
It’s refusing to create God in our image. It’s letting God out of the box.
That’s how we refuse to follow the path of disillusionment. Judas didn’t set out to betray Jesus but that’s where he ended up. It’s like the frog in the pot; the water gets warmer and warmer and he never realizes it until it’s too late. Allowing disillusionment to grow and grow in our hearts will lead us to the path of betrayal and we won’t realize where we are until its too late.
I challenge you to refuse to allow your feet to go the way of Judas and instead follow the Unconventional Way of the Savior who gave His life for you . . .
So that you might live . . . really live!