Whose Heart?


"Six days before the Passover ceremonies began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus - the man He raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus honor. Martha served, and Lazarus sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a twelve ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard and she anointed Jesus' feet with it and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with fragrance. But Judas Isacariot, one of the disciples - the one who would betray Him - said, 'That perfume was worth a small fortune. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.' Not that he cared for the poor-he was a thief who was in charge of the disciples funds, and he often took some for his own use. Jesus replied, 'Leave her alone. She did it in preparation for My burial. You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer.' "......"Mary used what she had to adore Jesus; Judas used Jesus to enrich himself. Mary is led into a life of devotion that is beautiful. Judas is posted as a warning of letting money (or success, prestige, recognition, pleasure, or anything else) get between us and God." Eugene Peterson

Most of us would be aghast as the suggestion that there might be anything in our hearts that even remotely resembled the heart of Judas. But is that really so? Can we dare to sit in His Presence and allow Him to search out the real motives in relationship with and following of Him? How much of our walk with Him is really about adoration, and how much of it serves the purpose of enriching ourselves? We can be pretty fuzzy on that. The truth can be easily blurred. What are our real motives? Judas talked of feeding the poor. The Word says he didn't really care about the poor, only of adding to his own finances. He didn't have mixed motives when it came to Jesus. The problem for you and I is, we so often do. I have never knowingly come across anyone in the Church who has the heart of Judas; total self-interest. I have come across some with the heart of Mary; total devotion.  Most have had hearts like mine.  A mixture. A heart that adores, while at the same time has more than a little self-interest involved. Many would say and teach that this is our lot, but I don't think so. So many like to quote Paul's words of struggle in Romans 7. It seems like they have never read on to Romans 8. We don't have to live with the mixture, with divided hearts. We're not just invited to enter into the fullness of His Life and Spirit, we're commanded to.  Have we? Have you? Alicia Britt Chloe asks the question, "Is Judas in the house?" Where, in the house of our hearts, might he be lurking? Where in our jobs, ministries, relationships, and especially our relationship with Him, can he be found? Where are the motives of our lives being filtered through the mind and heartset of Judas? It's a piercing question.
How do we answer it?

Today, in whatever our place in Him, whose heart is most on display? There may be much good that we wish to accomplish, but along with that lies a deep desire to "enrich ourselves" as well. This may be especially so in ministry. We want to see people come to Him, we want to see fellowships grow. We want to see healings, peoples lives made whole. We want to see Jesus lifted up. At the same time, there lurks within us a desire to see "us" lifted up as well. Recognition, position, advancement. Mixed with our adoration is a great dose of desire for our own enrichment. We want to worship Him, and at the same time use Him to advance our agenda. How true is this of us today? How true is it of you, and of me?

Let us seek the heart of Mary, of true worship and devotion. Let us surrender that hidden desire to enrich ourselves, and die to it. It's a desire that will never stay hidden for long. Let us come to Him with lives and service that are a true fragrance of Christ wherever we are. It only happens and pours out from a heart of true worship and humility. The heart of Mary. It never comes from the heart of Judas. Whose heart is really in us today? What amount of mixture is there? Let the "nard" that flows out of us be pure. Is Judas in the house? Isn't it past time to evict him?

Pastor O
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   May 2019   
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