Over the last few days, we have been thinking through what might have influenced Judas to betray Christ. Satan gained a level of control in Judas’ life through Judas’ stealing from the moneybag (John 12:6).
There are things that lower our spiritual defenses and invite satanic activity in our lives. For example, being involved in the occult opens the door to the enemy, but the primary way Satan gets access to a person's life is through habitual sin. The enemy seeks to get a toehold into the door of our lives, and then a foothold, and after a foothold, a stronghold. The more territory we release to him through habitual sin, the more he will take. Give him an inch, and he will take a mile. The temptation occurs first in the mind, and the more we yield to the thought, the more ground in our actions the enemy takes. The more we yield our will to sinful thoughts, the more a compulsion becomes set in our character. God spoke to Cain after he had murdered his brother Abel and said:
If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it (Genesis 4:7).
Satan did not use external force to move Judas’ feet to go to the religious leaders. Judas willingly went along with the inner motivations that Satan sowed into the ground of his heart. The thoughts came first to steal from the moneybag but progressed into betraying Christ. A person becomes a slave to the one whose voice he obeys:
Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16).
As Satan repeatedly whispered and appealed to different motives in Judas, he became a willing tool of the enemy, ready to do his will. Jesus warned the disciples that the enemy had infiltrated one of them:
70Then Jesus replied, "Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!" 71(He meant Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, who, though one of the Twelve, was later to betray him.) (John 6:70-71 Emphasis mine).
The mind is the seedbed of our character and actions, and Judas allowed the enemy to visit him there and sow seeds of destruction into his heart. To have evil thoughts come at us is not in itself sin. It becomes a sin when we harbor those thoughts and act upon them. It has been said by one wise person that we cannot stop a bird from flying around our heads, but we can prevent it from building a nest there! Francis Schaeffer once said, "The spiritual battle, the loss of victory, is always in the thought-world." A man is not what he thinks he is, but what he thinks, he is. Judas’ natural barriers were worn down through the enemy’s nesting in his mind and heart. Let this be a warning to all of us to keep our thought life pure. Keith Thomas
Taken from the series on the Gospel of Luke. Click on study 58. The Betrayal of Jesus.