Over the last few days, we have considered 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).
Some things lower our spiritual defenses and invite satanic activity into our lives. For example, being involved in the occult opens the door to the enemy, but Satan's primary way to access a person's life is through habitual sin. The enemy seeks a toehold in the door of our lives and, after that, a foothold, and if we give in to his prompting, he gains 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, Emphasis added).
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 eventually, he was prompted to betray Christ. A person becomes a slave to the one whose voice he obeys. Here's what Paul the apostle said about giving yourself up to sinful habits:
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 added).
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 a sin. It becomes a sin when we harbor those thoughts and act upon them. One wise person has said 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. Satan wore down Judas' natural barriers through the enemy's nesting in his mind and heart. Let this warn 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.