Thru Lent our pastor has been doing a sermon series called "Journey to Hope". (I love sermon series!!!!) As part of the sermon each week she took an object out of a backpack, encouraging us to leave things that hinder our journey to the cross. This week the 'object' was 30 pieces of silver, symbolizing not only the betrayal by Judas, but the betrayal by all of us. How do we betray JESUS? My first thought was "no way! I would never ever betray HIM". But do I? The dictionary defines betrayal as " to disappoint the hopes or expectations of; be disloyal to." Maybe that is not the same kind of betrayal that JESUS experienced from Judas, but it is betrayal nonetheless. JESUS hopes that I will trust in HIM in all things, HE expects that when I have accepted HIM as my Savior, I will walk the way HE leads, and stand up for HIM in all I do. HE hopes that when people look at me and observe my actions, they will see a reflection of HIM. HE expects that as heir with HIM to the kingdom of Heaven, I will make choices in my everyday life that will bring glory to Our Father in Heaven. I have often disappointed these hopes and expectations. I have betrayed HIM with my fear and distrust "So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand".Isaiah 41:9-11. I have betrayed HIM with my belief that my weaknesses make me ineligable to serve HIM "And HE said unto me, 'MY grace is sufficient for thee, for MY strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 I have betrayed HIM with my lack of conviction that HIS view of who I am is the only one that matters. "The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b.
Thankfully GOD never runs out of patience for us, as long as we are continually striving to draw closer to HIM. "22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" Lamentations 3:22-23
Last night I took my kids to their club meeting at the local church. While the kids had their meeting I sat in on a discussion about the sermon their congregation had heard the day before. The discussion turned to what it would be like when we arrived in Heaven. We talked about our desire to stand in HIS presence, to glory in just being near to HIM. We talked about the physical effects of living in a state of no sin, no imperfections, with brand new bodies. But one thing that still has me thinking is a comment someone made about regrets. When we get there, and look back on the things we didn't do, the opportunities we missed to serve HIM, the person who made the comment said that he would be ashamed. But will we be? Obviously, JESUS wants us to give all of ourselves. But HE knows us, HE knows our limitations, HE knows that we aren't perfect. And HE says HE casts our sins 'as far as the east is from the west', so won't that cover those things we didn't, or thought we couldn't, do for HIM. Our walk with HIM is a Journey, of hope, of learning to trust, of learning to discern. I don't think HE would set us up to fail, and I can't imagine that if we are trying, and learning, and changing, that HE would hold our failures against us. Maybe I'm wrong, but I just can't imagine that HE would want us to feel shame, unless we aren't even making an effort. I think as long as we are trying to live for HIM, we can rest assured that that moment when we see HIM face to face will be one of unimaginable joy and peace and comfort.
LORD, please forgive me for my betrayal of You. Please convict my heart to follow You in everything I do. Please take my backpack away and help me to travel this journey to YOU and with YOU without all those things that weigh me down and hold me back. Thank You for Your unending compassion and mercy. I Love You!!! Amen