It was Billy Graham who said, “You cannot prevent a bird from flying over your head; but you can surely prevent it from building a nest on your head.”
In John 13:2 we read about Satan putting a thought into the heart of Judas Iscariot; the thought to betray Jesus. Then we find Judas in v.27, which says that Satan entered him. In v.2 Satan could only put a thought into Judas’ heart, but in v.27 we find Satan entering him, taking full control over him. How did this change happen? The answer is obtained from a careful reading of Matthew 26:14-16 and Mark 14:10-11. From these verses, it is clear that Judas took that thought, which Satan put in to his heart, seriously. He continued to entertain the thought and started acting on it. “He went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. When they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. They counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So, from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”
That is what Satan, the enemy of our souls keeps doing. He keeps sowing sinful thoughts into the hearts of unsuspecting believers. He is not sure which seed in which heart will bear fruit. The thought is mostly in the area of one’s weakness. Judas’ weak point was his ‘love of money’. The question he asked the chief priests reveals this. He asked: “What are you willing to give me, if I deliver him to you?”, and they counted out to him 30 pieces of silver (Matt.26:15).
What you do with such passing thoughts, can decide your destiny. Judas entertained that thought. He focussed all his attention to it. There were at least a few days before he finally executed the plan. Even in the upper room, when he received the piece of bread from Jesus’ hand, he must have been thinking hard about the right opportunity to betray his master (John.13:26). Soon after he received the bread, Satan entered him. The struggle in Judas’ heart ceased. Then onwards, all that is left for him is to obey Satan. Satan has taken full control of his life. Having begun as a disciple of Jesus, he ended up as the most cursed of all people, with the unique distinction of having betrayed the Son of God, his master, the Saviour of the world.
What he did with the thought Satan put in to his heart, did it all. Till John 13:27, when Satan entered him, he could have changed the whole course of his life. When you entertain an evil thought for a long enough time, Satan enters you and you are no longer in control of your actions. You become an obedient servant of the devil. Later on, when Judas realised the seriousness of what he did and became remorseful and brought back the money to the chief priests, he could not repent and ask for mercy. Satan looked very friendly in the beginning. To Judas, he was the one person whose idea could make his life a success. But in the end, the enemy succeeded in destroying not only his body, but his soul also. That is why Paul has exhorted us to take control of our thoughts “——bringing every thought in to captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2Cor.10:5).
Even David’s sin with Bathsheba didn’t happen in a moment. As soon as he set his eyes on the bathing woman, sinful thoughts entered his heart. He had a choice at that point in time. He could have gone back in to the palace, instead of looking at the woman again and again and seeing that she was very beautiful. In his next step on the road to sin, he enquires about the woman, which was none of his business. Even when he was told that she was a married woman, he could have back tracked. But he went all the way and finally committed adultery with her. In the course of his effort to cover up his sin, he ended up being a murderer by getting Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, killed. But, when Nathan the prophet confronted him in a very wise and tactful way, he repented and was restored. Though his sin was forgiven, the consequences of his sin followed not only him, but also all the people connected with him, his family, his children and even the nation (2 Sam.11&12).
So, let us be very careful about what we do with the many thoughts that come to our minds. Entertaining sinful thoughts and clinging on to them is a sure way to failure with far-reaching consequences. The wise Solomon exhorts us to “keep your heart with all diligence” (Pro.4:23). Paul tells the Corinthian believers that “Satan should not take advantage of us, for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor.2:11). Let us be aware of his devices and keep ourselves from falling into his trap.
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