Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Friday, March 11, 2016
Love of Money
What thoughts go through the mind of a man who is about to betray the Creator of the Universe (John 1:1-3)? How could anyone who has met God in the flesh and had spent three years of his life with Him decide to leverage Him for monetary profit? Such a man must be confused, filled with greed, and under the control of Satan himself. Such was the man named Judas Iscariot.
There is no doubt of Satan’s involvement in Judas’ decision. Satan is the great liar and confuser, the one who has only ill will for our souls. He is able to twist our thoughts and tempt us with worldly riches to such an extent we will do harm even to those whom we love the most. He is able to convince us we can justify almost any action by some means, using our love of self rather than love of others to misplace our priorities. Once he takes control of our mind, he goads us in to deceitful action.
In Judas’ case, it was his love of money that Satan used to prompt him to betray Jesus. Before consummating the deal, Judas had only one question to the high priests, “What are you willing to give me?” Judas hoped to get money, one of his prime motivators in life, and Satan used this motivation in a most terrible way. Judas could not claim he had been provoked or slighted by his Master; he simply wanted to get more money, even if it came at the price of Jesus’ blood. He may have had other, misguided intentions aside from money, but these are not identified in Scripture. Ironically, Judas was abandoning the incredible riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8)
Jesus had known from the start that Judas had the devil in him. Still, Jesus, in His grace, showed Judas the same kindnesses He showed the other disciples during their three years with Him. He had not slighted Judas in any way. In fact, Jesus had indulged Judas, allowing him to be tempted by his nemesis, greed, on a daily basis. As keeper of the money purse, Judas was given an honored position and a fiduciary responsibility, a post that pleased him. Given the opportunity, he became an embezzler and a thief, helping himself to what was put in it (John 12:6).
It is obvious through John’s Gospel how the other disciples were aware of Judas’ thievery. Certainly Jesus also knew the full extent of Judas’ sins as purse-bearer and his underlying greed. Somewhat oddly, we never read of a threat to Judas being called to account for his stealing. God, however, would later have Judas call himself accountable (Matthew 27:5).
Judas never had any reason to steal. He did not steal out of hatred for his Master or because he had a quarrel with Him. A cheat himself, he never had reason to suspect Jesus’ Gospel was untrue, which might lead him to feel cheated on a spiritual level and thus retaliate. It was simply his love of money that caused him to become a traitor.
It is hard to imagine what Judas wanted to gain from his act of betrayal. He did not lack food to eat or clothes to wear. As a follower of Jesus, he received public attention. As keeper of the purse, he received more than his share. Even his immediate circumstances had been rewarding – he had just been entertained nobly at a supper in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, where Martha provided service to all. Prior to that, he had dined each day for three years with our LORD, yet he was not content with either the honor or the provision bestowed upon him.
All he could muster when he spoke to the priests was “What will you give me?” It was not Judas’ lack of money, it was his love of money that destroyed him. Lack of money is not evil, it is the love of money that is the root of all kinds of evil (1 Timothy 6:10), especially the betrayal of Christ, as we also witness with Demas (2 Timothy 4:10).
Love of money is not normal, but it is an affliction that affects every heart. Satan tempted our LORD with this same bait (Mathew 4:9), knowing how strong the attraction to worldly possessions and wealth is to the flesh. Jesus showed us how it is normal to refuse offers of unearned or undeserved wealth and was not ensnared by Satan’s test (Matthew 4:8-10). Judas, however, failed the test of all time. Satan will give you a test as well regarding Earthly riches. Will you succeed as Jesus did or fail as Judas did?
“What will you give me, LORD?” We’ve all asked this question, often wishing for material things. Jesus has promised us His precious love and eternal fellowship through Him. Ask yourself today whether your love of money is larger than Jesus’ love for you.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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