We never become truly spiritual by sitting down and wishing to become so. You must undertake something so great that you cannot accomplish it unaided. Phillips Brooks

Our compromises, not our achievements, define us. Hal Croves

In the Old Testament, it says that God delighted in David and loved him dearly (2 Samuel 22). Even though David committed adultery, had someone killed and did a pretty awful job at raising his children, God had a special place for David in his heart. Do you know why that was? It was because David lived his life entirely God-centered even when he messed up. His life is a testimony that no matter what you’ve done, God will never abandon you.

In this dedication to God, David lived his life as if he was at his side at all times. God was really real to David. Just look at the Psalms. David was thankful to God for everything in his life and we can find that gratefulness in the songs of the Bible. David gave God credit for everything good that happened to him. David saw His hand in every aspect of his life. I am sure that often people would roll their eyes with the stories David would tell. Why did he always have to give God the credit? Couldn’t he just realize that not every good thing came from God’s hand and that sometimes he himself made the great things happen? Couldn’t he see that he was just plain lucky or like most of us, was making a good life by pulling up his boots straps and making it happen? But David acknowledged the Lord in every way. Because of this, David gave his all to God, because he saw him in every facet of his life.

Now think of Judas. When we read the gospels, it seems to hint that Judas wasn’t around very much. As you later read about how Judas betrays Jesus, you begin to wonder how much he really was around during those three years that they knew one another. I imagine Judas was at his side when it was convenient or necessary, but when it counted, he was most likely nowhere to be found. Perhaps when Jesus was directly teaching and there was an opportunity for him to learn something, he was off doing his own thing. What Jesus was doing was just a waste of time.

Money was to be made for the “ministry,” he might have argued. We know that from the gospels that Judas was the treasurer of Jesus’ band of followers and that he took some of the money for himself. (John 13:29) When a person begins to compromise, break the rules a bit, one’s relationship to God gets splintered and slowly, but surely you begin to compromise in multiple areas of your life. With this, it made it all the easier for Judas to betray Jesus, and betray him to the priests. Judas was like the church at Laodecia that we learn about in the book of Revelation, neither hot nor cold. (Revelation 3:14-18) Judas was wishy-washy and that’s typically what believers are—neither here nor there and they often keep God at a distance.

As we can see clearly in Judas’ life, it can be dangerous to stay a believer. Throughout the gospels, Jesus firmly maintains that he wants all or nothing. Think about that: he wants all of you or nothing of you. He would rather not have us at all, unless he has all of us. When it comes to this, Jesus is an extremist when it applies to our relationship with him. As Jim Eliot exclaimed, “Oh that God would make us dangerous!” This is what we need. To be completely given over—we need to journey into deeper commitment that becomes precarious to live out, because we live at the edge of ourselves. This is where David lived his life and it was rich. Judas took another way, an easier way, and in the end, he lost everything.

Here is the big question that you have to ask: does God have all of you? Does he own every aspect of your life:

  • Your relationships
  • Your work and career
  • Your family and kids
  • Your money and finances
  • Your decisions about the future

Likewise, who makes the decisions in your life—you or God? Who determines:

  • The friendships you keep.
  • The person you will marry.
  • What you will study in college.
  • What job you will pursue.
  • Which neighborhood you live in.
  • What you buy at Best Buy or at Amazon.
  • The car you drive.
  • What you do with  your free time.

Another question: When a good thing happens in your life who gets the credit—you or God? Remember every good thing comes from his hand. Do you live that out, speak it out, and acknowledge that on a fairly regular basis? On the reverse, when a bad thing happens in your life, who gets that credit—you or God? The irony is that often we hear people blame God for the bad things that happen to them even though 99% percent of the time they have had nothing to do with him in the first place. They’ve been the ones living and orchestrating their lives, but when something hard hits them, their first words are—where was God? Where was God when I lost my job (when in reality I was hardly working)? Where was God when my boyfriend broke up with me (when I shouldn’t have been with him in the first place)? Where was God when I had to file bankruptcy (when in truth, I was spending money left and right)? This is often where believers live their lives—living on their own, not giving credit when credit is due, and then when trials occur, they play the blame game. If these are some of your patterns, you probably are just a believer and as we will discover, there is actually a better way.

In: Friend to Jesus