Close But Not Close Enough

As one of the original twelve apostles, Judas was handpicked by Jesus to spend three years working beside Him. As an apostle, Judas would have been Jesus’ constant traveling companion. He had the opportunity to listen to Jesus preach and see the many signs and miracles He performed (John 15:27). Not only would he have witnessed these things, but he, himself, would have been able to perform great miracles (Matthew 10:1). He had tremendous opportunities to know the Lord first hand and serve beside Him (Mark 3:14), but these opportunities were useless in the end. Because Judas’ heart was wrong, he betrayed the Lord for thirty pieces of silver and then regretted it to the extent that he committed suicide (Matthew 27:5).

Is it possible that we can be involved in the Lord’s work, yet like Judas are headed to our own destruction? Perhaps we serve Him, but our hearts are wrong.

Consider how that might be the case:

  • We never miss attending church services, but while in the assembly, our minds are not engaged in worshiping God.
  • We volunteer to serve in ministry programs or show hospitality, but we mumble and complain while doing them.
  • We teach a Bible class or speak for a ladies event, but our motivation is more about the recognition than for the opportunity to change  lives.

We may be doing the right actions to bring us closer to God, but because of our attitudes, we are far from Him.

Why do we do what we do?  Is it because we can’t say “no?” Is it because someone else expects it from us? Is it for compliments or recognition? If our service to God isn’t driven by a heart of love, it is useless (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

How do we improve our attitudes and motivations for doing right? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Remember our purpose. We were created for good works (Ephesians 2:10).
  • Remember that our service is for God and He won’t forget what we do (Hebrews 6:10).
  • Stop grumbling and complaining (Philippians 2:14).
  • Spend time with those who have positive attitudes (Philippians 4:4; 1 Corinthians 15:33).
  • Focus on the good (Philippians 4:8).
  • Be grateful for our opportunities (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Ephesians 5:20).

We need to guard against hearts that become self-seeking, prideful, bitter, or distracted from our purpose. Let us serve the Lord with a pure heart and a sincere love (2 Corinthians 6:6).