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How We Position Our Hearts

The Bible tells us that the most deceitful thing on the planet is ‘the heart’ (Jeremiah 17:9). Our hearts are the centre point from which we make our every decision, and if they are not constantly checked and positioned towards God, they can go completely astray. This results in devastation: in our relationship with God, in relating to the people around us, and even in how we perceive our own identity.

To dig further into this truth, let’s look at two men who both walked closely with Jesus as His disciples, but who had very different outcomes to their lives because of the way they positioned their hearts toward God: Judas and Peter.

Starting Point

Both Judas and Peter were called by Jesus. Both committed to leaving their previous lifestyles behind in order to follow Him. Both men lived together 24/7 with Jesus and the other disciples. We can comfortably assume they were all close friends. Both Judas and Peter were appointed to go out and preach and both were given authority by Jesus to drive out demons (Mark 3:13-19). They were both apostles of Jesus, both were the starting point of Christianity. They also both sinned terribly against Jesus. One was lost and the other restored.

The Prediction

Jesus predicted that both Judas and Peter would betray Him. We read in John 13:27 that at the point where Satan entered Judas, Jesus tells Judas to ‘do what he is going to do, quickly’. We see that Peter was also under attack by Satan. We read in Luke 22:31 of Jesus telling Peter that Satan had asked to sift him. Jesus then correctly predicts that Peter will deny knowing Jesus (vs 34). Although our own hearts deceive us towards wickedness, Jesus has never been deceived. God is trustworthy because Jesus IS the Truth. We must always choose the Bible as ultimate Truth, because only God never lies and is never deceived.

Sadly, both men failed Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus…and Peter denied Jesus

Contradicting God

It’s sobering to think that both men contradicted God when Jesus warned them of their coming deception and betrayal! Both men believed they would not let Jesus down and would not live up to His prediction. We read in Matthew 26:25 (NIV) that Judas said, ‘Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?’ Peter’s response to Jesus’ prediction was (in Matthew 26:33 (NIV)), ‘Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.’ Sadly, both men failed Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty silver coins and Peter denied Jesus three times.

Why was Judas Lost and Peter Restored?

This question is a serious one, and working through it can help us to keep our hearts positioned well, so that we can serve Jesus faithfully. To answer it, we must compare who Judas and Peter understood Jesus to be.

Judas’ Revelation of Jesus

Judas was a zealot. He believed that the Messiah would conquer the Romans and deliver God’s people through a violent uprising! Considering this, it is logical for us to assume that, in Judas’ mind, his actions weren’t a betrayal of Jesus. Instead, he was simply nudging Jesus towards his destiny! Quite possibly, Judas’ plan was to kickstart the Messiah’s rule and reign. If this was true, imagine then the overwhelming shock for Judas when, in Mark 14:48, Jesus says that he is NOT leading a rebellion. He answers His disciples’ move to attack those arresting Him by healing the wound inflicted on the Roman concerned. In that moment, everything Judas had wrongly believed about Jesus disintegrates and he finally realises that he has been deceived – by his own heart, his own desires.

Judas’ heart desired freedom from Roman rule. Peter’s heart feared death more than anything

Peter’s Revelation of Jesus

We read in Matthew 16:13–20 that Peter had a correct revelation of who Jesus is, and that this revelation was given to him by the Father. Peter, at that stage, was the only disciple who really knew that Jesus is the son of God. The disciple to whom Jesus would commit His church was the first disciple to be given the key into heaven. Peter’s own heart deceived him into betraying Jesus when he denied three times that he was Jesus’ disciple. Judas’ heart desired freedom from Roman rule. Peter’s heart feared death more than anything at that point in time. But because Peter had a God-given revelation about the true nature of Jesus as the Christ, Peter’s heart was led ultimately to repentance and not despair.

Judas’ Response

Judas did not understand that God was working all things toward man’s eternal salvation. He could not see past his own current discomfort. He did not trust that God knew best and he tried to manipulate God’s plans according to his own wisdom. As a result, when his own plans failed him, he had nowhere to turn. His fallback was religion. He went to the religious leaders of the time asking for answers, but they sent him away. Judas’ hope was in a man and a system, not in God. Now that the basis of his hope has been shown to be false, he gives in to his devastation and takes his own life (Matthew 27:3-5). Right to the end, Judas denies God’s power to save him.

Peter’s Response

Luke 22:62 says that when Peter was confronted with the deceitfulness of his own heart, he wept bitterly. Yet he does not lose hope in God the way that Judas does. He has had a revelation of Jesus as Christ, though he does not at that point understand at all what God the Father is doing. And so Peter simply waits. Jesus had previously said that he would go to Galilee after he had risen from the dead (Matthew 26:32), and so Peter goes there. When God rewards his patient humility by forgiving him, Peter’s heart is ready to respond to God’s forgiveness with repentance and a heart to obey Jesus in whatever God sees fit to commission him to do (John 21:15-17). Peter’s sin had been to rely on the strength of his heart, but because of a greater revelation of the omnipotence of Jesus Christ, Peter is able to transition from pride to a deeper reliance on the grace of God.

Positioning Our Hearts Towards Jesus

God desires to give us each a new heart; to put His spirit in us so that we have the power to love and obey Him, so that He would be our God and we His people (Ezekiel 36:26-28). Where is your heart at? Are you positioning your heart towards Jesus or away from him? Right now, are you a Judas or a Peter? God tells us in Revelation 3:20: ‘Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.’ Let Jesus in and let Him change you from the inside out. Our own hearts are deceitful, but God is offering us His Spirit, His power, to say no to the lies of the evil one and the power to say yes to godliness and eternal intimacy with Him.

Bret leads a congregation in Joshua Generation Church in South Africa and is married to Abby. He is a dedicated father of two energetic children and an avid outdoorsman. Bret loves sharing the Word of God and has a passion for preaching and teaching. Follow him on Facebook for more.

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Condemnation
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Complacent
Recalibrating
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Patience
Teaching
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Grief
Compromise
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Christening
Starting A Church
Parents
Poverty
Study the Word
Stewarding
Punishment
Being Hospitable
Sharing The Gospel
Restoration
Training Kids
Malawi
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Surrender
Healing Equip
books
Raising Leaders
Shepherds
Contentment
God's Character
Affirmation
Judaism
Enlightenment
Building Deep
Prostitution
Godly Team
Baptism
Fear of God
Hospitality
Peace
The Bible
Church Leaders
Hardship
Fellowship
Holy Living
Character of an Elder
Adultery
Rebelling
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Baptise
Infant Baptism
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Possessions
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Division
Accusation
Flesh
Sexual Sin
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Living for God
Mothers
Female Leaders
Calling
Christian Fellowship
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Easter
Witnessing
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New Churches
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Atheists
Old Testament Prophet
Ambassadors
Truth in Tension
contradictions
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treasure
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Leaders
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Protection
Dating
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Eldership
Fleshly Desires
Shame
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Traditions
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Women Leaders
Ordaining Elders
Christian Community
Backslidden
Resurrection
Testimony
Masturbation
Communal Culture
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Zimbabwe
Start a Church
Prophet
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Being Generous
Study Scripture
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Entitlement
Misotheists
New Testament Prophet
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Deacons
Culture
Good News
Maturity
Self-Control
Word of Knowledge
Bitterness
Self-Pity
Courting
Forgiving
Anger
Freedom
Submission
Gifts of the Spirit
Get Baptised
Works and Faith
Morals
Gift of Wisdom
Females in Leadership
Ordaining
Defence
Commitment
Hearing God
Consequences
Receive Forgiveness
Leadership Training
Living Hope
Relief Fund
Building Church
Evangelist
Dreams
Communion
Being Accountable
Occupation
Rejection
Misotheism
The Case for Christ
Kingdom Priorities
Biblical Contradictions
Family
Devotion
Goodness
Men
Serving
Word of Wisdom
Brokenness
Sickness
Courtship
Friendship
Church Plant
Hope
Trusting
Gifts
Baptized
Fasting
Overcomer
Words of Wisdom
Leadership
Encounter
Repenting
Challenges
Listening
Caring for Children
Four12 Partners
Training Leaders
St Johns
Israel
Healthy Church
Teacher
Multi-site Church
Perseverance
Loving Others
Profession
Social Media
Hopelessness
Lee Strobel
Kingdom Living
Refining Fire
Love
Discernment
Gospel
Mercy
Shepherding
Work
Caring
Suicide
Desires
Lies
Fathering
Vulnerability
Accountable
The Apostolic
Kids
Intercession
Singleness
Fear
lead
Life
Repent
Anxiety
Obey
Child Care
Four12 Partner
Volunteer
Taiwan Church
Providence
New Testament Church
Pastor
Church Structure
Feminism
Apostolic Partnership
Vocations
Distractions
Christian Books
Christian Movies
Covenantal Love
Storms of Life
resilience
steadfastness
uncompromising
Marriage
Discipleship
Grace
Ministry
Sin
Worship
Confusion
Trials
Husbands
Offence
Humility
Idols
Pride
Evangelising
Obedient
Christian Leadership
Singles
Healing
Direction
Revelation
Conviction
Complacency
Recalibration
Guidance
Transformation
Volunteering
Taiwan Churches
Marriage Training
Church
Apostolic Field
Administration
Racism
Church Partnering
Christian Values
Cosmological Argument
Christian Authors
Review
Husband
Accountability
Doctrine
Healing and Miracles
Money
Social Justice
Youth
Death
Tribulations
Partner
Overcoming
Humbleness
Immorality
Prophets
Fornication
Planting A Church
Christian Leaders
Debt
The Word
Discipline
Condemnation
Bear Fruit
Complacent
Recalibrating
Teaching Kids
Partners Relief Fund
Apostolic Partnering
Netherlands
Letting Go
Values
Partnering
Heart of God
Justice
Church Partnership
Great Commission
Existence of God
Christian Literature
Old Testament
Romance
Apologetics
Elders
Heaven and Hell
Obedience
Spiritual Gifts
Caring for Others
Depression
Online Church
Spouse
Conflict
Meekness
Lust
Prophecy
The Gospel
Purgatory
Control
Finances
The Word of God
Modesty
Judgement
Bearing Fruit
Comfort
Divorce
Teaching Children
Four12 Partners Relief Fund
Pastors Training
The Poor
Rastafarian
Translations of the Bible
Preaching
Authentic Community
Relationship with God
Faith and Works
New Christian
Creation
Reading
Worldviews
God's Love
Apostles
Evangelism
Holiness
Partnership
Stewardship
Caring for People
Doubt
Church Involvement
Wife
Reconciliation
Overseers
Lying
Deception
Hell
Raising Children
Godliness
Miracles
Word of God
Ordained
Equality
Breakthrough
Defending My Faith
Covenant
Teenagers
Four12 Churches
Training Pastors
Needy
Redemption
Godly Leadership
Disciple
Church Discipline
Church Health
False Teachers
Fatherly Love
Tongues
Goats
Fear God
Godly Love
Body of Christ
Apostolic
Faith
Holy Spirit
Pastoring
Suffering
Brotherly Love
Eternity
Community
Wives
Bishops
Shepherd
New Believer
Greed
Immaturity
Raising Kids
Parenting
Poor
Bible
Ordinance
Unforgiveness
Refreshing
Defending The Gospel
Matrimony
Teenage Years
Four12 Church
Youth Leaders
Ireland
Testimonies
Christ
Delegating
Servant
Social Gospel
Character of God
Worth
Gift of Tongues
Godly Elders
Big Churches
Salvations
Sacrificial Love
Authority
Faithfulness
Holy Spirit Baptism
Patience
Teaching
Character of a Deacon
Grief
Compromise
Blueprint
Character
Addiction
Pornography
Signs
Christening
Starting A Church
Parents
Poverty
Study the Word
Stewarding
Punishment
Being Hospitable
Sharing The Gospel
Restoration
Training Kids
Malawi
Leading Youth
Surrender
Healing Equip
books
Raising Leaders
Shepherds
Contentment
God's Character
Affirmation
Judaism
Enlightenment
Building Deep
Prostitution
Godly Team
Baptism
Fear of God
Hospitality
Peace
The Bible
Church Leaders
Hardship
Fellowship
Holy Living
Character of an Elder
Adultery
Rebelling
Signs and Wonders
Baptise
Infant Baptism
Power
Possessions
Study the Bible
Steward
Hatred
Hospitable
Spreading The Gospel
Relationships
Training Children
Health
Youth Training
Counting the Cost
Four12 Equip
Eldership Training
Community Leading
Pastors
Rest
Sacrificial Serving
Sonship
Jewish
Reason
Selling Out
Prostitutes
honour
favour
Breaking Bread
Festivals
Idolatry
Prayer and Fasting
Theology
Foundations
Heaven
Fellowship of Believers
Leading Church
Diversity
Church Accountability
Rebellion
Witchcraft
Baby Christian
Kassie du Plessis
Protector
Tithing
Envy
Quiet Times
Retaliation
Lessons
Spreading The Word
Cheating
Training Teenagers
Cancer
Youth Ministry
Following the Call
Healing Conference
Identity
Small Group
Biblical Pattern
Systematic Theology
False Gospel
Testimony Apostolic
Jews
Reasoning
Watering Down
Reaching Out
Children
Forgiveness
Income
Prophetic
Tithes
Helper
Illness
Principles
Living for Christ
Government
Discipling
Sancti
Words of Knowledge
Babies
Prayer
Sexual Purity
Christmas
Jealousy
Meditation
Promises
Loss
The Cross
Persecution
Unfaithfulness
Sacrifice
Brazil
Prophetic Training
Voice of God
Team
Home Group
Change
Servant Leadership
Apostolic Leaders
Authentic
Religions
Intellectual Pride
Ambition
Fruitfulness
God's Favour
Christian Character
Generosity
Jesus
Purity
Trust
Helps
Mortality
Christian Family Values
Lukewarm
Home Group Leaders
Exhort
Sanctification
Dominionism
Beliefs
Praying
Celibacy
Fathers
Comparison
Training
Bible Study
Tests
Cross
Fear of Man
Find Forgiveness
Sacrificial Service
Brazil Churches
Prophetic Equip

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