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And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to me, strengthen your brethren.”

Luke 22:31-32 NKJV

When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” Jesus answered, “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it.” And having dipped the bread, He gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. Now after the piece of bread, Satan entered him. Then Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.”

John 13:21, 26-27 NKJV

Two of Jesus disciples experienced satanic influence, one was rebuked and prayed for, and the other was allowed to carry out his evil intentions. Meanwhile it was He (Jesus) who chose them both in the beginning. So what happened? How did He come to prefer one over the other? Why did He intercede for one and the other He allowed the devil to take over as it were?

I believe the difference was the condition of their hearts. One was sincere, but sincerely wrong, the other was premeditatedly evil. Peter’s act was wrong but Judas heart was evil. You cannot pray for someone who has chosen willfully to do evil, but you can intercede for someone who is ignorant, fearful, or struggling with his flesh.

Judas knew what he was doing. He was a greedy fellow, not out of need, lack nor necessity but by nature. He would do anything, betray anyone, sell anything, his value system was money for the sake of it. No relationship was too valuable, no virtue was too strong that could not be excused. He had cultivated the habit of helping himself out to the resources, despite witnessing the supernatural supplies that marked the ministry of Jesus. Listening to Jesus, seeing all the miracles, he had opportunities to change but he had allowed this habit to fester far too long until he became possessed by Satan. He was taken over by the devil by his own permission.

You see, sinful acts, as a result of ignorance, fear, struggling in the flesh etc. are different from a heart entrenched in sin or a sin-filled heart, a heart that devises means to do evil. When a sinful act is confronted, one is broken, remorseful and asks for mercy, but a sin-filled heart gives excuses and seeks for ways to justify self. Such a heart cares only about his/her image. When King Saul was confronted he blamed the people, but when David was confronted he broke down in tears and pleaded for mercy. When Jesus by the word of knowledge revealed someone will betrayed Him, Peter was scared, bothered and concerned, so was everyone. Judas knowing he was the culprit had an opportunity to come out clean or at least abort the process, but he coldly went on with his evil plan thereby forfeiting the grace of God. He opened the door for Satan to enter into him.

What you do is not as important as who you’re within you, hence the bible instructs us to “guard our hearts with all diligence,” for out of it proceeds the issues that govern our lives. Watch the thoughts you’re entertaining and accommodating, slowly, gradually but surely you’re becoming your most dominant thoughts. They either become cracks through which Satan enters or means through which God inspired wisdom and power are manifested in you. Remember! As a man thinks in his heart so is he.

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