The Heart-Check We Need To Stay on Track - Encouragement for Today - March 27, 2024

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Meredith Houston CarrMarch 27, 2024

The Heart-Check We Need To Stay on Track

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“From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.” Matthew 26:16 (NLT)

Editor’s Note: Today’s devotion is part of a special series for Holy Week! From March 24 (Palm Sunday) to March 31 (Easter Sunday), each devotion will focus on the events leading up to Jesus’ resurrection. We pray these words will prepare your heart and mind for the celebration of our risen Savior.

I waited in the long checkout line, impatiently tapping my shopping cart, which was overflowing with school supplies. I wasn’t in the mood to chat, but the gal behind me peppered me with questions, so I explained how our church organized a school-supplies drive each year. She gushed with admiration of this ministry, and I politely agreed. But conviction gripped me moments later.

This was a great ministry, but my attitude about it wasn’t great! I’d allowed the overwhelm of the busy back-to-school season to harden my heart. Outwardly, I complied — yet inwardly, my spirit grumbled.

Right there in the parking lot, I confessed to the Lord the sorry state of my soul and prayed for a renewed heart.

This experience reminded me how easily we can fall into doing the right thing with the wrong spirit. And we’re not the only ones — we see this in Scripture too. Judas, the apostle infamous for betraying Jesus, spent years walking and talking with Him up close and personal. He was there when Jesus performed miracles and changed lives. He was there when Jesus taught crowds and called out religious leaders. Judas walked the walk, building God’s Kingdom alongside Peter, John and the other disciples. But as today’s key verse details, his heart reached a fateful turning point:

“From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus” (Matthew 26:16).

We shudder at this scripture and wonder how he could do that! But a closer look at Judas’ life reveals a sobering truth: Physical proximity to Jesus wasn’t enough. We can even build His Kingdom outwardly, but inwardly we are tempted to build our own. It’s the proximity of our hearts to Jesus that determines whether we give in to this temptation.

Interestingly, Judas’ decision to betray Jesus came on the heels of the poignant occasion when a woman anointed Jesus with expensive perfume (Matthew 26:6-13). Jesus said this moment would be remembered forever, but Judas resented her charity and grumbled against it. He witnessed a lavish display of generosity firsthand — yet his heart was hard.

Similarly, we can keep our lives busy with church activities, Bible studies and service projects, but if our hearts don’t align with the gospel mission, we’re setting ourselves up to fail. Like Judas, we can only fake it for so long.

As Easter approaches, let’s take a moment to conduct a heart-check and ask ourselves a couple of questions to stay on track:

  1. Is my heart more aligned with Jesus' mission or my own?
  2. Does my heart prioritize the same causes that Jesus does?

Dear one, asking God to show us our hearts isn’t easy. But perhaps that’s just what we need to continue walking faithfully with Jesus!

Jesus, forgive us for outwardly serving You yet inwardly desiring our way. Help us align our hearts with You and walk with integrity and authenticity. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Are your days feeling jam-packed? Do you find yourself racing around from the minute your alarm clock goes off until bedtime many hours later? Experiencing the kind of rest we long for won’t come from escapism, more vacation days or stuffing down our feelings. It’s Jesus Himself who provides rest to our weary souls. In the new devotional Clear Mind, Peaceful Heart: 50 Devotions for Sleeping Well in a World Full of Worry, Lysa TerKeurst and other Proverbs 31 Ministries writers will help you find relief from the stress of daily obligations and pressures by incorporating the Bible into your nightly routine. Purchase your devotional here!



If you could use more encouragement and a few laughs, join Meredith on Instagram, and check out her website for helpful, free resources!


Matthew 15:8-9, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules” (NIV).

Do you find you’re just “going through the motions” in your faith-walk right now? What step can you take this week to align your heart with God’s? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

© 2024 by Meredith Houston Carr. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106

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