Thursday, August 7, 2014

Changing Our Ways

     One of the hardest things to do is to change bad habits.  I fully admit that I have had my share of them, but after my recent heart procedure, I know that I have to change in order to remain healthy.  It was like a wake up call for me.  Eating high fat, sugar laden, gravy dipped foods is no longer an option unless I wish to shorten my days here on earth.  I need to learn a new way of eating, exercising and conducting my life in order to take better care of the body which the Lord has given to me.  I also hold no illusions that it will be easy.  Change does take time and effort.
     As I considered this new way of thinking, I was reminded of the parable which the Lord told in Matthew 22:1-14 about the "wedding feast" which the king had prepared for his son.  He had made the food ready along with elaborate preparations, and when he called the guests to come in, they all refused or had excuses.  In fact, some of the guests even mistreated the king's servants who came with the invitation to come in to the feast.  With this clear refusal, the king turned to his servants and told them to go into the highways and bring in all the people both good and bad to the feast.  Certainly every day people did not come wearing wedding garments so the king provided these as well.  However, when the hall was full, the king noticed that one person did not wear a wedding garment.  When he asked him why, the man had no reply.  Therefore, the king ordered his servants to bind him and cast him into the outer darkness.  Jesus ended the parable by stating in verse 14:  "For many are called, but few are chosen."
Gavin decided what to change about his sand creation
     This wedding feast parable is a picture of God's call to His chosen people Israel to come and celebrate His Son.  When the guests refuse to come in, God's servants call to all on the highways and byways of life.  In fact, the king in the parable must have provided everyone coming in with a wedding garment so they would be dressed appropriately.  However, one guest, not unlike many of us, wants to come to the party, but he doesn't want to change.  He refuses the wedding garment.  This is the kind of thinking that goes something like this:  "Lord make me rich, but don't make me have to share it with anyone else;  Father make me skinny, but please let me eat whatever I want to; or God keep me sober, but let me drink whatever I want to drink."  These represent the words of those who do not want to change.  They want the benefits without the commitment.
     God's call goes out to all men and women, but some will not answer that call.  This is what prompted our Lord to say that many are called but few are chosen.  As we see in the parable, the man entered the party, but not in to true fellowship.  He refused to change, and put on the garment of salvation offered to him.  The result is that he was cast out into darkness.  Even in our churches and fellowship today, there are those who refuse to wear the robe of righteousness.  They want the benefits of a life in Christ without the commitment.  This is no different than if I tell my doctor that I want good heart health, but I am unwilling to change my habits.  There is only so much repair that can be done if we continue to ignore the call to change.
     If we desire to live in the joy of the Lord, then we must be willing to heed His call and come prepared to live for Him according to His commands.  Jesus made it clear to us that "His yoke is easy and His burden is light" (Matthew 11:30).  Therefore, if He calls us today, we must be ready to respond as obedient children.  I guarantee that His robe of righteousness is more precious than the rags we wear each day.  Selah!

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