Not on Probation

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Matthew or Levi is one of my favorite disciples. To me, there is something so powerful in the call of Matthew. I get that all the callings are powerful but I think different ones can resonate with different people in different ways. Matthew’s calling is recorded in-between two episodes of Jesus. The first is Jesus forgiving and healing the paralytic man, and then Jesus dining with sinners and saying that He has come for the sick and not the righteous. I think these three episodes together show that when Jesus calls you into service He does not call and place you on probation, but you get full rights. I used to think of myself as accepted but being watched closely, however, that is not what Jesus does. He spoke about healing and forgiving and showed what it means when you are healed and forgiven. Matthew was given full rights as a disciple, so am I, and so are you!

We can think of ourselves as probationary Christians but that is just not how Jesus views us. When we accept Christ we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and our lives are now hidden with Christ in God. The old is gone and the new has come. That does not mean that past actions can no longer catch up to us or that we start acting better right away. Somethings take time. The point is we are now granted full rights as children of God. We are in that very moment of accepting Christ new and accepted. The bigger question is whether we walk in that acceptance. I love looking at Matthews life, partly, because he knew what he was.

Tax collectors were no one’s hero. They were not good Jews, they worked for the enemy, and they were cheats. No little boy dreamt about being a tax collector because no one liked them. There really was not much to like. Jesus, on the other hand, did not care. He knew He was there to call and save the sick and the lost so He did. Matthew knew who he was and Jesus knew who Matthew was. There was no question about it but Jesus still called Him. He still said follow me. Matthew followed. The people around him still called him a sinner and a tax collector. They still remember everything he did and stood for before Christ but he did not let that stop him from following Christ.

Your past might be great or it might be horrid. Either way, it is the past. Come to terms with it. Accept it. Find a way to make sense of it. Then give it to God and follow Christ. Surrender your life to Him and let Him lead while you follow. You won’t be put on probation, and you won’t be rejected.

Just a thought,

Mike

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