by Wade E Taylor
“For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22:14
These “few” are chosen because they are willing to pay the price in order to be chosen. There is a “willing obedience” that is of vital importance in our spiritual growth and development.
The following verse of Scripture greatly affected my life during 1958 when I was spending much time seeking the Lord for a deeper understanding of His calling and purpose for my life and ministry.
“If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good of the land.” Isaiah 1:19
To be willing means that we respect and are responsive to His personal dealings in our lives. To be obedient is more than an act of obedience. It means that we have allowed the Lord to take the initiative in His intention to bring us into spiritual maturity and prepare us for a cooperative relationship with Him in the outworking of His purposes.
This means that we have surrendered to the Lord the right to our own lives, and have made Him our personal Lord. Once we have done this, we are no longer in control of our destiny, but have unconditionally submitted ourselves to His will, whatever it may be.
Many years ago, I heard a message about the year of Jubilee, in which all slaves were set free. But if a slave had a benevolent master and desired to remain in servitude, his ear would be placed against a door post and pierced as a witness to his willing submission. The mark in the door post, and in his ear, would remain as a witness.
The Lord revealed that I had gained my freedom to do as I desired through Adams’ choice, when he partook of the tree of knowledge. I was born with this freedom. Suddenly, I came to know that I could give up my freedom and become a “love” slave by choice. I went to the pulpit and shared my desire to give up the right to my own life, and submit myself unconditionally to the Lord.
Suddenly, the edge of the pulpit seemed to be a door post, and I bent over and asked the Lord to pierce my ear. Later, when I complained to the Lord that I was not being treated fairly, the Lord reminded me that I had given to Him the right to my life and He was responsible. Later, I discovered that He knew best, and had my interest at heart.
When the Apostle Paul identified himself in the Word as “Paul the servant,” it is far more than appears on the surface. Paul said he had been born free, but he gave up the right to his own life. Thus, he is saying, “Paul, the love slave.” Only now could he say,
“I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I….” Galatians 2:20
Paul willingly chose to give up the right to his own life. He died to all that he desired, that he might live to the will of God. Concerning the Gospel, Paul could now say, “This submission of my life will work death in me, but life in you.”
“And to the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things says He that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead.” Revelation 3:1
The Lord is telling those in the church at Sardis that because they have not submitted their lives to Him, He sees them as being dead. That is, He cannot actively bring them into the place where He would have them, as they have not given Him permission to do so. The Lord is looking for those who will allow the Word to be applied to transform them into His image.
Notice that the very first thing the Lord said to each of the seven Churches was, “I know your works.” This is because we have a tendency to relate our position to the Lord in respect to the things that we have done for Him. Therefore, He tells us that He already knows this.
Rather, the Lord is looking for an inner change within us – into the image of His Son, not a recital of all that we have accomplished for Him. Thus, it is not what we did, but rather, what all this accomplished within us. Therefore, the motive behind what we do is very important.
When I owned the cable TV system, there was a service call to fix a TV set. The service man said he knew this family and would not go. So I went in his place. When I arrived at the address, I saw that the house was very run-down and was in the back of an open field, which was very difficult to get to. I returned to the store and came back in a 4-wheel drive truck and barely made it to the house. The stench within the house was unbearable, and there were thousands of flies everywhere. I took a deep breath, fixed the TV set, and hurried out.
Two weeks later, there was another problem with the TV set and I returned. The lady was all excited and told me she had visited her sister in a different state and had been taken to a special healing meeting where she was saved and healed. She said she had never been able to touch her hair, as she had been unable to raise her hands, but now she could.
I was asked if I would like a cup of coffee. She chased a number of flies off the cup, filled it and gave it to me. I had a difficult time, but managed to drink it. Then I told her that I would like to take them to a spirit-filled church which taught healing, and that I would come with the 4-wheel drive truck and pick them up.
When they sat down in the Church, others changed their seats due to the strong smell that came with them. Later, I was told not to bring them back. Sometime later I again visited this house and was surprised to see the pastor of a large denominational church sitting at the table in their home, eating a meal. I marveled that he could stay within the house. The next time I came, several women from that church were there, helping her clean the house and teaching her about cleanliness.
The Full Gospel Church that should have reached out to them had said to not bring them back. They were proud about knowing that we are to love the unlovable, but they were not willing to practice it. The pastor felt justified because the stench might offend some church members.
The Lord looks for those who are willing to allow the love of God to become a reality within. He is not satisfied with our words, but requires a heart response. If we are to be an overcomer, we must have something to overcome.
The Full Gospel Church failed at this point. They felt that they were spiritual because they were critical of this denominational church, which in fact overcame and received the reward from the Lord.
Many say that they desire a ministry, yet overlook opportunities such as this. May each of us recognize that we are required by our Lord to go beyond our own comfort and convenience in order to respond to the needs of others.