"And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing and teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 5:11-14).To give you a little background, the parable the Savior discussed previously in the chapter was about how the king invited a bunch of people to his son's wedding, only to learn that the invitees ignored him (and some even beat the servants who invited them). It symbolizes the reaction of the Pharisees and Sadducees at the time of Christ. So then the king tells his servants to round up people off the streets who are willing to come.
So coming to this part, I've always read this in the past and thought, well the guy's there, isn't he? You invited him. Maybe he doesn't have wedding clothes. Should he be punished for that? But here's what I read this morning in the student manual:
"In ancient times, it was sometimes the custom for wealthy individuals, such as kings, to provide invited guests with proper clothing to wear to events such as weddings. Despite being invited to the wedding, this man chose to attend on his own terms rather than those of the king, and he was not permitted to remain. There are requirements for entering the kingdom of God, even though everyone is invited" (New Testament Student Manual, pg. 66).Cue the a-ha moment. This explanation is just another reminder to me that I can't keep trying to do recovery and discipleship my way. I can't keep lying to myself that selective diligence and sporadic dedication are enough to experience the miracle of recovery. I'm also reminded once again that recovery requires that I submit my will to God in all things, not just in things pertaining to sobriety.
I never thought I'd say this, but this is hard. After years of trying to do it my way, it's hard to give up my will. I can't expect it to happen overnight, though. I just need to keep chipping away at my selfishness and pride and put my relationship with God at the forefront of my mind.