Doors and habits are funny things. They are so much a part of life we often don’t notice them; they are just there. Sometimes they are helpful, and other times not so much.
I read a study once that suggested if you do something three times in a row it becomes a habit — or at least you are well on your way to forming a habit. Bad habits are even easier to form than the good ones. On the other hand, habits are hard to change or break, especially the bad ones. Because of our habits, the good ones as well as the bad ones, we often do things without even thinking about what we are doing.
In some cases, habits are called muscle memory. Over time a particular movement becomes second nature, and you don’t have to think about it. Your body just knows how to do it. Walking, swinging a bat, or swinging a golf club (my personal favorite), are all good examples. In fact, especially with the three activities I just mentioned, it is better not to over think it — just let your muscle memory take over and let it happen
Of course, there are times when habits can get in the way. For example, have you ever gotten in your car and set off to run some errands, only to end up in the parking lot at work just because that is where you go most of the time? Or you intended to get some milk on your way home, and as you pull into the garage you remember you forgot to stop at the store?
The other day I was on my way into a store, and as I reached the door, I paused to let the door open. A second later, I realized it wasn’t one of the automatic doors, and I had to actually “open” it myself.
Matthew 22:1-3 reads, “Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.’”
There is nothing in the scripture about why the original guests declined the invitation to the banquet, just that they refused to come. However, knowing people, I suspect part of the reason was just a matter of habit. Parties are fun, but there will be another one next week or next month, so there wasn’t a particularly compelling reason to go to this one.
Now, read that passage again, only replace the words, “wedding banquet” with, “eternal salvation.” John 3:16 says it all, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Salvation is a sure thing. Just like the door to the store the other day, it’s unlocked, but you do have to open it and walk-in.
Just like the wedding banquet, you’re invited, wanted and welcome. But you have to accept the invitation, maybe change your clothes and then actually go to the party.
If you’ve gotten out of the habit of opening that particular door, stop by any church Sunday morning for a refresher course.
John R. Fowler. John is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Prosper.