When Jesus called Matthew to follow Him, Matthew was a very corrupt person. He was known to steal money from the people by collecting more money than the people owed for their taxes. For example, if a person owed $5 for his taxes, Matthew would ask for $10. He then gave the $5 to the Roman Empire and kept $5 for himself while getting paid by the Romans as a tax collector. Many tax collectors were wealthy because of their corruption. However, despite the money he made as a tax collector, he was unhappy. He was still seeking a much better life. It was not until Jesus called him that his life changed. Interestingly, Jesus called Matthew when Matthew was still a bad person. Jesus did not wait for Matthew to change to be a good person before calling him. The reason was that Jesus was the only one who could change his heart. Matthew learned to live godly as he followed Jesus and surrendered his heart to Him. God eventually used Matthew to write the first book in the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew.
There was a person who grew up in a rough family. His mother was divorced and remarried four times. His stepfather abused him, so he joined the military to get out of his situation. He became a fighter pilot for the Marines during the Vietnam War. As he excelled in his military career, his life was also growing out of control. He had so much hate and unforgiveness in his life that it made him an alcoholic. He was seeking an answer, and it was until he believed in Jesus and followed Him that His life started to change. He forgave all those who abused him, although it was difficult for him to do. When he finished his career in the military, he became a pastor in California.
As we follow our Lord, God will change our lives. Going to church, Bible study, or church activities will not change us if we are not willing to surrender our hearts to Jesus. Matthew and the pastor in California would never experience their new life in Christ if they had not made the decision to follow Jesus. It was not easy for them to follow Jesus, but they made the sacrifice to follow him because they knew that the only way that they could have a new life was to follow Jesus.
Ask yourself these questions for application: (Think through these questions carefully and meditate on them while answering them, and let the Spirit of God speaks to you). How did Matthew change from being corrupt to a godly person? Who is the only one who can change my heart? How can God change my heart? Am I willing to change?
Write down all the worries you face today and lift them up to God.
Father in Heaven, You are the only one who can change my heart. Please make me the person you want me to be so I can live a new life. Living a sinful life does not give me peace but only sorrow and emptiness. You are the only one who can give me peace, so I surrender my heart to you. Please change me just as you change Matthew's heart. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.