In the front living room of my granny’s house I was attempting to entertain myself. Sitting on the piano bench as an elementary school student before cable, electronics, or video gaming, I memorized these words. “Fit us for Heaven to live with thee there.”
It was the words to Away In A Manger I had found in a song book. Unable to read sheet music, sing, or play any recognizable tune pleasantly on the piano, I rehearsed this line over and over until I “got it”. The words were in my knowledge but not quite in my heart. The learned prayer hadn’t been fully understood then.
Even now more than three decades later, do I really understand what these lyrics say, mean, and pray? I know for sure, I cannot sing them or play them. Making a “joyful noise” could be debated at any attempt to vocalize these lyrics.
“Fit us for Heaven to live with thee there.” That is our ultimate goal isn’t it? To be suitable for Heaven. Is there a “suit” that is required for Heaven? Is there something that is required to live in Heaven?
I’m reminded of a parable Jesus told that is found in Matthew 22, “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ’ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ The silence was deafening. The judgment was eternal. The wardrobe change wasn’t in the script.
“Fit us for Heaven to live with thee there.” This should be our daily prayer. This king had invited, invited, invited, and invited. He was glad for the ones who had chosen to come to the wedding banquet. However, there was one there who wasn’t “fit” for the Kingdom. He didn’t have the right garment. He wasn’t properly suited for the event.
It is not God’s will any perish but all come to repentance. Repentance means a change of mind. It means being different than you once were. The man who was cast out of the party in the story had the right company of friends. He had chosen to be in the right place, he just wasn’t “fit”. He wasn’t found “worthy” by God. He wasn’t appropriately clothed.
So how is it possible to be “fit” for Heaven? “Fit us for Heaven to live with thee there.” – is it possible?
“For many are called, but few are chosen.” The summary sentence of Jesus for this parable has been misunderstood by many. Some think God only has a “select” number He chooses and all the others are doomed to Hell. God has clearly said on many occasions, “whosoever will may come” and “whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”. He has clearly declared it is not His will any perish, but all come to repentance. God endured 120 years for only 8 souls to be saved in the days of Noah.
The word “Chosen” is what makes us “fit” for the Kingdom of Heaven. To be “chosen” or “fit” means we choose to follow the Lord, become God’s choice by freely receiving faith from Him. Faith is God’s divine persuasion” – and therefore distinct from human belief (confidence), yet involving it. The Lord continuously births faith in the yielded believer so they can know what He prefers, i.e. the persuasion of His will.
The man in the parable was not 100% persuaded and confident of God’s choosing of Him. He had not fully committed and yielded himself to God’s way of doing things. He kept his own clothes. He refused to put on the garments God provided.
It doesn’t say the man didn’t have any clothes on. If we were to have seen His clothes, they may have been in style, ironed neatly, well put together, and “perfect” in his eyes and probably ours too. However, in the eyes of God, they were unacceptable. He was not “fit”.
The man would have done well to have heard and taken to heart Romans 12:1-2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.“
Let us be transformed by the renewal of our mind, that by testing we may know what the will of God is, what is good, acceptable, and perfect to Him.
Let our daily prayer be “Fit us for Heaven to live with thee there.” We will daily see God answer that prayer as He enables us to have a new way of thinking. His way of thinking will begin to be formed in us. He will enable us to know and understand what His good, acceptable, and perfect will is. God himself will “Fit us for Heaven to live with thee there.”