For Those Who’ve Wandered
Check out this scripture that was on my heart today. As you read it realize that the father represents our Heavenly Father and the son represents those who are rebellious and turn their back on God.
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
– Luke 15:11-24
Here’s a few observations from this text that probably have applied to you in the past, apply to you now, or will apply to you in the future:
1. The young man thought he could do better on his own than his father could do for him.
How many times have we been this way with God? How many times have we turned from His way because we thought our way was the best way?
2. He learned that his way didn’t work nearly as well as he thought it would.
I bet most of us have lived long enough to figure this one out. For some reason we just choose to keep taking this test over and over again not learning the lesson God’s is teaching us.
3. He was in an incredibly low place.
Think about this…he was a jewish boy who was not only feeding pigs but wanted to eat the pig food. The Jews wouldn’t touch a pig because they were thought to be “unclean” animals. (Personally…I like a pork chop!) But this young man is wanting to eat the pig food! That’s a pretty low place!
4. He was defiled.
Not only did they see the pig as unclean but if they touched the pig it would make them unclean. If this guy was willing to sink this low there’s no telling what else he had done with the money from his inheritance.
Here’s the cool part. In verse 17 we see a major transition in this young man’s life. The text says he “came to his senses”. This is a place we all have to get to. A place that we finally “come to our senses” about who we are and who our Father is.
Here’s what happens when he finally has a revelation about the goodness of his father.
1. He turned from his own way and recognized the value of his father.
2. He admitted he was wrong.
Let’s all admit…admitting that you’re wrong isn’t easy. However, it is necessary. Recognizing the value of our Heavenly Father and admitting we are wrong are the first steps in repentance.
3. He humbly turned to his father.
Repentance doesn’t just consist of turning from something but also includes turning to Someone. As we turn from our way of living we turn to Jesus in faith.
4. His father accepted him, reinstated him into the family, and celebrated his homecoming!
This is the power of God’s grace. Grace is God’s undeserved favor and love. At the moment we “come to our senses” and turn to Him he accepts us, reinstates us, and celebrates our homecoming.
It’s interesting to note that the father didn’t ask 100’s of questions or beat his son over the head with rules and things he had to do. He just loved him where he was and offered him a better way. It’s hard to fathom. It doesn’t seem fair because it isn’t! That the One who knew no sin (Jesus) became sin for us that we could become God’s righteousness! That is God’s grace and it is this grace that beckons each of us to simply come home to our Father. Why would we eat the pods of pigs when we can feast at the table of the King?
If you are far from Him today I pray that you would simply turn to Him and express your desire to come home. Share your heart with Him. If you mess up the words it’s OK. Do you really think anything we can say impresses God anyway? When you turn to Him you’ll be surprised how close He has been the whole time.
Heart and Soul!