Papa is the God of second chances. Desiring to forgive us, His prodigal children. The parable of the prodigal son illustrates this truth.
A man had two sons.
The younger son told his father,“I want my share of your estate now before you die.”
So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons.
A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land. There he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve.
He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him, but no one gave him anything.
When he finally came to his senses. He said to himself.
“At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.’”
So he returned home to his father. While he was still a long way off his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him.
His son said to him,“Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.”
But his father said to the servants, “Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast. For this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.”
So the party began.
Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home. He heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on.
“Your brother is back,” he was told, “and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return.”
The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him, but he replied.
“All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. In all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. Yet, when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes. You celebrate by killing the fattened calf!”
His father said to him, “Look dear son. You have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours. We had to celebrate this happy day. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” Luke 15:11-32
In this parable, the man actually had two prodigal sons. The younger son typifies the repentant believer and the older son a religious hypocrite. Both squandered their father’s wealth of love on satisfying personal desires.
Unlike his older brother, the younger son eventually realized his self-righteousness was ugly. Unfulfilling. Unkind. Abandoning his pride. He returned home to seek his father’s forgiveness.
Which prodigal son are you?
Do you seek your heavenly Father’s will for your life? Or chase the approval of man?
Do you invest your time, talents and resources into the building of the Lord’s Kingdom? Or are you building your kingdom?
Do you obey the Lord’s truth? Or is the god of this world– satan and his doctrines of lies your worldview?
Do you trust the Lord? Remaining within the boundaries He has established for your life? Or do you devise a “Plan B”? Taking matters into your own hands when things are not progressing as quickly as you desire.
Do you receive the Lord’s grace unconditionally? Or do you try to manipulate Him with your works of self-righteousness?
Do you walk in peace and joy even in the midst of a storm? Or are fear and hopelessness your sailing companions?
Do you remain steadfast and persevere until the enemy of your soul, satan retreats in defeat? Or do you wave the white flag of surrender when life becomes uncomfortable? Unpredictable? Prayers remain unanswered?
Do you seek the Lord even when He is silent? Or do you retreat into your little world of self-righteousness for comfort and security?
Why did the older prodigal son’s heart remain cold and hard? His pride— self-righteousness created a heart of stone. His heart was incapable of graciously receiving his father’s unconditional love.
He refused to admit that knowledge makes us proud of ourselves. While love makes us helpful to others. In fact, people who think they know so much don’t know anything at all. But God has no doubts about who loves Him. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3
Yes, all believers were once foolish. Disobedient. Deceived. Slaves to our desires and various pleasures too. We were spending our lives in evil behavior and jealousy. We were disgusting, and we hated other people.
But when God our Savior’s kindness and love appeared. He saved us because of His mercy. Not because of righteous things we had done.
He did it through the washing of new birth and the renewing by the Holy Spirit. Which God poured out upon us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior. So, since we have been made righteous by His grace. We can inherit the hope for eternal life. Titus 3:3-7
Do not be misled. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father. Who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us His true word. And we, out of all creation became His prized possession. James 1:16-18
You may think that the situation is hopeless, but God gives us more grace when we turn away from our own interests. That’s why Scripture says, “God opposes the proud, but He pours out grace on the humble.”
So submit yourselves to the one true God and fight against the devil and his schemes. If you do, he will run away in failure.
Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you.
Wash your hands. You have dirtied them in sin.
Cleanse your heart because your mind is split down the middle— your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other.
Now is the time to lament, to grieve, and to cry. Dissolve your laughter into sobbing and exchange your joy for depression.
Lay yourself bare, facedown to the ground in humility before the Lord, and He will lift your head so you can stand tall. James 4:6-10
With God’s grace how can you resist the devil the next time he attacks?
What is one thing you can do today to strengthen your relationship with Papa?
Is there sin in your life?
Are you building Papa’s Kingdom or yours?
If you answered yes to either question, spend some quality time with Papa. Allow Him unconditional access to your heart.
(Excerpt from I AM COMMANDER IN CHIEF)