Reading the parable of the Prodigal Son is great. It hits different when you are that Prodigal Son.
You read this parable with fresh eyes when you have done what the younger son did; turn back on the father to live a life of indulgence and sensual pleasure.
That was me.
This was a time when I saw my sinful desires prevail more often than not, and I was veering off the road of holiness so much so that I couldn’t see the road anymore.
I was constantly dabbling in immorality, while neglecting to refresh myself on God’s Word and prayer. The hypocrisy of living a double-life was too much bear, and I was filled with shame and guilt every time I had to go before my brothers and tell them I messed up again.
Slowly, I was giving up on my fight against sin. In my pride, I decided to keep myself away from God, my church and anything to do with Christianity, because I thought I was beyond God’s grace.
This was the start of a two year period away. No Bible, no prayer, no fellowship, no nothing. Those two years were a miserable time, because I was trying to hide myself. I kept telling myself that I’m an unbeliever, since no true believer would live like this. My church tried to reach out to me, my family was concerned, yet I kept fending them all off.
But God didn’t turn His back on me. Though I was unfaithful, He remained faithful.
I had my moment of “coming to my senses” and there was nothing more that I wanted than to return to God. I remember listening to the audio Bible of Romans those days. The declaration of Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” resounded joyously in my heart.
I met up with a couple from my church, confessed my sin to them, and I was received back lovingly. It was symbolic of God receiving me back.
Still Prone To Wander
It’s been 3 years since all this happened. I can say that Jesus has put me on firmer ground since then.
Yet when I look at Luke 15 again, I realize that the tendencies of the younger son remain. My inclination to wander away and walk into sin remains. I sometimes think it has intensified.
Though I desire that I may be steadfast in keeping the Lord’s statues (Ps. 119:5), I find myself doing the evil I do not want to do (Rom. 7:19).
Then again, looking at Luke 15, I see that the Father’s heart remains the same. The actions of the father in the parable is very reassuring for a Prodigal Son like me.
After reading Luke 15:11-24 again, here’s what I saw:
- The Father’s Compassion: as the son was walking back home, the father saw him from afar and was filled with compassion. The father wasn’t disgusted to see his wayward son, he didn’t turn his face way. Instead his heart was drawn towards him and he ran to meet him.
- The Father’s Response: I’m pretty sure that the son was in a sorry state: disheveled, unwashed and emaciated, yet the father did not flinch. He went to him, embraced and kissed his son. An incredible response to an ungrateful son.
- The Father’s Celebration: it doesn’t end with the father just hugging and kissing his son. He wanted everyone in his household to share in his joy, so he makes preparations for a party. He has he best of meat set out and he wants everyone to rejoice with him for his son who was lost has been found. The joy of the father is overflowing.
Just One Step Back
What did the younger son say after his father runs to hug and kiss him? “Father I am unworthy to be called your son.” (v21) What a silly response! Any thought of unworthiness should have been be banished from his mind as soon as he saw his father running toward him.
Yet this is the response many of us give when the gospel beckons us. We acknowledge our sin but we refuse to believe that we are forgiven and still retain our status as children.
Maybe it’s the toll of mental and emotional turmoil of constantly rebelling against God. The constant accusation our conscience lays at our feet – reminding us of our mistakes and sin.
Even so, we always repent. We always turn back to Christ. You may say that you are 10,000 steps away, but it’s really just one step back.
You may say that you feel unworthy to be called a child of God, but Jesus Christ sees it differently. If indeed you have put your faith in him and turned away from your sin, then you are His.
You can be assured that God will embrace and rejoice over you when you repent, because in Christ, He is looking on us in tenderness and care.
Always repent, always turn your eyes upon Jesus. No matter the feelings of being unworthy or the guilt that is wrought by our conscience, look to Christ, who loved us and gave Himself for us (Gal 2:20).
“Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.” (2 Th. 16-17)
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