It’s been said that the pain of losing $20 is more severe than the joy of having it in your pocket. We all know what it feels like to lose something we prize — finding it again is extra sweet because of the pain of losing it in the first place! And we feel it even more intensely when it comes to relationships. One of the beautiful things about Jesus is his heart is to recover and restore what was once lost…Join us this Sunday as we see God’s heart for the joy of restoration in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.
1. Change is a choice we seldom choose.
- When we’re making choices that are ultimately self-destructive or dishonoring to God, we often won’t choose what’s best for us until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of changing.
- We see from the Prodigal Son story that we get in the most trouble when we’re alone. When we isolate ourselves from the godly people in our lives, we have no one to help us stay out of sin.
- But as soon as we examine our lives and invite the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the places in our hearts we’re running from God, if we choose to embrace change, God not only welcomes us home, but walks with us as we work to make those changes.
As you examine your life, in what area do you need to choose change?
2. We charge people for what we get for free.
- In the story Jesus told, the older brother had to share some of his inheritance to welcome the prodigal son home…but he struggled with the idea of his younger brother coming home at all. He was so frustrated that someone who hadn’t been living righteously as he had been was receiving the father’s full benefits and blessings anyway.
- All of us (at different times in our lives) have been both brothers. Probably for most of us, we can think of an example of a relationship in our lives where we’re struggling to extend grace. Because Jesus has freely extended grace to us, he invites us to do the same for others.
- This question requires some vulnerability, but it’s a key way we can start to walk like Jesus in the world.
In which relationship is God asking you to extend grace?
3. We all can be adopted.
- Sometimes we have trouble adapting to the Christian life because we forget we’ve been adopted by Jesus.
- When the prodigal son came home, he asked his father to treat him like a hired servant and let him earn his way to live with him again. When we start bartering with God, we’re asking God to treat us like a hired servant so we can buy our way back too…but that’s not the heart of the Father. When we’ve repented of our sins and returned to the Father, we need his help to embrace our identity as God’s children and receive his love, rather than rejecting his forgiveness by continuing to punish ourselves. God calls us children and accepts us freely instead.
In what areas of your life do you need to embrace your identity as a child of God?