Saturday, March 2, 2013

March 3, 2013

"Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.“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. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.  So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything. “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! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 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.“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’“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.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.  For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’  “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.  But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!" Luke 15:11-30

This beloved parable serves as an illustration of how those who are children fall into becoming slaves. Each son did it in a different way but each ended up in bondage. They both were troubled in their souls but both misjudged the reason why.

The younger son had the attitude "I want"! He foolishly demanded his rights. If the father would only give him what was rightly his he would find fulfillment. But instead he become a slave of his own foolish greed. In squandering his fortune he found misfortune.

Now the older brother stayed home and played by the rules. He served his father and did his part. But during that time he developed the attitude "I deserve". And that attitude enslaved him in feelings of envy, resentment and frustration.

Only when the younger son had lost it all did he begin to realize that everything he really needed and wanted was at home with his father. He returned from his slavery to rediscover sonship.

Unfortuntely, the older brother never did.

This diagram shows the two extremes of spiritual slavery. On one side is what I call "rights" and it is characterized by the belief that happiness comes from having what I want and doing what I want. But like the Prodigal, it always ends up in slavery to those desires.

On the other end is what I call "religion". As the older brother illustrates, this form of slavery results from living close to the father and working for the father but trying to earn his love and favor rather than just  receiving it. And the attitude that kept him from receiving it was "I deserve".

Real satisfaction comes from being a son not demanding your rights or being religious.

Don't turn from the father like the young son. Don't spurn the father like the older brother.

Return to Him! Come home! Give up your rights and forget being religious. Confess you don't want anything but Him and that you don't deserve anything from Him. Just let Him be your Father and find your home in Him!


 RIGHTS                       RELIGION
           “I Want” <------------------------------------------------------> “I Deserve”
-------------------------------------> SONSHIP <-------------------------------------
  “Daddy, I’m home!”
How is it with your soul?

Where are you on this diagram?

Where do you want to be?