“There was a man who had two sons.” Lk 15:11 NIV
The real star in the parable of the prodigal son is the father. He had two boys. One was rebellious, the other was religious. But he loved each of them. And because they were his family he refused to give up on them. While the younger brother was away wallowing in sin, the older brother was at home wallowing in self-righteousness. One was guilty of the sins of the flesh (the obvious ones); the other was guilty of the sins of the spirit (the not-so-obvious ones). Only when the younger brother lost everything, did he discover that living in submission to his father’s rule was the safest, most fulfilling place you can be. Only when the older brother discovered the difference between rule-keeping and relationship, was he able to understand his father’s words, “Everything I have is yours” (Lk 15:31 NIV). One was a miserable rule keeper; the other was a miserable rule breaker. (Which are you?) The problem was, neither boy really knew the heart of their father because they were self-centered. But that changed when they discovered that he loved them in spite of their flaws, and planned to bless them. Understand this: you can read the Bible, go to church, keep all the rules—and not really know God’s faithfulness, His love, and His plan for you. Until you really know God, you’ll have no anchor in life; you’ll be tossed to and fro by every circumstance, emotion and temptation. But when you know Whose you are, you’ll begin to understand who you are, what you’re supposed to do, and where you’re supposed to be.
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