Archive for the ‘The Prodigal’ Category

If you are like me you’re always looking for a good time, a place for a party. You just want to feel good. What can the parable of the prodigal teach us about that?

If you haven’t read the first part of this series titled Which Son are You? You can find it here.

This is the second part of a series originally written by Phil Drysdale you can find the original articles here.

Verse 31 of this parable is the most sobering verse and yet, the best news too. “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.’” You see, this reveals that the older brother, while always with the father, didn’t necessarily realize it. He was complaining that the younger brother got a party but the father’s response shows that he could have had a big party with the father all along if he so desired.

Desire

The key word here is “desire.” The older brother didn’t desire the right thing. He wasn’t pleasure motivated but rather acceptance motivated. He worked for acceptance rather than realizing that he was accepted. It is in relationship with the Father and enjoying Him that we fulfill our calling in life, it is in our pleasure in Him that we find satisfaction. In some way the younger brother had the right idea. He was pleasure motivated. We look at this as a terrible thing and that he was the lesser of the two brothers for leaving home and turning his back on the father, but really he was seeking what he was created for, he just never knew it was right there at home. The older brother, however, had it much worse… he never sought pleasure, he was still working hard for his father’s acceptance. If you are fighting to earn approval from the Father you will never step into the pleasure of the Father. But if you are seeking pleasure in the wrong place, the world, it at least is likely to lead to a place of returning to the Father, knowing that the world doesn’t satisfy.

I know that’s a hard pill to swallow but the truth is we were created for pleasure – God fills with you His joy with one purpose: that your joy might be complete (John 15:11). Even Jesus was motivated by joy (Heb 12:2). You experiencing satisfaction and fullness of joy in God is a big deal to Him.

I look at it this way, one son was standing next to the father with his eyes closed and all his senses deadened. The other son was running in the opposite direction but was using all his senses to find the fulfillment of his desire for pleasure.

Is it good that there are so many in the world, and in our churches, that are seeking pleasure from the world? No of course not; it’s tragic. But it at least means they haven’t hardened their heart to enjoying Him when they are in His midst. That is the greatest tragedies of all.

What’s our job?

We have a ministry to both brothers. It is our responsibility to point those that are seeking pleasure towards the Source of all pleasure, to bring people into an encounter with the One who loves them. Likewise, it is our responsibility to encourage those who are working for acceptance from the Father to know that they are fully accepted and that their only task now is to enjoy Him and all that He has done for them.

You see, the only thing worse than trying to fulfill your requirement for pleasure in the wrong thing, is not trying to fulfill it at all. The party is in the knowledge of the Father’s acceptance. Can you enjoy the party?

Which Son are You?

Posted: November 1, 2012 in The Prodigal
Tags: , , ,

For the last 2 months I have been constantly thinking of the parable of the prodigal son. I’ve actually tried to write on this topic several times before but didn’t feel like I had a firm grasp on what the Holy Spirit was giving me at the time. I understand the princeable of the the parable as it is often taught, but I really love to peel back layer after layer getting as much truth as I can out of the Bible.

The following will be a two parts of a three part series written originally by Phil Drysdale with some added by yours truly. You can find the original articles here, here and here.

It fascinates me that the parable of the prodigal son had two sons in it. We often focus so much on the son that turned his back on the father because that is the analogy for the one that is “lost”. However this parable was never about unbelievers… there were no unbelievers that Jesus was speaking to. He was speaking to the Jews, who at this time were the people of God. We forget that it was Paul who preached to unbelievers!
I think in light of this we should really be looking at the parable in a more introspective manner rather than at unbelievers outside the church (although I do agree the underlying principles of God’s acceptance etc are very applicable).

There are two sons in the story who aren’t connected to their father. They don’t seem to know what they have. One son is not finding any value in his relationship with the father and is definitely not enjoying himself, so he asks to be cut off from the father and pursues pleasure and entertainment in the world. The other son however, seems to be equally disconnected from the father and is working hard to gain his attention in the hopes that he might be noticed.

What can we learn from each brother?

The younger brother

There are many people in the church today who are like the first son, they are disillusioned, the church promised the world and they aren’t interested… they try and try to please God to gain His favour and attention, to grow to be more and more holy and they fail miserably because they are doing it based on their own efforts to keep the law. This leads them to leave and to pursue pleasure and acceptance in the world – this might not be a literal leaving, many of these people are in the church, you and I know them… you and I sometimes are them. Our prayer is that at some point, like this son, they realize that their own efforts to fill the void are useless and they need to return to God. Hopefully this time round they have a revelation of who they are, because this type of Christian is most commonly created by churches that teach law, works and effort – any church that tells you that you need to please God or that God will be unhappy with you if you fail to keep his law will be producing these types of Christians.

The older brother

The older brother is fascinating though, it is a different result caused by the same type of preaching. This brother continues to strive and work hard and doesn’t give up! There is no relationship created with God here, it only drives a wedge further between you and God when you try to work for His affection (1 Cor 15:56, Gal 5:4). This son is the saddest thing to see, as a son all along he doesn’t know it and worst still falls into resentment and betterment when other people allow grace to embrace them. When his brother comes back and accepts the grace of his father this son is filled with rage because he “deserves” more, not knowing that his righteousness is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).

This is a dangerous breed of Christian, not only do they not accept grace for themselves but worst still they try to tear down those who do! They are like the Jews who became Christians and would go to the gentiles trying to convince them to follow the laws of the Old Testament that they might be right before God. Paul is regularly rebuking these Christians.

How it affects me

I often find a works mindset creeping in and effecting me in the ways of both the parable’s sons from time to time. This parable helps sober me and ask God to renew my mind to the reality that I am a son, it was nothing of my own doing and I deserve it just as much as everyone else… which is not at all 🙂 (Thank you Jesus!)

My prayer is that we can renew our minds to the reality of Christ in us, that we realize our sonship and become a third son in the church. One who believes in what Christ did for us on the cross, not because we deserved it or loved Him enough, but because He is good and loved us first. Believing too that He loved the guy we don’t really like and think deserves it less than us too!