Coming To Our Senses
“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men 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 men.'” (Luke 15:17-19)
The son is finally beginning to get it! Sense is certainly a welcomed player on the scene. Sometimes our conditions are so desperate that the only direction for us to look is up–and look up is exactly what the son does.
God always listens to the cry of the destitute. The Bible tells us:
He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea.
However, when we are totally full of ourselves, God, like the Father in this parable, has wisdom to show restraint. I am certain the father in this story could have sent his servants with food to fill his son’s growling stomach, but what good would that have done? Certainly the father would have ended up with a satisfied, but foolish, and perpetually discontented offspring!
God is waiting for us to return to Him. It is the repentant heart that He always welcomes:
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. (Psalm 51:17)
God desires for us to be totally spent of ourselves, in order that we may have room to be filled with His glory through the precious Holy Spirit! Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians:
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18)
The more there is of us, the less there is of Him. This is not a good thing! In needs to be the other way around! John the Baptist says it so precisely:
He must become greater; I must become less. (John 3:30)
This is the divine order of things, and it is also the order that is so glorious for us. Like the prodigal son, we are certainly the big losers when we choose our own way over God’s. Sadly, it seems that we constantly have to repeat the learning of this difficult lesson. The son is now empty, and it is specifically at his moment that he is ready to be reunited with his father. There is a wonderful verse in Jeremiah that speaks so sweetly regarding repentance–which is exactly what this younger son is doing next–turning back to the Father:
Therefore this is what the LORD says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me. (Jeremiah 15:19)
What is so amazing about this verse is that repent and restore are the same words in Hebrew, meaning to turn back, to turn around, to return; it essentially denotes the movement back to the point of departure. God has not moved away from us, we have moved from Him. What I find to be such a wonderful blessing in the verse from Jeremiah is that if I willingly turn to Him, He will willingly bring me home.
Take It to Heart
“I have asked you to give, in order that I may bless you more. I have challenged you to pray, so that I may respond and help you. I have asked you to rejoice, in order to keep you from being swallowed up by anxieties. I have asked you to be humble, to protect you from the calamities that fall upon the proud. I have asked you to forgive, in order to make your heart fit to receive My forgiveness. I have asked you not to love the world, for I would have you released from unnecessary entanglements, free to follow Me. Holiness is not a feeling–it is the end product of obedience. Purity is not a gift–it is the result of repentance and serious pursuit of God.”
(Frances J. Roberts)