Over the last few weeks my pastor has been teaching through Luke 15. This chapter has the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. If you aren't familiar with these stories, you can read the chapter pretty quickly here. It has been a really challenging few weeks for me. When looking at the Prodigal son parable, he pointed out that there are 2 ways to be alienated from God:
1. The first way is to go off and break all the rules. Basically a mindset of "show me the rules and I will break them." Blatant rebellion and disobedience.
2. The second is to make the rules your god. Basically a mindset of "show me the rules and I will keep them so well that I don't need a Savior."
The 2 sons are the example of the two ways to alienate yourself from God. I think there is much to learn from both, so I am going to share some key things that challenged me during these sermons. Here are a few key points that hit me about the first type of alienation:
- He pointed out that sin is often a good things turned into an ultimate thing. Exact words. I am studying thru "No Other Gods" again with my dgroup... apparently God is trying to teach me something about this whole making something good into something ultimate. (You can read here to see what I mean)
- For the younger son, something became more important to him than the father. How true that can be on a daily basis in my own life, I make trivial worldly things more important than my Heavenly Father!
- By asking the father for his inheritance early, the younger son was, in essence, saying "I want you dead. Your stuff is way more important than you!" How often I basically say to God, "Forget you God, I want what you made not you!" My actions and choices each day scream this thought!
- Sin is wasteful. The younger son went off and wasted all that the father had given him. I had never even considered this. It wastes out time, energy, and our love. It wastes what could be used for God's glory.
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. Luke 15:20-24
Praise the Lord that while we are a long way off (I know I often am) He has compassion on us!!