Updated: Mar 2
"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Galatians 5:1
Ponder: Two grown up children, the first one decides to leave home and make a real mess of things, some really bad choices. The second child stays home and dutifully looks after the home and his parents. The first child comes home, the father is so happy he runs to meet the child as he is on his way home, hugs him and throws a party. The second child is really jealous. Nobody has ever done that for him. He has the presence of his parents everyday, a more consistent steady life, the first child didn't expect to be received with such joy. The second child also did not expect his brother to be received with such joy. The father loves both sons, but differently expressed. The sons also responded differently, one was really humble with no expectations, and the other was really jealous. Read the account of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15: 11-32 (See challenge section). Ponder your reactions as you read. They might tell you something about yourself and something you need to talk about with Abba, Father.
Action: Imagine yourself in the shoes of both brothers. Sit with your Abba, Father and talk to Him about the times you have been far from Him, and thank Him for the delight He has when you turn back towards Him. A delight you do not deserve but what God gives you freely. Sit in the shoes of the second brother. Then talk to him about how you think others get what you deserve. Give God your envy. You deserve nothing when you think of the grace and mercy of the cross. Then thank Abba for never leaving you, and always being present for you. This is what God gives you freely...every day. New every morning...Lamentations 3:22-23.
Prayer: Lord, thank you so much for Your delight in me. I do not deserve this at all. Your mercy and grace, especially when I think of what I have done, amaze and humble me. Forgive me when I allow envy of others to get in the way of my relationship with You, thank you for Your eternal presence, a gift that you have given so very freely. May your love and delight in me move me to choose to obey You in deeper ways today. Amen
Challenge: Read and ponder the story of the Prodigal son. Let the reality of God's love for you deepen as you read His Word:
Then he said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’
“So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to feel it. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corn-cobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any.
“That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father.
“When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’
“But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a prize-winning heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.
“All this time his older son was out in the field. When the day’s work was done he came in. As he approached the house, he heard the music and dancing. Calling over one of the houseboys, he asked what was going on. He told him, ‘Your brother came home. Your father has ordered a feast—barbecued beef!—because he has him home safe and sound.’
“The older brother stomped off in an angry sulk and refused to join in. His father came out and tried to talk to him, but he wouldn’t listen. The son said, ‘Look how many years I’ve stayed here serving you, never giving you one moment of grief, but have you ever thrown a party for me and my friends? Then this son of yours who has thrown away your money on whores shows up and you go all out with a feast!’
“His father said, ‘Son, you don’t understand. You’re with me all the time, and everything that is mine is yours—but this is a wonderful time, and we had to celebrate. This brother of yours was dead, and he’s alive! He was lost, and he’s found!’” Luke 15: 11-32 MSG