One of the most interesting parables that Jesus taught was about the prodigal son. It reflects several themes, but, for this particular setting, we are going to focus on the attitudes we have toward God.
Early into the setting, we are introduced to a father and his two sons. The father has granted the youngest son's wish of dividing his inheritance portion to him now.
Upon receiving his substance, the young man journeys to a far country, wherein, he wasted all his inheritance.
This is the first illustrated attitude we encounter. At the death of their father, Jewish law would allot of the estate, 2/3rds to the eldest and 1/3rd to the youngest. The previous events depict that the father had abdicated his wealth prior to his death. The request of the son was one of REBELLION. He was reluctant to live any longer with his father. This was against the father's will.
So often we can find ourselves at the very place this young man had come to. We as "Word People" know how to have our prayers answered. Sometimes out problem is the amount of time we've spent in our prayer closet. We enter in with only one agenda,OURS.
We Don't Take The Time to get past what's on Our Heart to see what God wants to put into our hearts.
This leads to a self-driven life. Not only can God not use you any longer, but, this improper relationship with God leads you down the wrong path.
You see, this young man not only journeys to a far country, but, after a chain of events that he had set into motion, in his state of un-clearness and hopelessness, he joins himself to a citizen of that country.
We so many times, at this part of the young man's life, join ourselves to the devil. Once our security, safety, and provision in Christ is challenged, we are easily made prey to all the Devil's devices.
Our stand with our heavenly father becomes a revolt. Because of our immorality and abandonment of our previous loyalties to God, we begin to suffer the painful consequences of our being disobedient.
We give the Devil opportunity to control our senses. His goal is to constantly trod us down, until we either give in to him completely, or, as in the young man's case, begins to wise up, see his tactics, and learn the hard way that the grass is not always greener on the other side.
We come to ourselves and begin to examine what we have now without God to what we had with God. Only when we renounce our rebellion and submit ourselves to God, can we reflect the Devils hold on us and begin our journey home.
With swiftness, open arms, and rejoicing are we welcomed home by God. The young man's father testifies of our own glorious father, God. He saw his son from far off.
He had been watching for him. Our God is always ready to welcome us home. To immediately begin to care for us with the best he can offer. Our restoration is made complete by our genuine repentance. Our once hardened heart is now pliable, which enables you a deeper relationship with God.
The eldest son's role is one of a self anointing and a boastful nature. We learn early on that this character has a form of his rightful place but he denies the power thereof.
In the present, a Christian with these attitudes is not only counter productive, but deadly.
The Christian that the eldest son represents is a fool. If all your church going and church works has only the one goal of pleasing yourself, then, all of your works is dead.He portrays the Christian who won't listen to sound advice. His father pleaded with him to no avail. So often the signs of a misleading life is addressed, but we turn our heads and focus on someone else's shortcomings.
The persona of this Christian is misleading. For all his good works and good intentions get him nowhere. He basically has to be a shell of a man. Nothing solid. Nothing useful. No light. No references to the fact that he serves a loving and caring God.
It would be so much easier for us as Christians, to allow God to do the promoting. Whether in our personal or professional life, if you humble yourself to God, He will exalt you.
The Christian with the attitude of "He got more or better than I did," was addressed. We always look at what is on someone else's plate and never see that ours is over running with the same blessings.
The angered Christian is crippled in his senses just as the eldest son had been. It never states that the eldest son learned what was being taught by his father. He never realized that it's not on the outside, but rather, what's on the inside that counts. He never learned to act, instead of react to situations, And that this, his life-style, should be one of a peacemaker always showing others love. The imaginary role of the eldest son could have won an Oscar. For he portrays himself, in all his righteousness, to have never transgressed against his father's commandments (Move over Jesus ... Heaven Fordid!!)
The eldest son is a dangerous man. If only he would assume his rightful role and make proper use of his citizenship with his father. The father tells his son all that he has is his. He could at any time have the same love showered upon him as the youngest had. The problem was the eldest never allows himself to make use of it. He has concentrated on the past and himself, and never fully enjoys the relationship offered by his father today.
The father's attitude all during this parable is of a wise man. This fully mature man understands and desires (just as our Heavenly Father) to have a richer, deeper, and dynamic relationship with loved ones. This attitude is made evident in our abilities to see and treat others with the same respect that God treats us.
The father affirms that the greatest thing to have and to offer of yourself is love. Love covers everyone's
shortcomings. It not only makes way for the provisions in Christ, but it serves as a beacon for all the
above mentioned attitudes to find their way back home to God.