Friday, August 24, 2018

Devotion: Unashamed

By Lorraine Goulton @ICFWriters

Luke 15 verses 11-31

A certain father had two very different sons. They all lived on a farm where we are to conclude that the two sons worked. If you know the story of the Prodigal son, you will know that one day, one of the sons decided he was done with working for his father. He asked- in advance- for his share of his fathers estate.  Normally, this share is not given until the death of the parent.

I wonder what was going on in the heart of the son at that time and in the father's heart? The father loved his son very much. He had provided his sons with everything they needed; yet this son seemed to think there was more to be found in Tinseltown.

"I cant wait to get to the Big Smoke" he thought. "I'm out of here".... Out from the Old mans rules...out from getting up early and busting my guts working on the farm.  

I'm going to party hard...with my mates...every single day and night!! Woohooo!! Total freedom is where its at!!

V 14: After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country and he began to be in need. V15. so he went off and hired himself out to a citizen of that country who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. Vs 16. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating but no one gave him anything.

Wasteful living! We have all done it- in our own fashion and in some measure. Some of us start waking up to ourselves when we reach a scenario that is as attractive as a pigpen.

The mood changes. Gone is his money... The pumping music, his drunk mates, ladies of the night- they have all  lost their appeal and have split the scene. Funny that! While he had money, he had lots of.... 'mates'.

The face of his father comes to his mind.

V17: When he came to his senses...

The son starts rehearsing  a speech to his father. He remembers his fathers wise counsel: "Tell the truth and shame the devil."

V18: I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and and against you. v 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men v 20 So he got up and went to his father..

Shame has a way of pounding in our ears and telling us lies. Shame can also motivate us to make new choices if we turn our back on it and tell the truth to ourselves and then to a loving father.

Every man and every woman gets the opportunity to rehearse their own speech. As we go to our earthly and our heavenly Father and speak from the heart, we are released from the shame and become unashamed!  If we hold onto our pride and  collude with shame, we risk being  unforgiven and bound.

What about you ? Have you ever been in a position where you either held onto your pride or you starting rehearsing a speech?

This story is a picture of the love of a heavenly father who loves all of us but puts no pressure on us to come to him.

So where are you in the story of the prodigal son? Do you identify with either son?  Do you get a sense  that this was really about a fathers love for his children?

In reading the parable many times, I had no sense of pressure or coercion to come to the father for relationship. However that is what our Heavenly Father is actually more interested in. Yes- its one thing to go to our parents and ask for a loan but a parent longs for relationship. At the end of the day, the prodigal son sees it was all a waste of time to indulge in temporary thrills. He wanted his relationship with his father restored. 

It all comes down to identity. The prodigal son now had a revelation that he was already a  son  in his fathers house and had been, all along.   The father loved him enough to let him  go and try out the temporary things of this world that he believed would bring him life.

The father wasted no time after hearing his sons confession. He asked his servants to quickly bring the best robe and then a ring, then sandals on his feet. He had to celebrate the return of his son.  His son  now had a revelation that he was and still is a loving Father. Our Heavenly Father also puts on a party when we acknowledge His great love for us and with our free will, recite our prepared speech 

The son was beginning to see he had a whole inheritance to step into that was heavenly, invisible and eternal.  Is this something you have ever given thought to?  His earthly father appeared to be quite rich but a heavenly Father has far more for us in terms of inheritance.We dont know how long it took  the son  to get to a heart  shift from "Give me" to "Father I  have sinned against heaven and against you".

The father was so patient and kind towards his sons- both of them- and yet the elder brother changed  his tune and resented the attention shown to his brother by his father upon his return.  God equally loves the son who remained at home who spurns  the love and the inheritance that his father has for him. For those who spurn His love, they still have the opportunity to accept what the father has for them.   

It seemed to be unjust to the faithful son who had stayed at home. We do not know how long his brother had been away. Is it possible that this faithful brother was harbouring anger at his brother and at his father because maybe in his mind, this killing the fatted calf was just too unjust??? Or was this about the fact that this son had actually chosen to harden his heart at the perceived injustice of a feast! 

Maybe this was the older son getting a revelation of the grace and forgiveness of God. 

The last word comes from the father Vs 31. " 'My son,' the father said, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.vs 32. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead(spiritually) and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "

In conclusion,  in the parables of the lost coin and the lost sheep, someone went looking for them. These reflect material possessions however how much more valuable is a soul who is found!!!!!! This time, the Father waited for the son to come to himself. That is where God comes in. He waits. And Waits. And waits. He waits for US to make the first move back to Him. He; in His great love for us MUST let us decide if we want to be found. His heart more than desperately wants us to come to Him but  He also gave us a freewill. This means we are FREE to do as we WILL.... and that can be for good or bad. We get to choose what we WILL. 

What a risk God takes!! All LOVING!!!  He allows us the respect,  dignity and  the honour to CHOOSE for ourselves the bend of our will.  God is a perfect gentleman and he will let us do what we want. 

In this example, the younger son -of his own freewill- chose to return to  the silent but steady love and waiting Father. It would not be love freely reciprocated, if He demanded the affections of our heart.

About Lorraine Goulton

Hi, Im Lorraine Goulton from Masterton North Island New Zealand. I love writing and passionately working on my first work about our Identity in Christ.  I know what it is to stuff things up and rehearse speeches. I enjoy shaming the devil!

Married to Colin, we have 7 daughters between us and  have 13 granddchildren.  Currently working  as a Registered Nurse with Wairarapa DHB. Also a volunteer Support Coordinator for Crisis Pregnancy Support-Wairarapa.

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