by Melissa Parkhouse
I want to share a testimony this week:
I was feeling distant from God and wanting to be closer to Him. So I came up with all these strategies and things I could do to close the distance I felt between God and myself. I had all these elaborate, frankly legalistic, plans for what I was going to do to fix things- modify my behavior, change things up, just so that I could once again feel closer to Jesus.
Have you been there?
“I’m going to do more bible study!” “I’m going to fast!” “I’m going to DO all these things to EARN the attention of my heavenly Father.” As I wrestled with this distance I was feeling in my heart I FINALLY cried out to God and this is what he spoke to my heart:
“Daughter, all you had to do is turn.”
It made me think about a story in Luke 15, about two sons who didn’t know how much their father loved them.
The first son, the younger son, left home and squandered his inheritance on unfulfilling pursuits, hoping that it would solve some ache in his heart. He ended up broke and feeding pigs- And he concluded that it would be better to return home and beg to be a slave than to expect that his father would care for him in his mess… So he heads home to beg for a place as a slave in his father’s household. Check out how his father responds:
Luke 20:15 says this, “And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him”
Are you like the younger son? Have you made mistakes and committed wrongs and you cannot imagine God the Father being willing to take you back until you’ve cleaned yourself up? Would you rather work for a place in your heavenly Father’s household than accept his love and compassion for you?
There is another son in the story that you need to know about: The older brother. Your standard first born, extremely responsible, he worked diligently for his father and you wouldn’t have a clue that something was wrong until you see how he responded to his younger brother’s return. His immediate response was accusation: vs 28
“ ‘All these years I’ve slaved for you and never once refused to do a single thing you told me to. And in all that time you never gave me even one young goat for a feast with my friends. 30 Yet when this son of yours comes back after squandering your money on prostitutes, you celebrate by killing the fattened calf!’”
And the father’s response is powerful: “Son, everything I have has always been yours.”
You can continue reading this story for yourself in Luke 15…
Are you like the older son? Striving to do all the right things and keep up appearances? Do you fear that you won’t measure up, so you keep hustling to earn your place in God’s heart?
Now let me ask you this: Did the father’s love change for either of his sons?
So what happened?
They didn’t believe that they truly were his beloved sons.
Beloved sons want relationship with their father. They don’t fear when they mess up and they don’t keep their father at arms length by perpetually performing well in order to show how valuable they are.
Beloved sons receive the love of their father and are confident of their place in his heart.
This week I forgot my place in God’s heart as his beloved daughter. So I behaved like the older brother, trying to earn the love and affection of my Heavenly Father.
I needed to be reminded of the Father’s love for me.
This last Sunday we took communion together. Communion is beautiful symbol of the good news of sonship. When we were far from God Christ came and shed his blood so that not only would we receive forgiveness of sin and eternal life, but adoption into family. So if you’ve run away from your heavenly Father and find yourself in a mess, or find yourself striving instead of resting in the Father’s love for you, today take this moment to be reminded of this:
You are the apple of his eye and the delight of his heart. He has endlessly longed for and pursued you from before time began. He saw you as so valuable that you were worth sending his Son Jesus to save YOU.
Take a moment and, agree with the Father by faith- “I am your beloved son. I am your beloved daughter.”
And turn your heart to the Father…