“When he came to his senses…”- Luke 15:17a
(Read the Parable of the Lost Son in Context in- Luke 15:11-32)
Anyone who has walked in sin for any length of time can testify that it’s truly only fun for a season- lol! It will always take you farther from God than you ever intended (v.13), it will demand of you more than you could ever hope to pay (v.13), and it will imprison you in chains that are harder to break off than they are to put on (v.14-16)! We see this in the “Parable of the Lost Son” found in Luke 15:11-32.
It’s safe to say that the younger son never intended to fall a far as he did. Being forced to eat with pigs may just seem like gross imagery to us but to the Jews, this was beyond detestable. Pigs were considered the most ritually unclean of all of the unclean animals.
Jesus was giving His Jewish listeners a very graphic picture of the reality of sin! From a reader’s perspective, it seems astonishing to us that it’s not until verses 16 and 17, when he has been degraded to dining in the filth of swine, that he realizes that he has fallen further than intended! However, we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and are guilty of not returning home as soon as we should have, let alone guilty of leaving home in the first place!
Of all of the things that prove themselves hard in the Christian walk, perhaps there is none more difficult than “Repentance”. Many of us “Christians” find it easier to define “repentance” than we do to actually live it out. However, its definition is even more complex than many of us realize. The Hebrew versions of “Repent” mean “to return” and to “feel sorrow”. This was the old testament understanding of repentance but with the coming of our Savior, we realize that it means that and so much more! The Greek word for “Repent” in the New Testament is “Metanoia”, which literally means a change of mind and thought process. In other words, a transformation!
We see this in verses 17-20 of our parable. The prodigal son gives us a model of what “True Repentance” looks like. The Repentance Process starts with revelation. You see when we walk into sin, it is ALWAYS because we believed a lie that led us there (one we have failed to recognize and rebuke)… oddly enough, it is that same lie that tends to keep us there!
Accepting the revelation of a countering truth is the first step towards freedom! We must recognize and call the lies for what they are, and then set our minds to believing God’s Word about our sin, about who He says we are, and about who God is! You see, it’s not enough to just try and change our own minds about sin because sin itself alters and distorts our mind in that it changes our beliefs about God and ourselves; which also becomes sin. To be truly repentant, we need a transformed mind and right theology given to us by the Holy Spirit, not just righteous actions. We need to take God at His Word and lay every lie at His feet!
I have noticed that there is a prevalent tendency among us “Christians” (including myself) to automatically assume that the story of the Prodigal Son doesn’t apply to us. In fact, we often do it with every sermon that we hear or read- lol. Instead of listening to our own benefit, we usually start thinking to ourselves, ‘I wish “So and So” was here because they really need to hear this message!’ Or, ‘I sure hope “So and So” is getting this!’ LOL!! As funny and silly as that is, the truth is, we all need to hear this message, as well as every other message from God’s Word! I would even go so far as to say that no one ever needed to hear a sermon more than the one who foolishly believes that they don’t!
There is only ONE type of person whom Jesus won’t set free, and it’s those who won’t admit that they are in bondage! You see, maybe you don’t see yourself in the younger brother but then you could probably find yourself in the older “righteous” brother. Even though he claimed differently, he was not without sin. The exact opposite actually, he was guilty of the sin who’s root is always the deepest… PRIDE! He was self-righteous, jealous, envious, and bitter. If he was truly without sin and not in need of repentance, His Father (whom represents God) wouldn’t have had to speak truth to him in an attempt to “TURN HIS MIND AROUND”! Confess your sin; confess it to the LORD and confess it to your brothers and sisters in Christ (v.18, v.21). And if you are on the receiving end of that confession, accept it without condemnation or judgment, lest you be caught with a stone in our hand!
Everything in our nature desires to hide in our sin as Adam and Eve did in the Garden (Gen. 3); but that’s part of the lie of Satan and opposite of the will of God! Nothing gets healed in the dark because that is where the enemy thrives. We are wise to not believe that we are above falling for the the enemy’s lies; God’s Word tells us that even a strong man can be bound up in sin (Matt. 12:29) and when that happens, all that we posses spiritually can be stolen from us! Though painful, bring your sin into the light through your confession and let God set you free in the mighty name of Jesus (Matt. 5:15, 24)!
Don’t deny your need for a changed mind (Matt. 11:20-24)! Be sorry, confess, accept the revelations of God, accept grace, be of a changed mind, rebuke the lies, claim and pro-claim the Truth, change course, and do differently… and do it in that order! Allowing the grace of God to change your mind will not only help set you free, it will open up the flood gates of blessing on your heart, mind, and life! The symbols used in the parable speak of the blessings that come from True Repentance. It tells us that we will receive the Father’s grace and forgiveness (the Robe- Isaiah 61:10, Luke 15:20-24), receive authority over the enemy (the Ring- Luke 10:19), receive the power of the Holy Spirit (Shoes- Acts 1:8), and that we can receive it all in the mighty name of Jesus! AMEN!