Many of us who seem to do everything right are actually posing, working to impress God and prove something to Him. And then there are those of us who have run away from God, trying to figure out life on our own. But we have to come to our senses and realize that God cares so deeply about each of us personally that He will spend extravagantly to help us know His love.
In the Bible there is a story called the prodigal son story. It’s found in Luke 15:11-32 if you want to read the whole story, but here’s a quick snapshot of it: A father’s younger son took his inheritance early but ran away and wasted it all, and had to get a lowly job feeding pigs. The Bible says that eventually he came to his senses and went home, where his father was waiting for him. The father was overjoyed that his son had returned, and threw him a grand party. But the older son was upset, because he had always done everything asked of him, yet his younger brother received a feast.
One definition of prodigal is “spending recklessly.” This story isn’t just about a wayward son, but a prodigal God who will go to incredible lengths to reach even one person so that they can have a relationship with Him. He is never wasteful, but will spend everything if it means furthering His mission and purpose.
The father in this story represents God, and he was waiting on his son to come home. If we are in self-discovery mode like the younger son, God is waiting for us to come to our senses and go back to Him, where He is waiting for us with open arms.
The older son, though, seemed like he had everything together. He had always done what was right, but what was in his heart didn’t line up with his actions. He was a poser in self-righteous mode, and many of us are like him. We come to church, do and say all of the right things, but our hearts aren’t in it. If this is you, God wants you to come to your senses, too, and begin to have a real relationship with Him.
It doesn’t matter where we are in our lives right now. Christ is the one who helps us change; we don’t have to change before we come to Him! We can come out of self-discovery mode, or self-righteous mode, and go straight to Him.