Monday, July 4, 2011

FREE to Choose (The Prodigal Son)

        Well, today is July 4th. Anything significant about this date? Well, I hope you answer yes! July 4, 1776, very brave men chose to take a step towards freedom. They chose to risk their lives for a hope of a better future for generations to come. They proclaimed freedom from England.

       Our past relationship with England is a great example of a band and unrealistic idea of love. England wanted to force us to "love" them. They wanted us to remain 100% loyal to them. What happened when we decided not to "love" them anymore? They went to war with us! Simply because we chose not to "follow" or be under their rule anymore. They wouldn't have rebellious happening. Forget free will. We had an obligation to follow them.

      God gives us free will to determine whether or not we want to follow Him. He gives us freedom. God is most definitely not like the King of England was. He extends free will to us and love regardless of whether we choose to love Him or not. God allows us to walk away from Him. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-31), it is obvious that the father's ehart was brokent because of his son's rebellion. This is proven by the joyful reunion. If he were stoic about his son's departure and absence, he wouldn't have RUN to meet him. (Luke 15:20)

       Many think this parable is about an unbeliever who has never been saved. However, many points in the story cause me to believe it is about a returning Christian who has wandered from the Faith. We are allowed to break fellowship with God. He won't force us to stay with Him. Many times people blame God for their "stepping off of the path". Just as the father in the parable, God doesn't stop us. He allows us to choose who we want to be with and what we want to do.

       If we were all foced to love Him, we'd be rovots, mindlessly expressing our love for Him. God doesn't want that. Do YOU want that? If you love someone, you want them to love you because they chose to, not because they were forced to. When you love someone, you extend freedom to them. God wants us to serve and love Him freely, because we wanted to.

       In the parable, the son left his father's presence and favor. Did it change the relationship? Yes. Did it change the fact that he was still his son's father? No. The father hurt to see his son go but gave him the freedom to choose. He was his father regardless of his son's choices. Their relationship was (of course) hurt but knowing that no matter what the son chose to do, his father was still his father changes perspective and might have even helped him to turn around easier. If his father had told him, "Well... you can leave but I won't be your father anymore," I'm sure it would have been more difficult to return.

        When we love someone greatly, our pain is multliplied when we are hurt by them. The pastor at Covenant Life Fellowship made a great comment this Sunday, "The greater the capacity to love, the greater the capacity to hurt." What is God's love like? It's perfect and far greater than any human can imagine. Consequently, His pain is also greater. It grieves His heart to watch us walk away. He wants you. He desires you. When you run back to Him, He will run to you.

       He loves you more than you can ever realize. We can't grasp His love. It's perfect and we can't grasp perfect. It's unconditional and neverending. It's freely given. He gives us the choice: "Do you want to love me? If so, I'm right here. If not, I'm still here. I love you."

       We take our freedom for granted. We aren't truly appreciative of the freedom we have that brave men were willing to sacrifice their lives for. "It's always been like this and always will," we think. However, it hasn't always been like this. Times are changing. Our freedom can be taken away from us. Are you ready for that? Even if freedom on earth changes, know that freedom with God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

No comments:

Post a Comment