My message today is on Prodigal Living – Coming to Your Senses Again. This is the second message in this series on the Prodigal Life. My scripture reference is Luke 15:11-32. Today’s message will focus on getting and keeping our lives on the right path.
Starting with Luke 15:16-21, scripture tells us: “And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!’” So here is the situation. The youngest son had squandered away his inheritance on wasteful prodigal living. When he had nothing remaining from what he had, he found work feeding the pigs of one of the people of the land to which he had traveled. And he was so hungry that he wanted to eat the pigs’ food. Where does he go from here?
How is it that this young man found himself in such a dire condition of need? Well, the short answer is sin. I don’t mean the act of sin, though that happened. I mean giving in to the thinking, desires, and leading of a sinful nature, the nature that is present in each of us. The young man left a sound way of thinking and living with his father and followed the appeal of an indulging, self-gratifying way of thinking and living on his own. He left good sense and followed nonsense. With this, he found himself working in a pigpen, feeding the pigs, and he found himself hungry enough to want to eat the pigs’ food. How is that for good thinking?
Now, some of you are probably saying that not all challenging things we experience are the fault of our poor thinking. And that is true. But the scripture is not talking about the exceptions here. It is talking to us about those who trade sensible thinking for nonsense. Our lives will follow hard after our thinking. God did not create either of us to live, work and play with the pigs. To even say we are better than that is to give more value to pigs than they deserve. We leave what makes sense because we choose to follow what makes no sense. We can only get back to our right minds when we recognize that we are in the wrong mind and place. A pigpen is meant for the pigs, and pig food is meant for the pigs. You are a child of God. You have a place in the heart and home of the Lord. He doesn’t ask you to share that with the swine.
This young man did two things that showed us he had come to his right mind. First, he realized the gravity of his predicament; things were bad, and they were heading to a worse place for him. Jesus tells the faithful believer that in His Father’s house there are many mansions, and that He goes to the Father to prepare a place for us. This young man came to realize he could not find a mansion in the place the pigs lived. He needed to return to a home meant for a son. Often, we are unable to break free of the senseless way we live because we keep trying to make good sense of poor thinking. We should be turning away from the thinking that changed the course of our lives. The thinking that gets us into the grips of prodigal living will keep us there. That thinking cannot be used to free us.
The young man also decided to get back to the place where he went off track. Sometimes this can be a difficult thing for us. Prodigal and sinful living often comes with consequences that cannot be easily changed. If you have wasted all you had, you cannot get that back again. What you had is gone; what you have now is what you have now. But we can always return to the point of thinking that got us to where we are, stepping out from there again with sound thinking. This is what the son did when he said, “I will arise and go to my father and say to him, ‘Father I have sinned against heaven and before you and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’” As I look back on my own life, I realize that often I could not change my circumstances because I was unwilling to go back and change my thinking. I realize that God is a wonderful and great God capable of anything. But because I often refused to change my thinking about my situation, I made it more difficult for Him to step in and to change my life. If things are not changing for you perhaps it could be that you are not willing to change your thinking about you and your relationship with the Lord.
This young man could not go back and change what had happened to him. And his blessing was to come to his senses and to see clearly once again what he should do to change his course. We often thank the Lord for blessings of life that we receive of Him. And this is rightly so. We are to always enter His courts with thanksgiving. But we often miss something as valuable and life-changing to us as the blessing we receive. That is the blessing of the blessing. This young man did not miss laying hold of the blessing of his blessing. The blessing changes your immediate circumstance, but the blessing of the blessing changes your future circumstances. Prodigal living tries to take something from us and leave us with no hope of a future that is without the mark of a past. But the blessing of the blessing is the way the Lord changes your past by helping you come to live a future that is beyond amazing. Don’t miss the power of what I’m saying here. When you come back to your senses with the Lord, He helps you learn how to live in the full favor of the blessing of your blessings.
Still, some of you may be saying, “But you don’t know what I’ve done. You don’t know how bad I’ve been. You don’t know how unforgiving the people are that I’ve hurt. I can’t possibly change the things I’ve done by changing my thinking.” I say to that you are partially correct. You may not be able to change anything on your own, but with God’s help much can be changed. Prodigal living is carnal living. Carnal living makes you pay a lot more for what it gives you; and what is gives you has no real value in relation to the value of what you use to buy it. You may not be able change the carnal circumstances you face, but you can change the Spiritual truth on which your circumstances stand. So, to come to your senses you must be ready to lose the mind that is leading so that you can gain the mind of the Spirit of God. He will teach you to live in the Spirit and to take your best shot at hitting the target that will change your life forever. And even when you know your aim is just off and is sure to miss the bullseye, the Spirit asks you to trust Him and release your shot anyway. You see, when you trust Him enough to shoot at something you know you are likely to miss on your own, He steps in. And after you have done what He asks and let go of your best shot, and He moves the target into the line of fire of your best shot. Instead of you hitting the target based solely on your aim, He moves the target into the path of your shot. Only a great and mighty God can do this!
When we come to our senses, we come to a place of dependence on and guidance of the Spirit of God. We stop relying on our carnal mind and senses to guide how we live, and we start living more under the leading of God’s Spirit. Prodigal living says to us to life is short so we must enjoy it while we can. And that is true; life is short. Wasteful living will lead you to waste away your life in just a short while. Prodigal living takes us off track from where we should be. But hope is always with us when we are willing to come to our senses and let God lead us to where we are unwilling to go. God wants to do this for us because it is in those places we are unwilling to go and to stay that we can live the abundant life God has promised to us. Live a Delivered Life. Love you.