Going Home
Last week, I shared with you the beginning of a new series at my church called “Prodigal” (in case you missed it, click HERE). This past weekend, we continued the series by going a little deeper into the story of the Prodigal Son…specifically asking how do we get home and stay home after going prodigal?

But before we can talk about going home, let’s talk a little more about what happens when we go prodigal…and let’s be honest, we’ve all gone “prodigal” to some degree or another (or at least watched someone we love go prodigal). For so many, we beg and plead for them not to make certain decisions, but when you’re going prodigal, it’s like you’ve gone temporarily insane. Apparently, there are three phases:
  1. Delirious Phase. I can imagine the prodigal son taking his wealth into the big city, buying a sweet bachelor pad that looks out over the ocean and thinking to himself that he’s got it made…money, luxury, girls and a never ending party. Think Charlie Harper from Two and a Half Men. If it weren’t fun, we wouldn’t do it…and so when we enter this delirious phase, we do anything that feels good regardless of the consequences.
  2. Destructive Phase. In Luke 15:14-16 says, “After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.” Yes, you read that right…not only did he spend his wealth, but he was living in a pig pen. Speaking from personal experience, I recall looking in the mirror. My skin and my wallet were suffering. I knew that if I continued down this path, I could lose everything. 
  3. Decision Phase. Which leads us to the final stage of going prodigal…the decision. Do we continue to watch ourselves fall into a bottomless pit or do we go back to our father? 
So…once we’ve gone prodigal, how do we return home? We have to come clean to the Father. No matter how ashamed we are by our past, if we ask for forgiveness, our relationship with HIM is restored. In fact, as the story plays out…we know that the father drops everything when he sees his son returning back to him. And if you think about it, the son must have really stunk (don’t forget he was living in a pig pen)…none of that matters.
Luke 15-20 RS
At the end of the day, the Father doesn’t really care that we spent all our money…nor does he care where we’ve been. HE does care about his children though and he wants us to come home so he can clean us up, feed us and restore our relationship with us. If you ask me, I think it’s easier to ask for forgiveness from others. Granting ourselves forgiveness…that’s a-whole-nother story. If we can’t forgive ourselves, we leave ourselves open to Satan…who is just waiting for us to slip.

But back to our original question – how do we come home and stay home? If we’re going to stay home, we’ve got to close a few doors: 
  1. Secrets. Do you have a secret dream or fantasy you’ve been entertaining? If you do, pray that it won’t become a reality. Those types of secrets bring a tremendous amount of drama. For example, the prodigal son was greedy…he always had a dream of heading into the big city to live the big life. As we saw, he not only entertained it, he pursued it. I immediately thought of Millionaire Matchmaker – specifically many of the millionaires that are looking for love. Sure they have money, but it has yet to bring them love…and usually the show exposes a ton of drama and baggage that the millionaires have been toting around with them for years. We’ve got to shed light on these secrets.
  2. Sin. Do you have sin in your life that you know about but tolerate? Do you find yourself engaging in conversations with members of the opposite sex that could lead to an adulterous relationship? I’m sure you’ve got plenty of examples here…I just seem to be drawing a blank (and clearly didn’t write down enough notes under this particular point). Either way, these teeny tiny sins grow up to be big huge sins that will destroy your life.
  3. Shame. When we go prodigal, it doesn’t go unnoticed by those around us. Our friends and family are watching and we often become ashamed of our behaviors once we realize what we’ve done. Satan uses our shame to convince us that no one will forgive us. Therefore, we don’t forgive ourselves and we don’t’ allow anyone else to forgive us either.
With all that said, if we want to go home and stay home…we can either ignore our secrets, sin and shame….or we can humbly go before God, come clean, admit our wrongs, accept the decisions we’ve made and the consequences of those decisions. And if we can do the later, then we must also remain open to receiving forgiveness. It would appear our decision is pretty easy, but I know that so many of us are making the decision to stay or go home every day. Remember this, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Let’s go home!

(If you’re interested in hearing the original message, click HERE.)