Going Prodigal
Do you know the story of the “prodigal son?”
“There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them. “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.” ~ Luke 15:11-13
IMG_0877 RSAs you might imagine, with the new year, our church is starting a new series called “Prodigal” (if you’re new to my blog, I like to take this space and explore the message a little further). Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring the story of the prodigal son. I’ve definitely read the story, but I’m not sure I’ve studied it very closely. For example, let’s start with “what does prodigal mean?” Like all things, I went to Google and typed “define prodigal.” 
(prod.i.gal) noun: a person who spends, or has spent, his or her money or substance with wasteful extravagance.
In short, the story starts with a son who took a gift and threw it to the wind in a reckless, wasteful kinda way. I mean…that never happens, right? Actually, we’ve been taking God’s gift and going “prodigal” since the beginning of time. Adam and Eve…Garden of Eden…Tree of Knowledge anyone? 

God always wanted to have a relationship with us, but that moment in the Garden of Eden changed everything. We became spiritually “dead” (disconnected from God in the way it was intended) from that point forward causing our reasoning skills to be a bit off. Granted, we were also offered a redemption plan. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
No longer ruled RS
By accepting this gift, we’re no longer controlled by our sinful nature, but by the Spirit (paraphrased from Romans 8:9). So why do we (I’m including myself here…for sure) continue to sin even after receiving the gift of eternal life? Why do we go prodigal?

Even though we have a new spirit, we’re still stuck with our old selves…our old body and all the baggage associated with it. There’s a whole lot more to it than that that you can hear about in the original message (click here), but this is what we can learn from it:
  • When we live apart from the Spirit, we’re incredibly selfish…we make stupid decisions…and we make stupid conclusions about life. There’s something about our subconscious that hangs onto past memories and causes us to process events and people as if there’s only one outcome. By doing this, we tend to make pretty unfair assumptions about people and situations.
  • Because we’re selfish, our only hope is to submit to the Spirit…but our old self won’t go down without a fight. Therefore, we must stop feeding our old self and stop participating in bad habits. Galatians 5:16 says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”  
  • To live by the Spirit, the old self must die. 1 Corinthians 15:31 says, “I face death every day—yes, just as surely as I boast about you in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

I don’t know about you, but I think the easiest place to start is submitting to the spirit…or rather stop feeding our old selves. Considering we have a new year ahead of us, it only seems appropriate to identify those things we plan on doing different. Forget losing weight, how are you going to FEED the Spirit?

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28 COMMENTS

    Love the story of the prodigal son. :)

    I’m determined to stick with the Bible reading plan that I started. I need to be in the Word every day.

    And, totally love that bench shot. :)

    I just want to tell you that I love coming to this space…for the pictures, the tutorials on editing, the scavenger hunts…but mostly for the bible studies. :) It fills my heart with joy to read other people’s study of the Lord. Thank you!

    The closer we walk with the Lord the easier it is not to sin. Problem is, that’s often the harder route to take, so we allow our own selfish desires to rule our hearts.

    amen sista!

    This was a wonderful way to start my day! Thank you for the lesson and the reminder. As a plus, your photography is awesome!

    great post Ashley! <3 you! :)

    Amazing post, thank you!

    I love the pictures. Seems like this story keeps coming up around me. Not sure what that means….. GREAT post!

    What a great post! I remember studying about the prodigal son in church years ago.. So nice to hear it again!

    Hugs, Linda

    Much needed message Ashley- I suppose by the definition- all my camera gear & little PSE extras would fall into that category. I agree that I need to be fed with God’s spirit & let everything else go.

    wonderful post and such beautiful pictures!!

    Love. LOVE. LOVE the bench shot!

    Ashely I wanted to thank you because I always love seeing that you have left a comment on my blog! You are one of the most positive people that I have met while blogging and I am very grateful to have met you!!! I also think with all your blogs and long posts and great photographs that you must be one really busy lady and I appreciate the time you always take to pop over and say hi!!! So Ashely thank you so much and I look forward to enjoying 2012 with you!!! :)

    beautiful and well said!! God knocked me off my feet with this story a few years ago, when I was the older brother, so angry and frustrated by the younger brother and the father’s reaction, not realizing that I had my Father’s love, blessing and relationship the entire time!! May I never be distracted and take that relationship for granted again!!

    What great pics! Thanks for sharing, as always!

    I’ve been thinking along these same lines so much lately. Thanks for a bit of re-enforcement! You are such an inspiration. God be with you Ashley!

    Lovely, lovely photographs and message today, Ashley. :)

    :-D you served Him well today!

    beautiful.

    xoxo

    Great psot Ashley, & what perfect timing for this message.

    I’ve never seen a bench look so fabulous!

    The prodigal story is a beautiful picture of our Father’s forgiveness and open arms to all that will come to Him. Thanks for sharing.

    Your photos are lovely!

    I really love the photo of the bench! It makes me want to go outside and sit, but then I remember it is cold, and wintery outside!!

    I’m doing a Bible reading plan to keep feeding myself this year. Just need to keep reading redemptive history over and over. Praying much as well.

    Thanks for sharing. It’s encouraging.

    Gorgeous bench shot!

    Hi Ashley!
    I met a lot of ‘prodigal sons’ and daughters and some were able to redeem themselves and some simply remained bitter and lost.

    Parables like the Prodigal Son is, I think, a lesson in paradigm shift. Taking a material form (physical/body) we are naturally curious (not exactly sinful) and we make choices (not exactly bad) and doing so allows us to examine ourselves and the choices we make.

    As a Christian, I believe we will never be separated from God. But by believing the myth that we are, we actually live like so.

    As a reclaiming earth spirit, I believe the ‘prodigal’ in us must be understood in a loving way to allow us to grasp its meaning and embrace our God and the beauty of life meaningfully…

    What an exciting subject matter to pursue. ;-)

    I am studying I Peter right now…which feeds my spirit but is pretty challenging to pursue peace and be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate, be humble, do not repay evil with evil…

    So glad I don’t have to do it alone.

    Good thoughts! Thanks for sharing!

    Hermosas imágenes!! Y muy buena la idea de alimentar el espíritu. Saludos!

    First I want to thank you, Ashley, for coming by and commenting … you are so faithful, even when I am not with my posting! We’re walking through some difficult family issues that actually have to deal with a once prodigal son! This post hits home, but thankfully, and by God’s grace, he is back … now he’s dealing with the consequences of some wrong choices. He doesn’t want to live apart from the Spirit any longer, for that we are so very grateful! Thank you for sharing this … I love what you said, and it rings so true … “I think the easiest place to start is submitting to the spirit … or rather stop feeding our old selves.” Yes, I’m looking forward to the new year and the new thing that God is doing in the hearts of our family! Bless you, Ashley … have a wonderful weekend!

    The quote from Romans is perfect. I’m trying to remember more often every day the prayer I pray in the morning to have the wisdom and courage to honor and glorify God throughout every day.


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