“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
As 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.”
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?