Avoiding the Path of the Prodigal (Part 1)

By admin  //  Devotionals  //  1 Comment

“The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble” Proverbs 4:19 (NIV)

The story of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-31) is quite fascinating no matter where it is told. I remember the rapt attention I received once when I tried to explain the love of God to a Muslim in a village in Northern Nigeria by telling him this story. Nothing else but the extraordinary love of the Father could have given it the kind of ending that it has. A while ago I had some reflections on this story which threw some sidelights on some important truths. I will share some of these this week and more next week.

I noticed that the son did not tell the father why he wanted his share of the estate when he asked for it. It was only after he had secured it that he took off. Perhaps he didn’t want anybody asking too many questions. His attitude was “I know my right and so I don’t need to explain anything to anybody”. We must beware of fighting too hard for our right to our privacy. We need to be willing to be accountable to others around us. It’s a fallacy to think we can have fellowship without accountability.

Too many believers attend fellowship meetings without having any real fellowship with the brethren. You can’t hide behind the wall of your-right-to-your-privacy and have true fellowship. It is only “… if we walk in the light (that) we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus purifies us” (1 John 1:7 – NIV). Don’t feel you can do anything you want to do without needing to give account to anybody. That kind of freedom breeds trouble. God did not put you within the community of believers where you are presently, by mistake. Don’t get upset when those you are in fellowship with question your actions. Transparency and accountability are key ingredients of Christian fellowship.

The prodigal son went from a life of security in the father’s house to a life of wastefulness in a distant land. He went from the place of abundance in the father’s house to a place of emptiness in the pigpen. This is always where the pursuit of freedom from the Father leads to: emptiness, purposelessness and powerlessness. You can’t keep your distance from the Father and get to where you ought to go. I encourage you to set your heart to pursue increasing intimacy with the Father. Don’t allow any cloud between you and the Father. Be resolute like David and say, “I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Ps 23:6)

But it was not obvious at the first stage of his descent that he was on the way down, because he was surrounded with all that money could buy. Yet as soon as he took his first step away from the father he was on the way down. In the same way it is not often obvious to many that they are dying spiritually because they are surrounded by material comfort. Or it may be that they have the comfort of their Christian activities and position in Church. We must beware of measuring our spiritual health by the wrong parameters. It takes the help of God to be able to see our true state. And one of the ways by which God helps us is to use those in fellowship with us to speak into our lives. Indeed this is one of the reasons why we need the transparency and accountability of fellowship. For those who love us and with whom we are walking in the light can often see before we do, that all is not well.

So to avoid the path of the prodigal we must stay in the path of fellowship with the saints.