The Prodigal Son, Part II: The Destruction
Luke 15:14 When he had spent everything… He began to be in need… He was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.
As I said yesterday, I can identify with the prodigal son. Taking his share of his inheritance from his father, the Prodigal set out to enjoy all life had to offer. He did not set out to find destruction. He just could not see past his own desires. Thus, he fell victim to the defects of his own flesh.
He had to know that eventually his money would run out, but he always thought he had time to change. As he indulged in wine and women, he told himself every night would be the last. I will change tomorrow! He tried to stop his wasteful, corrupt behavior only to find himself addicted to the life.
He saw the storm on the horizon. He just always thought he had time to prepare for it. Then one day, he looked up and the storm was on him. His money evaporated and he went from playboy to pauper. In his desperation, he took a job feeding the pigs, which apparently ate better than he did.
Only in his misery, did he finally realize his folly. Only in the humility of his own ruin could he grasp that he alone was to blame for this mess. He had wasted his inheritance on fleeting pleasures, killing everything good in his life and he alone was responsible.
As great as his misery was though, the worst consequence of his self-pursuit was that he had chosen excommunication from his father. He had not been kicked out. He chose this. By his own selfish actions, he had destroyed the relationship with the only one who had always loved and provided for him.
As great as his destruction was, it was also a tragic mercy. Only in his destruction was he able to realize his condition. In his misery, he could finally become willing to do whatever it took to change. His need for his father’s love was always there, but he had been blinded by money. Only when he hit rock-bottom could he grasp how desperate he truly was.
As miserable as rock-bottom is, there are worse conditions in which to exist. To live in excommunication from the father and not realize it is the greater misery. When we are just successful enough to avoid complete disaster, we will not see the need to change. We may think we want God, but if our pain is not great enough, we will often lack the motivation to truly commit to transformation.
We think we can escape our destruction while continuing the same destructive behaviors. I can learn to manage it… I can have just one drink… I can indulge occasionally… I don’t have to get too crazy…
Looking back, I can see that, like the prodigal son, I would not have changed without consequences. Though I am not thankful for the pain I caused others, I can see God’s merciful hand in allowing me my own destruction, giving me a second chance. As long as I could draw breath, like the prodigal, I could still repent. Destruction was just the beginning.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.