The Prodigal Son, Part III: Rebirth
Luke 15:20 He arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
I clearly remember the despair in realizing the depth of my own destruction. Like the Prodigal Son, I had pursued self and was reaping the consequences. My career and family were slipping away and I was the only one to blame. The Prodigal too, had pursued the good life and when the party ran out, he found himself starving and excommunicated from his father. He was penniless, far from home and far from the only one who had ever loved him.
In his despair, he realized that even his father’s servants lived better. He decided to pick himself up, return home and throw himself on his father’s mercy. He even planned a speech for the occasion. Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.
It was only in his destruction that the Prodigal was able to choose several things. First, he chose honesty. He had to accept that he was a mess and he needed help. Second, he chose humility. He could not return home and demand his old life back. Third, he chose to change everything. He had to leave the old if he wanted the new. Radical changed required radical change.
The Prodigal thus, returned to his father in penitence and humility. His father, watching the horizon daily for his son, saw him coming. While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. There was no anger. There was no lecture. There was only inexpressible joy that his lost son had returned.
The son delivered the prepared speech, offering to return as a servant. The loving father had other plans. Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him… and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found!
Thus, the prodigal returned to his father and was reborn as his son. He had chosen excommunication. He had chosen destruction. In the end though, he realized his need for the father and returned to him. His father responded by embracing him, loving him and restoring him to his right position as his son.
To be reborn, the old life had to die. It was only out of the ashes of the old that the new could arise. The son could no longer use his father’s estate to live recklessly. Being reborn meant embracing life rather than embracing destruction. It was not that he earned his father’s love. His father had always loved him. It was just that if he truly wanted the new life, he needed to embrace the new life.
This of course, is where I found myself. It was only in my destruction that I could see my utter need for my father and it was only in my destruction that I became willing to change. Thankfully, the father embraced me upon my return. Now, like the prodigal son, I must daily choose to continue to live a new life as one reborn.
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.