The One-Day Diet
“My son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” And they began to celebrate. Luke 15:24
Frustrated by being overweight, many times I’ve decided to eat differently. Then, after a miserable day of doing so, I’ve wanted immediate results. When I could see no change in the mirror or on the scale, I’ve been frustrated. All that work (one day) and no results? This is stupid!
It sounds ridiculous, but it’s my nature to want immediate gratification for even the smallest of efforts. In my drug addiction, I was tormented by my conscience and desperately wanted to know the peace and forgiveness of God. So, I’d stop using for a day and ask forgiveness, hoping to bask in God’s grace. I refused to actually change anything though, and soon was back using. I became frustrated with God. I asked forgiveness. Why haven’t you fixed me?
Today’s passage provides the answer to my question. In the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus told of a young man who took his portion of the family inheritance, ran off, and squandered it on reckless living. Broken and destitute, he decided to go home, humble himself before his father, and ask to be one of his servants.
When the father saw him coming, he ran and embraced him. The father showered the son with grace, celebrating his return. The son, who planned to return as a lowly servant, found only love and forgiveness.
Though the son did nothing to earn his father’s grace, he did have to do something to receive it. He had to turn around and return to his father. Had he stayed in the far-off land, no matter how sorry he was, he never would have experienced his father’s grace.
This is where many of us find ourselves. We’ve found misery in the pursuit of our way and we want to know a different life. So, we change for a day. We say we’re sorry, and we expect the new life. We refuse to make any real changes though, and we refuse to truly repent. We go on a one-day diet and then soon, we’re back at the old life, wondering why things aren’t different.
We don’t earn the grace of the father. It’s a free gift. If we want the joy of the new life though, we must do whatever it takes to abandon the old life to follow him into the new one.