by Pastor Tim Burt
Philip. 1:10 “…that you may discern and approve the things that are pure and excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.”
I am sure that most of you have heard of or have read or know well the story of the prodigal son. If there were ever a story to read over and over and over again, it’s this story. If there were ever a story taught by Jesus with the intention of understanding the Lord’s mercy and grace toward us – of understanding His love toward us despite our daily slip ups and failures, it’s this story.
The Holy Spirit will teach you a thousand lessons in your heart through this story if you will approach it with the purpose of being taught, each time you read it. Today, I’d like to point a few very important things that will help us receive God’s strength to live mightily before Him.
First let’s look at part of the story:
Luke 15:17-23 "When he (the prodigal son) finally came to his senses, he said to himself, 'At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, "Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired man." ‘“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.' "But his father said to the servants, 'Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger, and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening in the pen. We must celebrate with a feast…”
When the prodigal son left home, I imagine him to be much like many teenagers or young adults today. I believe he wanted to spread his wings, experience more of life, find out for himself who he was, and experience life his way. He probably had one person on his mind and one person he cared for that he attended to – himself! Of course this led him to every wrong place until he had squandered everything his father had given him.
When he “came to his senses” he came home humbled to his father. How did his father greet him? First, with the intercession of a loving parent – he was watching for him – praying for him. Secondly, his father ran out to meet him. The father’s goal was not to humble or humiliate his son. Not to say, “I told you so.” Nor to make him pay for his stupidity and squandering. It was to sincerely rejoice and greet him with a heart of love and forgiveness, embracing him with the love of a father. This was the greeting that no prodigal would expect or feel worthy of. This kind of love brings instant healing and strength.
I am sure the son wanted to apologize a thousand times over. The father probably listened only to satisfy his son’s need to repent. From there he moved toward restoration. He put the finest robe on his son. That robe represents the robe of righteousness provided through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It is the garment that God covers each of us with so that when he looks at us, He only sees us washed in white. “Our sins He remembers no more.” (Hebrews 10:17) That robe is what symbolizes us acceptable and justified as “not guilty” before the Lord. That is the first act of the Father to his prodigal son come home. This kind of love brings instant healing and strength.
Then the father put a ring on his finger. That ring symbolizes the authority over Satan, in prayer, and in walking in the gifts of the Spirit. God immediately strengthens us to defeat temptation, sin, and the devil attacking our lives. It gives us the power to pray and have faith in our prayers. He puts all authority back into our hands. This kind of love brings instant healing and strength.
Finally, the father put sandals on his son’s feet – symbolizing his being welcome and to walk out sharing that love that his father had shown him. God has given to us the ministry of reconciliation – of sharing His love. This kind of love brings instant healing and strength.
God’s love brings us liberty. Liberty brings power but also brings responsibility. Today’s Fresh Manna says, “…that you may discern and approve the things that are pure and excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.” God has washed us and put His robe of righteousness on us, given us His ring – His authority over Satan in our lives, and the ministry of being His ambassadors so we may share this wondrous love and grace. But, He says, through this manna verse, approach it with discernment. Approve in your life what is excellent. Be without offense till the day of Christ.
The young prodigal grew up the hard way. Now the father taught him to move from selfish to selfless and from careless to discerning. Let it empower you with sincerity to choose to discern and approve things that are pure and excellent so you live without offence toward God and man.
If you pause and come before the Lord often throughout your day with the intent of living for the Lord, you will feel that power of discernment working in you. You will have the strength to change your thinking. You will have the power to speak right words. You will have the authority to cast down evil imaginations. You will have the spiritual strength to discern and approve and live out things that are excellent and without offense before God. You will be wearing your robe, your ring, and your sandals well! You’ll glorify Jesus in your life!
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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