We will never find God unless He first seeks us, but we should remember that He can do so in very different ways. Sometimes, God jumps on us dramatically as He does with the younger son and we will have an acute sense of His love. Sometimes, He quietly and patiently tries to get us to come around to His way of thinking, as in the case of the older son.
How can we tell if He is working on us now? If we begin to sense our lostness and find ourselves wanting to escape it, we can recognize that such an inclination is not something we could have generated on our own. Such a process requires help, and if it’s happening it’s a good indication that the Holy Spirit is already at work. That’s a great sign! That tinge of conviction is the feeling I warned you about on Sunday, but we agreed to press into the convictions as opposed to ignore them. Right?!
Also, through the grace and mercy of God, there is a way out of allowing sin to rule over us. It is through repentance. If you missed that day, go back to Day 6 to see what we mean by repent. Now, let’s look at repentance in light of the older brother.
When Pharisees sin they feel terrible and repent. You see, as pompous as they could be at times, they were first and foremost authorities on Jewish law and tradition. As such, they may have even punished themselves (I don’t recommend that extreme). When they finish being remorseful, however, they remain elder brothers. They didn’t quite nail down the idea of completely turning from old behaviors in favor of going toward God. They may have turned away from outward behaviors, but their hearts and minds remained unchanged.
Pride in his good deeds, rather than remorse over his bad deeds, was keeping the older son out of the party (i.e., salvation). The elder brother’s problem is his self-righteousness. In this particular instance of sin, we must repent of why we do things right as well as what we do wrong.
Did we take that volunteer role so we could look good? Did we share a story on social media because it elevated us, but not Him? Perhaps not, but if so, we must repent of the intentions behind our actions. If not, we risk staying an older brother. Pharisees repent of their sins, but Christians repent for the very roots of their self-righteousness as well. We must admit that we’ve put our ultimate hope and trust in things other than God.
Sit with this message for a little bit, if needed. It’s OK. Perhaps this is the first time that you’ve seen yourself resembling the older brother. Go to God with that, and allow Him to change you from the inside out. What do you need to repent of? An outright sin or perhaps something more beneath the surface?
The hardest part of this teaching to digest is now past us. Tomorrow we are going to focus on how the older brother figure relates to the character of Jesus, and you won’t want to miss it.
Thank you so much for going on this worthwhile journey with me today. You are all in my prayers!
Did you know I created a worship playlist just for this series?!
Celebrate a good, good Father who is always calling and welcoming his children home!
Previous posts from the Prodigal Series
Miss one? I got you covered! All teachings from this series are found here.