Coming to Our Senses

Sunday, February 22, 2015, 7:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “I Will Lift My Eyes.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Luke 15:11-24 (NASB).

Loose Living

And He said, “A man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.

Spiritually and Biblically speaking, I see four classifications of people in this world with respect to relationship to God and to eternity. The first is the non-believer in Jesus Christ who makes no profession of faith in Jesus Christ at all. The second is the one who makes a profession of faith in Christ but it is only on a surface level, for his faith never took root because it was not based in Christ, his grace and the crucified life. The third type of person is one who truly was born of the Spirit, and who walked according to the Spirit at one time, but the temptations of this sinful world beckoned to him, and so he gave in and he strayed from his pure devotion to Jesus Christ in order to go after “other lovers.” The fourth type is the one who is presently walking according to the Spirit and is no longer living to gratify the sinful desires of his flesh, but is living to please his Lord in every way, and is the Lord’s servant and witness in sharing the love, grace and mercy of Jesus Christ with others.

I believe this parable of Jesus is concerning this third type of person who is a true child of the Father, by faith in Jesus Christ, but who has temporarily gone astray, and has lost his way, and who needs to come back to the Father in humility and in repentance so that he (or she) can be restored and renewed in his or her walk of faith. I believe he represents many Christians in America who, although delivered from slavery to sin, have allowed themselves to be enslaved by sin and the flesh all over again. I believe many Christians here in America are living worldly lives and that there is not much difference between the church and the world now days. It seems that few believers in Jesus Christ have truly forsaken the flesh and the ways of this sinful world in order to follow Jesus Christ in wholehearted surrender and obedience. So, the church in America is in great need of revival.

Contributing Factors

Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.

I see two factors here that oftentimes must take place in the life of a wayward believer in Jesus in order for that person to come to his senses. The first thing is that he spent everything, i.e. he exhausted all of his resources. Many believers in Jesus don’t walk in faith and trust in their Lord the way they ought for multiple reasons. Usually life is going pretty well for them. They have a steady income, their marriage is good, their children are healthy, and they have lots of friends, etc. They seem to be able to survive in their own strength and by their own planning and resources, and so they remain self-sufficient and don’t cry out to God in desperation for help because they don’t feel they need help. But, then something happens to their job, marriage, kids, bank accounts, friendships, etc., and suddenly they are without resource to provide for even their basic needs, and then they suddenly realize that they really can’t make it on their own, and they do need God.

The second factor I see is natural or unnatural (man-made) disasters of great magnitude such as Tsunamis, Volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, wars, severe persecutions on a mass scale, famines, and plague, etc. These go way beyond us just exhausting our own resources to creating all kinds of additional havoc, pain and suffering to our lives, perhaps at a seemingly unbearable level to where we may even despair of life. We have the example of the Jewish people of the Old Testament as an example of how, many times, God had to intervene on behalf of his people with divine discipline and correction, in the form of disasters, wars, persecutions, famine, etc., in order to get them to repent of their stubborn rebellion and to acknowledge their God and to call upon him for their healing.

He Came to His Senses

But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

These two factors listed above, combined together, is what finally got the attention of this son so that he finally came to his senses. Sadly enough, it is what often happens in our lives before we wake up and realize the stupidity and the futility of what we have been doing. It is often what it takes to get us to call upon God, to humble ourselves before him, to repent of our sin and to choose once more to walk in his ways and to never look back. And, I believe that this is what is going to have to happen in America in order for the church here to wake up from her slumber, to realize the futility of following after human flesh, and to submit to her Lord as her ONLY Lord and Master of her life.

When the son came to his senses he did not merely voice the words “I’m sorry” hoping to get some immediate relief from his suffering and to be restored as a son to his father. Notice with me what he did. He humbled himself before his father. He did not expect to be given the kind of treatment he received before. He was willing to take the position of a servant. I think one of the biggest hindrances to many Christians in their walks of faith is this “entitlement” mentality where they live their lives like they owe nothing to God but that he owes them everything. We don’t deserve his grace. He gives it to us freely, though. There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation, either, for we could never be good enough in our own merit. Jesus gave everything he had for us so we could go free from sin. We owe him our very lives in full surrender and submission to him (See 2 Co. 5:15; Tit. 2:11-14).

The other thing that the son did is that he repented of his sins. He acknowledged that he had sinned against God, and he was fairly specific in the way in which he had sinned, too. He admitted that his sin, which was obvious in his case, was not only against his human father, but it was also against his heavenly Father. He left his life of sin behind him, he returned home to his father, and he submitted to his lordship over his life. And, this is what needs to take place in our lives, too, when we have wandered off from following our Lord Jesus in unadulterated commitment to him. We must walk away from the sin, return to our Lord, and submit to his rule over our lives, and walk in obedience and surrender to him.

The Celebration!

But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

Perhaps you have been a Christian since you were a child and you have followed the Lord Jesus Christ in surrender to his will most all of your life, though not perfectly, but consistently. So, you may not be able to identify with this son. I was there at one time. I have been a believer in Jesus Christ nearly 60 years. For most of my life I have followed my Lord, though not perfectly. I have grown and matured in my walk of faith with him over these years. I had many things to learn and to unlearn, and my Lord taught me so much. Yet, there was a time in those years when life kicked me hard too many times and I gave up and I yielded to my flesh and to the temptations of Satan and I walked away from following my Lord in pure devotion, and I followed my flesh instead. I did things I never imagined I would ever do. I was going to broken cisterns that could not hold water to satisfy the unmet needs in my life and to soothe over the deep hurts, instead of turning to my Lord. So, I do identify with this son to some degree.

Yet, my Lord did not turn away from me. He was always waiting for me to come back. And, when I did he welcomed me with open arms. And, I am sure he celebrated my return. I celebrated, too. There were many tears at first, as I cried it all out to the Lord in humility and in true repentance, but then he comforted me with his love, and he held me close to him, and he restored me and renewed me and then he chose to use me once more to be his servant. That is cause for celebration! Oh, how underserving I am to be called his servant, but it is because of his grace that I am what I am, for it was his grace that saved me, and it was his grace that brought me back to him, and it is his grace that daily sustains and strengthens me and that keeps me in fellowship with him, as I daily surrender to his will for my life and submit to his kingdom work in following him wherever he leads me.

I am still not perfect. He is still working on me to make me into the image of Christ. Lately he has been reminding me much of how I/we need to be focused on him all the time and to truly be in submission to his Lordship in all that I/we do, and how I/we should guard against distractions which take our focus away from God and from what he has called us to do. If I begin to forget this, he gently speaks to my heart, reminding me of why I am here and that I need to keep my eyes fixed on him. Yet, I celebrate all the time the change he has brought about in my life, not only in saving me from sin, but in restoring and renewing me after I had fallen and had wandered off, as well as I celebrate his grace to me always!

I Will Lift My Eyes / An Original Work / December 12, 2012

Based off Psalms 121-125

I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
He will not let your foot slip, and He who watches will not sleep.
Our Lord watches over you, and your life He will keep.
I will lift my eyes to my Lord Most High.
My help comes from Him, who saved me from sin.
I give thanks to Him.

I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n.
Because of His great love for us, He made us alive with Christ.
Through the kindness of our Savior, He gave us new life.
I will lift my eyes to my God in heav’n.
I look to the Lord. My sins, He’s forgiv’n;
My home, now in heav’n.

Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
Those who trust will ne’er be shaken. God will supply all we need.
Our Lord has done great things for us. He’s our friend, indeed!
Praise be to the Lord, who is on our side.
Our help found in Him. He gives peace within.
I can count on Him.

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