Often, when we read the scripture found in Luke 15, the portion on the prodigal son focuses on the son that left home wasting his inheritance. We find comfort knowing when he returned home, instead of being met with criticism and condemnation, his father received him with an abundance of love and grace. The parable is fragrant with God's heart towards us, especially when we have lost our way. But what about the older son? Many times his story is overlooked, and I think it is of great importance, especially to us as believers. I actually tend to think sometimes our Christian life tends to mirror that of the older son after we have been walking with Jesus for a while; what about you?
You see, even though we are saved by grace through faith at times in our walk with Jesus, we begin to consider our works as merit for God's blessings. Let me explain, I know that there are times when I feel I am following Jesus and things are not happening in my life the way I expected, and when I order into the lives of others, I wonder why God seems to be doing this or that for them and not me.
Has this happened to you? I know it has happened to me. I'm not talking about comparison, rather falling from grace into works, where somewhere I believe because of what I am doing, I deserve God's favor. It's not something I cross purposefully into; it's quite insidious ~ I tend to notice it when my attitude gets checked in the presence of the Lord. For me, it is when I see the Lord blessing others, and I find it difficult to be excited for them, and the joy and peace I have in simply spending time with the Lord seems so much harder to come by. I pray my transparency will help you quickly identify when you may slip in the "older son mode."
Back to the parable, let's establish the Father in this story represents God our Heavenly Father. We know this by the context of the parable, especially its placement within the chapter, for just a few verses earlier, Jesus gives both the parable of the lost sheep and coin. I would encourage you to go back and read them if you haven't in awhile. In them, we see how the God of the universe seeks us out with intention in the case of the lost sheep, leaving the ninety-nine for the one and in the case of the lost coin ~ carefully searching. These are stories of great love that the Father desires to lavish on us.
Today I want to focus on a scripture of blessing and being able to receive Luke 15v31, “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.”
I encourage you to meditate on this word. God, our Father, has given us everything in the Person of Jesus, and He sings over us, “you are always with Me, all I have is yours.”
There are times in our journey when it seems as though our prayers hit the ceiling, it feels as though nothing is moving, and no sense of breakthrough. What I've come to realize is often, we don't walk in the blessing because we are trying to earn them. I'm reminded of what Paul discusses throughout the book of Galatians, and the crux think is important are these words:
“(2)This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? (3)Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3v2-3.
“(5)Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— (6) just as Abraham “believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Galatians 3:5-6.
“Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.” Galatians 3v7.
“Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” Galatians 4v8.
Write these passages down for meditation in the future. They are an immense blessing and reminder: we are not slaves or servants but mature sons and daughters of God. When we forget our position in Christ, we can slip into works serving with the wrong heart. Much like Martha, busy serving yet neglecting to do the one thing.
Time with Jesus, having revelation knowledge of Him reminds us we are King’s kids, and as children, we are lead, and our posture is to receive🙌🏾. He is the good Shepherd. As a Shepherd, everything is supplied by Him. We serve God out of the Spirit of sonship whereby we cry out Abba Father. Our relationship is familial and intimate.
Jesus told us that to enter the kingdom, we would need to be like little children, but we don’t remain small children; instead, we mature in our faith and reliance on Him. Growing in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus leads us to deeper dependence on Him, leaving no dependence on self, trusting and walking in the finished work. Jesus went before us to prepare the Way and a place for us. Now our position is in Christ, and He is seated at the right hand of the Father, and as He is, so are we in this world.
Ephesians 2v5-7 confirms this truth, “even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
The work is finished, and this doesn't mean we don't work, for even the apostle James says, “faith without works is dead,” but works born out of the Spirit bear eternal fruit; it’s works of the flesh that are dead! Remember good fruit is intimately connected to the Vine; rest in the Vine receives its nutrients and strength from the Vine, which is our life in Christ.
Now back to today’s Scripture, Luke 15v31, and our ability to receive God’s blessings looking at the older son. If we look at what he said in Luke 15v26-30, we see that his perspective was skewed. As a matter a fact, because he considered himself working to earn his inheritance, he could not the good surrounding him. He couldn’t even discern what rejoicing and dancing meant.
“So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant.”Luke 15v26.
It reminded me of the verse in Jeremiah 17v5-6,
“Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the LORD.” Jeremiah 17v5.
“For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited.”Jeremiah 17v6.
The older son would go onto say:
“So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends.” Luke 15v29.
I want us to notice the older son was focused on his service to the father and not on the father’s love for him. Although everything was available, he couldn’t use it because he saw himself as a servant and not a son. God has blessed us with Christ. Everything is wrapped up in Him. Let’s be clear, inheritance at its most basic premise is something that cannot be earned but is a birthright.
As children of God, we receive an inheritance because of what Jesus has done. It is impossible to earn something freely given, and here is where tension and frustration can enter in. It’s impossible to get in a room we are already in. Another place of frustration comes when we are waiting on God to move when He has already given us everything, and it is a matter of us appropriating it🤔.
We are blessed with every spiritual blessing but can choose to walk as poppers, living meager sub-par lives. This isn’t God’s desire or best for us. Each day we are allowed to choose to appropriate our faith, trusting Christ is with us and will meet every need. As a matter a fact, faith is having and keeping a good opinion of God no matter the circumstances😬.
Like the older son, if we see ourselves needing to work to earn God’s grace or do something to remain in His favor, we effectively fall from grace, grappling with the works of our hands ~ instead of resting in what Christ died to give us. The same faith we placed in Jesus for Salvation is the same faith that provides us with access and allows us to utilize kingdom resources while we walk on earth. We live here, but we are truly in heavenly places in Him.
Beloved, we must appropriate what we currently hold in our grasp, faith in Him just as Moses had a rod in his hand and simply needed to use it. We have (the) faith in Christ and need to use it. We need to believe God, His word. Our heavenly Father speaks these same words to us today, “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.” Luke 15v31.
How will you allow the truth to change your next? What gift, talents, time, resource has God placed in your hand, and how will you use it? What will you do with what Jesus died to give you?
I leave you with this incredible word, “Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”Luke 12v32. Our Abba Father is a good God and Father desiring to care for us. Let's allow Him using the faith to walk in His blessings, appropriating our inheritance.
Until Next Time, the grace and peace of God be with you.