What is your view of GOD? Maybe your view of GOD is a huge being, a being so largethat you could never approach him. It would be the same as an ant trying to approach you. Imagine an ant on the ground trying to get your attention when you are walking. If you did not step on him first, I would guess you could barely hear him or want to even waste you time with such a small thing.
Maybe your view of GOD is this being sitting somewhere in heaven on His high throne with some stone tablets, as He is keeping notes on all the times you screw up. Heis a god that has to be appeased. You must read your Bible so many hours a day, say so many prayers, try not to sin, and if you do, you have to work your way backinto GOD's favor.
I have known GOD all my life, and in 2001 I received a regenerated heart. Since then I have never been the same. I know of GOD's love, mercy, and grace but I still struggle with really knowing that GOD loves me unconditionally. I love Him and want to please Him more than anything else, but there are times I feel guilty if I do not read my Bible, or spend time in prayer. I know that when I feel like this, I have just turned my relationship into a religion with rules and high standards.When I feel like this, I like to go back to the Bible and read what Jesus shared with us, God His father has unconditional love for us.
The story is The Prodigal or Lost Son. I have posted here for you to read. We touched on it last week, but we did not really explore it. If you have heard this story most of the time people will focus on the "Lost son," after all the story is named after him. But, I would like to take a look at the lost son's father.
After you read the story, try and put yourself in the fathers place. What would have been your reaction? Would you yell at your child? Would you sit them down and make them listen to your theology of the wrong they did, and how it affected you?Or would you just love them and welcome them back like the father in our story did?
I had a similar situation. Our son ran away after we had gotten into an argument, he was on his way out of town and not looking back. Soon after he realized that he needed money and a car to do these things, he was back home. Can you guess whatmy reaction was? Yes, I sat him down and told him how his Mom was out in the dark looking for him and she could of gotten hurt, how worried we were, "don't you everdo that again" speech. In looking back, we could have spoken about these things, but maybe right when he got home was not the time. Maybe we could have showed himhow at home there is unconditional love and acceptance?
I want you to stop and read verses 20-24 again. This is a perfect example of GOD. He did not preach to the lost son, turn him away, make him say all the right words, he did not even want an apology. All that mattered is that his son was lost and now he is home, that is all that the father cared about. Did you even catch the fact that he did not even wait for the son to come home, as soon as he saw him from a distance, the father ran to meet him.
Whatever your views of GOD may be like, this is what GOD is really like. He loves you and accepts you for who you are and what you have done. Nothing matters to Him except a relationship with Him. I know that Christians over time have distorted GOD and his views. I know that they mean well, but they portray GOD as a GOD who has a lot of rules that you must follow. Maybe you have heard the man on the corner telling you that if you do not repent you will go to hell. This is not who GOD is,Jesus would never be on the corner with a bullhorn, we would be in the bars and in the homeless places, just loving people.
I do not know where you are in life, maybe you are the lost son or daughter and you think about the things that you have done, and there is no way GOD would evertake you back and love you. WRONG, He loves you just the way you are right now. Do not change, come as you are.
Maybe you are still stuck in religion. You think that you have to read your Bible and pray, so that GOD will accept you and love you. You are WRONG, He loves you right now without doing those things, come just as you are without having to do all those things.
Maybe you are the bullhorn guy who believes that the only way to GOD is through a lot of rules and if you do not, you are on your way to hell. There are truth in your words, but use GOD's example of love and acceptance to reach the lost.
John had the right mind set about GOD. In his book he refers to himself as the disciple"whom Jesus loves." Then we find him in John 13:23 Leaning on Jesus' chest while dining. Can you imagine yourself leaning on Jesus Chest? Or introduce yourself as "Hi, my name is Jim, the one who Jesus loves. Can you say that? Can you say that and really mean it with your heart? JESUS LOVES YOU!
The Parable of the Prodigal Son
11 And he said, "There was a man who had two sons.12 And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of propertythat is coming to me.' And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country,and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who senthim into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods thatthe pigs ate, and no one gave him anything 17 "But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servantshave more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven andbefore you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of yourhired servants."' 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced himand kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heavenand before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' 22 But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and killit, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again;he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate.25 "Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house,he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your fatherhas killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.' 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, 'Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!' 31 And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive;he was lost, and is found.'"