When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants 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 servant.”’
So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him (Luke 15:17-20 NLT).
When I was a young boy there were times where I would go for long walks all by myself. If there were no friends to play with on my block I would go on one of my walks because I did not like playing by myself. In my home, I had a little sister but I was the only boy in the family and I had no brothers. As I would walk by myself, I would journey to places was my favorite neighborhood parks where and other kids were there playing with each other. What I also liked about walking by myself as I would sometimes pass by large bodies of water which allowed me to see some cool boats. As I saw these boats sailing on the water it would allow me to daydream of how I wish my life was different living in my father’s house.
Now I must admit when I went on these long walks it was never safe for me as a little boy because I had no adult supervisor with me. If I got in trouble at home with my mother or my father for being disrespectful to them, the one way I felt I could get back at them was by running away from home. When I arrived at one of the parks that I journeyed to I would spend the entire afternoon until the evening playing in the park with other children my age. However, when it was time for me to leave the park it would be very late and I walked the streets at night trying to get back home. When I came to the house my parents would be there waiting up for me ready to give me my punishment because I had them worrying about me all throughout evening wondering if something had happened to me.
Now I am not writing this blog to say that all of the blame for my bad behavior as a young child was my parents’ fault. On the contrary, as I look back on my childhood there were several times that I was rebellious and I acted out for attention in ways that got me in trouble. Did my parents love me? Yes that they did, however, I had also felt there was something missing in my father’s house. Though my father was not in absentee father, I felt what was missing in my life was having him around because he was glad I was his son. As a result of this empty feeling that I had it cause me not to want to submit to his authority and his order in the home.
There is order in the Father’s House
Now you may ask Elder Strong how does your childhood connect with the biblical record of the prodigal son who was living in the hog pin. When we first read about the prodigal son we learn that he asked his father to give him the portion of the inheritance which had belonged to him. The problem with his request which he made to his father that it was out of order and disrespectful. When I say he was out of order what I mean is according to Jewish custom it was never a son place to ask his father to give him his inheritance. It was only the father’s right to decide what portion of the inheritance would be giving and when that inheritance would be given out to his children. The request of the younger son asking for his portion to be given to him was also disrespectful to his father and also to his elder brother. The younger son’s motives for asking for his inheritance I believed was a sign that he no longer wanted to submit to the order in his father’s house.
When we are drawn by the Holy Spirit to a house of worship it is important that we learn to submit to the order that is established in that local church. We should not come to church with the baggage of our past that will only hinder us from seeing the Pastor there as God’s representative in the church. We should never allow the opinions of men to cause us not to fully accept God’s word as final authority in our lives. We must have a reverence and respect for our Father and be willing to submit to the order of God in His house. If there is chaos, confusion, and uncertainty in your life if you submit to the Father’s order the darkness that is before you will be replaced with the light of His presence. In the word of God, we have the promise that says to us that the Lord will “order our steps in His word and He will not allow iniquity to rule over us” (Psalms 119:133).
The Father’s House is the best place to be
Once the younger son left his father’s house, he traveled to a faraway land to enjoy all of his wealth through wasteful spending. The lifestyle of partying all night, drinking and women became too expensive for him over time. His so call friends who hung around him for his wealth could no longer be found after he was out of money and his pockets were empty. After he had run out of money a famine arose in the land and the young man had nothing else to his name. The younger son’s need was so desperate that it even caused him to compromise who he was, his convictions and his Jewish culture by feeding swine living in hog pin just to survive. However, despite the younger son circumstances, it was our Heavenly Father that sustained the prodigal son from dying in the hog pin and the famine. Being in a place of desperate need the prodigal son came to a point where he remembered, he repented and which led him to return to his father’s house.
But the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine (Psalms 33:18-19 NLT).
Now just as the prodigal son remembered, repented and returned to his father’s house we too must come to the place where we see the value of being in the Father’s House. One of the ways that we come to appreciate the value of the Father’s presence is that we must understand that God has blessed us with the privilege of being His son or daughter. In John 1:12 NLT the word of God says that we are children of God because “we have believed and accepted Jesus in our lives and he has giving us the right to become the children of God”. Another way that we come to appreciate the value of being in the Father’s House is that we must have a servant heart that is willing to serve the Lord. Though the Lord has called us to be his sons and daughters, His call does not mean that we are to walk around in life with an air of entitlement. When we walk around with an air of entitlement, we need to repent like the prodigal son did and ask our Heavenly Father to give us a servant’s heart. By us having a servant’s heart we will have a passion to return to His house not to compete or compare ourselves to one another but in love, we serve one another (1 Peter 4:8-10 NLT).
True worship happens inside the Father’s House
Meanwhile, the older son was in the fields working. When he returned home, he heard music and dancing in the house, and he asked one of the servants what was going on. Your brother is back,’ he was told, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf. We are celebrating because of his safe return
The older brother was angry and wouldn’t go in. His father came out and begged him (Luke 15:25-28 NLT).
When the prodigal son returned from wasting all that his father gave him, he returned back to a father who had open arms waiting for him. The son repented and the father through a celebration party to honor his son return home. While all of this was going on the elder brother was made aware of the news that his brother had return and their father had given the young son a ring, a robe and had the fatted calf killed. The elder brother became offended by his father’s decision to celebrate that his young brother came back which had previously disrespected his father’s name and wealth
Sometimes there are people in the church who failed to see the importance of why we celebrate and worship the Lord the way that we do. Their inability to see can either be from their lack of spiritual maturity, having an un-yielded heart or allowing themselves to be deceived by the enemy. The person may also feel to worship God with pure devotion is being too extreme and being overly dramatic about their faith. It is important to understand that our expression of worship for the Lord is not just for a few hours on Sunday morning in a fancy large building. However, our expression of love for the Father is about having a broken and surrendered heart. A true worshipper will celebrate the victories in their brother or sister’s life just as if it is their own personal breakthrough that the Father has done for them. Finally, a person who will worship the Father with their life and in His house will never be afraid to launch out to do new things that the Father has granted him permission to go forth and do (Luke 15:28-29 NLT).