In the previous chapter, I talked about what Calvary is and how life outside God’s kingdom looks like using the prodigal son as an example.
In this chapter, I’ll be talking about how the prodigal son finds his way back to his father by the way of Calvary.
Steps toward Calvary
17 When he realized what he was doing, he thought, ‘All of my father’s servants have plenty of food. But I am here, almost dying with hunger.
18 I will leave and return to my father and say to him, “Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son, but let me be like one of your servants.”‘
20 So the son left and went to his father. “While the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt sorry for his son. So the father ran to him and hugged and kissed him.
21 The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Hurry! Bring the best clothes and put them on him. Also, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
23 And get our fat calf and kill it so we can have a feast and celebrate.
24 My son was dead, but now he is alive again! He was lost, but now he is found!’ So they began to celebrate. Luke 15:17-24 NCV
Self-discovery: if there will be a change in any situation, the first thing is to first and foremost discover the need for the change.
Self-discovery is the first step toward Calvary. No one can come to salvation except he has discovered himself and the need for Calvary’s experience.
Even if someone is dragged to the Calvary without self-discovery, he will explore the Calvary with the mindset of going for an excursion and turn back eventually.
At a point, the prodigal son came to his senses. Hitherto, he was senseless, but now he has fully come to his mind.
He must have said something like, “Enough is enough, I have been in this situation too long”.
He found out that there is only one way out, and that is to go back home.
He finally discovered himself not to be in good condition and rightful position where he was meant to be.
He suddenly remembered his caring father at home.
When he realized what he was doing, he thought, ‘All of my father’s servants have plenty of food. But I am here, almost dying with hunger.
He now remembers that his father will always be his father. He knew his father was merciful and compassionate enough to welcome him back.
There can never be a recovery except there is a discovery. Every madman you see on the road is mad because he has not discovered the need for recovery. But they will surely enter into their miraculous recovery in the day of their self-discovery.
The prodigal son suddenly discovered himself and said, “Ho! What has come upon my head? Who has bewitched me as far as this? My father is at home and here I am dying of hunger.
Every servant in my father’s house is having enough food to eat and I am here desiring to eat pods of pigs. What is it that is wrong with me? Why will I continue to punish myself with unnecessary hunger like someone who has no father? I will arise and go to my father”.
That is exactly what is called self-discovery.
Dear sinners, you need self-discovery. Without it, you can’t have a change of life. For you to get a lasting solution to any problem in your life you need to find out what and where the problem is.
And now, I want you to ask yourself: am I in the right standing with God? If YES is your answer, good for you, but if NO is your answer, it’s time to discover the need to bring yourself in total surrender unto God.
Rumination: it’s not okay for one to have a thought without doing anything with it. There are millions of thoughts coming in and going out of our minds daily.
There are thoughts you must not let go. These are the thoughts we must keep in our hearts, ponder and meditate over.
The prodigal son began to think right and left. He began to put side by side his past with his present life. If your past Christian life is better than your present life you better go back home.
A lot of people will come to this understanding and choose to remain the same, but the prodigal son chose to bring a solution to his problem once and for all.
Some thoughts would have positively changed our lives for good, but we have let them go freely. We thought they are common ideas that come from our human heart.
We do not see them as if God was talking to us. But this young man acted on the gentle voice that speaks from his heart as if he knew it was God speaking to him.
3 Determination: another step to be taken on the way to Calvary is determination. It is one thing to discover the need for recovery and it is another thing to decide to recover.
Also, it is one thing to think about something and it is another thing to determine to act on the thought.
After the prodigal son had thought about his situation, he made a statement that shows the strength of his decision. He decided straight away to go back home.
I will arise and go to my father…
If you have found out a need to get something changed in your life but have never for a day decided to recover, you are doing yourself a great harm. It is better for someone to have never seen a need for repentance than to see the need and continue with his old way of life.
The prodigal son has the right to choose whether to keep on enduring the hardship or go back home.
He found himself in between two choices either to go home or look for an alternative. The devil must have come and speak lies loudly into his ears-
“don’t worry it will be okay soon. Just continue with your hardship here. You don’t need to go home. You are a big man or don’t you know? After all, you have collected and squandered your share from your father’s property, or have you forgotten?
Do you want to go home and put yourself into shame? Don’t think your father is ready to take back a reckless son like you. Stay here! Don’t bother yourself!”
But this young man must have told the devil, “NO! I’m going back home. Even if my father will not take me back as his son, I prefer to stay in his house as a slave than die here of hunger.
At least I will stay in his house and eat there; at least I will see his face and talk with him again. All my father’s servants have more than they need to eat daily, I will go home no matter what”.
Prompt action: one thing that impresses me about the prodigal son is that he does not waste his time. Salvation is a thing we must take with urgency.
This guy did not allow procrastination to take over his life. He started back home without any delay.
What can we learn from here? We must learn how to follow the will of God for our lives. We must learn how to take prompt action on issues of the Spirit as long as we have received directions from the Lord.
4 It is proper to wait on God for directions but immediately God gives us the direction and tells us what to do with it, we must not allow nonchalant attitude or procrastination to win over our life.
Assuming the prodigal son was reluctant in going home, the people of that country would have come in and persuaded him into staying.
The devil would have sponsored men of that country to discourage him from going home to meet his waiting Father.
The owner of the pigs he was looking after would have deceived him with increments in salary just to keep him blind to the love of his waiting father at home.
Some people are fond of doing everything tomorrow. They never have a passion to do anything today. All you will hear from them when it comes to the matter of action taking is tomorrow. When tomorrow comes they will still wait for another tomorrow.
Every other thing may be done tomorrow but salvation is never a thing you should postpone till tomorrow. You must be saved today because tomorrow may be too late for you.
The son said, ‘Father, I have sinned against God and have done wrong to you. Luke 15: 21 NCV.
This is yet another step that must be taken and it must be taken right at Calvary, at the feet of Jesus.
This son has not come home to sneak through the window. The prodigal son was not going to put himself into the trouble of trying to go into the house while dodging the father.
He went straightaway to the Calvary and started making his confession. He has not come home to argue with his father as to why He has not looked for him and his welfare all this while but to soberly come and obtain mercy at his father’s feet.
He brought himself into the light of the day and was about saying, ‘Father this is me! Come and see what I have done to myself. I have gone far away from your presence and I have suffered its consequences. I have sinned against heaven and you. I’m not worthy but please have mercy on me’.
He was ready to take responsibility for all his sins. He has not come home to cast the blame on anybody- that is what confession is.
As he was about making his rehearsed sober confession, his father, being filled with love and compassion, went down and brought him up.
His heart was pierced seeing his son’s condition. The father had seen the seriousness in his face. He knew his son had learnt a bitter lesson of his life and now has come home.
Confession is not a thing of the heart, but the mouth.
For it is with the heart that we believe and are justified and it is with the mouth that we confess and are saved. Romans 10:9.
You don’t assume the father should have known your mind. No! He wants you to confess your sins with your mouth.
Even though God knows your heart, He still wants you to confess with your mouth. Otherwise, there wouldn’t have been a need to confess Christ with our mouth in the first place, as long as we have believed with our hearts.
But as much is believing with the heart is so important so also is confessing with our mouth.
Confession has to be with soberness and not with arrogance. You cannot be forced to do it, but with all godly humility, sobriety and serenity you must come to the throne of grace.
Your confession must be with all sincerity devoid of argument and self-justification. It’s a time to cry out to the Lord for mercy and forgiveness.
Repentance: after you confess your sins, you must completely repent from them. There is a clear difference between confession of sin and repentance.
Many times, people who confess their sins may not actually repent from them. It is one thing to confess your sins and it is another thing to repent and desist from them.
To repent from a sin means to turn away from it completely. Confession is useless if it’s not having the backup of genuine repentance.
You repent from a sin when you shun every temptation to go into that sin again. It will be so foolish for the prodigal son to come home today and after some days he’s getting set for another journey to the far country.
The devil is the president of the far country. He doesn’t want us to get out of his control, talk less of wanting us to go back home into God’s kingdom.
He does not want people to repent from their sins, and that’s why he will always bring up temptation on our ways to bring us back into his kingdom.
The only means by which he can do that is to introduce sin into our lives or bring us into the previous sins that lured us into his trap in the first place.
We must be very careful and fill our lives with God’s word so that when the devil comes to bring temptation on our way, we will be able to stand against him.
We must also not bring up temptation for ourselves. If you know you were addicted to smoking, for instance, withdraw yourself from any friendship that could lure you into it again.
If you were an adulterer or fornicator, bring every ungodly relationship to a close, break all conversations and contact with people that can rejuvenate lust back into your life, and you will be happy you did.