Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Better than Chocolate

Luke 15:15-20 – Then he went to work for one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. He longed to eat his fill from the carob pods the pigs were eating, but no one would give him any. When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired hands have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger! I'll get up, go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I'm no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired hands.' So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. (HCS)

I have believed in Gods existence and His goodness since I was five years old. However, that fact alone, or even combined with going to church every Sunday and doing "good works" -- It was not actually enough to make me a true Christian. A belief in the existance of God is just not enough. James 2:19 says “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (KJV) I truly became a Christian only when I surrendered my life to Christ and asked Him to save me. Here’s another way to look at it: I became a Christian when I got up out of the pig pen and went to my Father. In other words, when I acted on my belief.

We must do more than say we believe, we must make the effort to move ourselves out of the life of this world and into the life Christ would have us live. We must ask Him to carry our burdens, our mistakes, and our sins, and ask Him to guide our steps. Faith involves trusting His promises and relying on HIM, not on ourselves.

Some translations of Scripture (such as the Holeman) tell us that the pigs tended by the Prodigal Son were fed on carob pods. Many of us are familiar with carob as a substitute for chocolate. So, imagine yourself covered in mud, cold, hungry… In the air there is a smell something like chocolate, but no one offers you anything to eat, and the whole time you know that your Father has real rich, yummy, good chocolate and all kinds of good things which he shares with everyone, even the servants.

Wouldn’t you go home too?

Each of us have different moments when we feel the compelling call of Our Lord, when we have reached a point of spiritual hunger so that we can no longer resist the goodness of the life Christ offers. For me that moment came in a small church near my college. The sermon that Easter Sunday seemed preached directly at me, at the barriers of pride that had been keeping me from a true relationship with the One God who loved me and gave His Son to save me. I left that church in tears, tears of joy in my new life, tears of sorrow at the years I had wasted not living in His will, and tears of pain for the prideful sins, the burdens, that I had added to the weight of the cross.

I can tell you, if you do not yet know for yourself, that when you take that step towards the Father, when you stop just knowing He’s there and start seeking to be in His Presence, He will come running to meet you – just like the parable says.

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