What Being The Prodigal Son Taught Me About Being Made Perfect In Love

Paul Luckett | Brainflurry.com What Being The Prodigal Son Taught Me About Being Perfected In Love

As I was studying for an upcoming marriage ministry that Melissa and I are a part of, the lesson converged in a beautiful and unexpected way with my meditations on home and I hope it blesses you the way it blessed me.

Our marriage ministry class is going through a workbook called Husband & Wives (I highly recommend it) and we’re on the chapter about love. In it I came across 1 John 4:18 that says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.”

It prompted the question, “What is the fear that this verse is referring to and what does it mean by torment?” Before I had completely formed the thought, I already knew in my heart what it meant. I am familiar with that torment.

It’s the torment of failing so miserably, being so broken, that no matter how you try, you’re utterly unable to fix it or to do anything that makes you worthy of acceptance. It’s the fear of rejection, of being abandoned and stranded, having no way home, it’s the terror of being alone.

And, that led me to understand what it meant to be “made perfect in love”. You know who was made perfect in love?

The Prodigal Son.

I know because I am the Prodigal Son. In the Parable of the Prodigal Son found in Luke 15:11-32 take note that the son was loved by the father in such a way that “when he came to himself” (v17) he had reason to believe that he could return home. And, just as importantly, he also knew he could not return home and continue to live however he wanted -he had to repent (v18).

The son acknowledging his sin and assuming a posture of humility in his heart, began the trip home. He was on the way, but while “he was still a great way off” and before he could get out the apology he had been practicing, the father ran to him and embraced him. The son repented and asked to return home, not as a son, but as any other stranger whom his father might hire as a servant. “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.” (v23)

Rather than treat him as the prodigal and wayward son that he was, the father gave the son his best and restored him to what the father had always seen the son as: a prince. What amazing grace! It was as that moment, that what the son had only considered as a possibility before (maybe my father will accept me), he now knew irrevocably. It was then that the son was perfected in love because he knew that his acceptance was sure, because it was not based on his goodness but on the goodness of his father.

Hallelujah.

But, there’s more.

The father had another son. And as my mentor and spiritual father Pastor Gregory Jones would wisely point out, the lesson is as much about the second son as the first. The elder son who had remained home and who had been obedient was enraged at hearing of his father’s reception of his wanton and wasteful younger brother. But, “[the] father came out and pleaded with him”(v28) saying to the older son, “Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.” (v31-32)

The lesson of the elder brother is this: you can “stay” in the house, do things that look right and be just as wayward in your heart as the prodigal son who “left”. To be perfected, we must have more than a mere association with the Father and more than works done out of rote obligation (Matthew 5:20). We have to know the Father (this is what Jesus came to teach us -John 14:6-7, John 17:1-4) and we must have the Father’s heart (when we believe Jesus, this is what He gives us -John 3).

To be made perfect in love is being assured of our acceptance in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6) because we know the goodness of the Father. Such love transforms us and gives us a heart to love the way he loves, not the world’s love that allows and approves of wrongdoing, but love that perfects, builds up and is gracious while affirming good and resisting evil. When we love the way He loves we become as He is and…

“Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgement; because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love cast out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. We love Him because He first loved us.” -1 John 4:17-19

Whatever your proximity to God, no matter how far you think you’ve gotten, getting home takes only one step because God has been unceasingly moving towards you, His heart for you has never changed, before the beginning He made up His mind about you to love you. His love letter to us, the Bible, says that everyone who comes to Him, He will “by no means” turn away (John 6:37). And, the Way is Jesus who will teach us of the father’s goodness, give us the father’s heart, build us up into a spiritual home for others on this journey and perfect our love.

I’m a witness.

#perfectourlove

Fine Without God

Only Light In The Darkness

 

I reject God believing “I am fine without God”. At the heart of that thinking is a belief that the light I’m walking in is my own.
 
Whatever your proximity to God, all light you enjoy -any semblance of love, justice or truth comes from Him. These are not concepts of human invention or products of our effort. They are characteristics of God that emanate from Him and shine through His vessels.
 
But there is coming a terrible day, after God’s offer of Himself and plea to choose life has gone out to every creature under heaven, that God will withdraw Himself completely from those who reject Him,
 
“For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light; The sun will be darkened in its going forth, And the moon will not cause its light to shine.” Isaiah 13:10, Mark 13:24
 
God will allow them their desire -utter darkness because “they loved darkness rather than light” John 3:19. In His withdrawal, He will also take His people. Not one who bares His Light will remain. Mankind will be completely left to languish in their own corruption and cruelty, being devoid of understanding, with no hope of any good. There will be no love, truth, justice nor anything of the sort -no light.
 
This is why Jesus proclaims, “I must work while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.” John 9:4
 
I remember my ignorance of the harm I was doing and how I was being harmed, until finally I was forced to acknowledge my sin because it was piled up to heaven and I was being crushed under the weight of it. I was not fine without God. And, neither are you.
 
Be not deceived, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” James 1:17
 
I am so thankful that while I was in darkness, hope remained for me and there shone a great light. Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 4:16
 
And, there remains hope for you! The love of God compels me, “Believe Jesus, be freed from darkness and receive the Light of the world!” John 8:12
 
How can you test what I’m saying? How can you know it is true? The closer you walk with God through faith in Christ, the greater your light will shine.

The Most Important Word

Brainflurry.com | Sin - The Most Important Word

What word in the Bible do I believe is the most important, even more so than justice, love, truth and even faith?

Sin.

Sin means to miss the mark, to offend. It indicates that there is someone that set the mark. Which further indicates there is someone who claims to have the authority to set the mark.

On what basis can one claim such authority? The very word “authority” suggest the answer: authorship.

Sin demands a Creator who has the authority of ownership and thereby the right to set the mark.

According to the Bible, the Creator set that mark for us to be His representatives in the earth, to be caretakers of it. But we were not satisfied with being His representatives and in ignorance of the knowledge and power it takes to sustain creation, we rejected His rule and made for ourselves gods we could understand and control so that we could be the rulers and sit on the throne instead of God. In our effort to gain and to maintain power we have suppressed what can be known of God even apart from the revelation of Holy Scripture by creating false and distracting narratives. In our ignorance, we were also unaware of the immutable spiritual law that to whosever’s idea you yield or to command you obey, you become that person’s slave. Furthermore, we did not understand that ideas do not originate with us: they either stem from Truth or Lies, Good or Evil. As such, by obeying a command stemming from lies we did not become rulers as we thought but subjects, trading the rule of a loving God for the rule of the Father of Lies. We thereby entered in league with Satan and acting as his subjects, we threw the world into disorder, injustice and evil.

We missed the mark.

We used what has been given to us for purposes other than what the Giver intended, thereby opposing and offending God which is sin. There was yet another immutable law, the penalty of sin is death. Sin is opposed to God and whatever opposes God will be destroyed. We are all guilty under this law, leaving corruption and death in our wake and becoming enemies of the Creator, appointed to destruction.

But, God.

But, God was not caught unaware. In fact it was part of His design. Before time, He purposed to grow His beloved family, accounted for our weakness and prepared a Way out for those who were born into corruption but would accept His Love.

In His tender mercy and His loving kindness, God humbled Himself to plea His case with the creatures He made! He spoke through messengers and even established an entire nation to demonstrate the impossible task of humans bridging the gap between themselves and God, even if we were given the instructions!

These were tutors to humble us and bring us back to square one that upholding and governing the universe –achieving good, requires that God does it. But even more than that, it was to prepare us for His greatest act of Love yet, making His appeal to us flesh and walk among us. Such was God’s desire to be with us that He came and made His case to us directly in the person of Jesus Christ!

But not only that, Jesus was sent to take back the creation we lost by being a human that presents Himself obedient to God, being a caretaker of creation, advancing the kingdom of God by taking dominion of the earth, submitting everything that enters His domain to the Father, translating it from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light.

Not only that, He sent Jesus to satisfy the penalty of sin -death, by dying Himself, so that there would no longer be any separation between us and God. Being a perfect man in whom the fullness of God dwells, Jesus is a sacrifice who’s worth can cover all the sin of all mankind; past, present and future. So great is His worth that His sacrifice forever tips the scale so that grace continually abounds toward us.

Not only that, when we believe that God sent the Son, we agree with God about our sin, that the penalty is just, that we are incapable of setting things right, that He alone is good and fit to rule and we, having now no reason to boast, are at His mercy to restore us and all creation.

Not only that, for those that humble themselves, acknowledge their error and place all their hope in Christ, so great is God’s love towards us that rather than leave them subjects, He gives us robes and crowns and makes us sons and daughters! Hallelujah!!!

In this age, by the tutelage Christ’s example provides but moreover by the power God provides and that we receive through faith, we are transformed and given a new heart -a new center of our being with new desires. We want what God wants and walk as Christ walked -living obedient to God, submitting everything in our domain to Christ as he continually translates everything from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light until that day when all things have been put under His feet -where all evil, darkness and even death have been abolished. Our ultimate hope is the resurrection that begins the age where we reign with Christ and live with our loving Father and all those that love Him forever.

To many, this is utter foolishness but if any of this resonates with you, you are being saved.

You need only need to confess a belief at the center of your being (in your heart) that the Father sent the Son and raised Him from the dead to be saved -saved from the death your sin is contributing to the world now and the second death later; the wrath of God to come.

If you want to learn more, start here: https://bit.ly/39ipuDP

I love you.