Bringing the Prodigal Home

During a devotion that I ran for school children recently, I asked the question, ‘can people change?’, or more specifically, ‘can God change people?’ There was an interesting range of responses.We pondered these questions in the backdrop of Saul becoming Paul from Acts 9 onwards, when he was blinded on Damascus road.Of course, Paul was changed. Paul was turned around 180 degrees. He went from marauding the church to become Christ’s most influential apostle, from hating Jesus to loving Jesus. He is the most salient example of what God can do to change a solitary life.If God transformed marauding Saul into long-suffering and loving Paul, He can change me and you, and any other person, too.During the devotion we talked about the topic of conviction; how the Holy Spirit can reveal the truth to a person regarding their sin, and, in having had that revelation, that person’s soul is convicted (of a sense, found guilty) and they feel self-obliged to repent. They’re personally convinced. Nobody can talk them out of it. They depart from their life of idolatry or wickedness or evil, and they turn back to God and enter into a contract of goodness with Him. Doesn’t mean they’re perfect, but an ardent work in progress. They no longer glory in doing wrong.You may be reading this right now with a loved one in mind; someone you cherish who is still struggling to find their way in life, and desperately needs God to intervene and to convict them in such a way as to power them out of their life that’s become unmanageable into a life that thrives upon purpose and hope; a responsible life.Don’t give up. Maintain your praying.Keep believing better days are ahead.A harvest is possible if you don’t give up.Your loved one does need your prayers, for prayers have a way of leaking out into action, and it’s amazing how God gets others involved in the lives of our loved ones when we’re praying for them. And we can be encouraged to know that in the kingdom of God there is a common desire to bring the prodigal home. We all should know it’s only God who can do that; or, more accurately, God’s conviction on the prodigal’s heart and their response of repentance. There is nothing condemning in any of this, nor any reason for the prodigal to feel singled out, because prodigals have been brought home in every generation throughout the centuries of history. It’s a common human narrative.You may be reading this right now and be the one to whom it is referred. You may very well wish to change your ways yet feel hopelessly outgunned regarding how to turn your life around. Seek help. You may well know just how much others are praying for you. They are. You may wish that their prayers could be answered. They can be. Indeed, your prayer may well be that you could be the proverbial prodigal son or daughter returning home. Good on you! Let these words be a prayer of affirmation to these ends.Don’t give up. Maintain your praying.Keep believing better days are ahead.A harvest is possible if you don’t give up.God can change anyone. I’ve seen it in my life. And, from a ministry perspective, I’ve seen it in plenty of others’ lives. People do turn their lives around. People do change. Especially if they don’t give up in their intent to change. They may need to fail time and again in order that God would determine that their heart is serious enough to endure. The one who doesn’t give up will find a way to overcome, and that way involves conviction – a state of true remorse that impels the person forward on a new life direction.Of this be sure: God comes to the aid of the one who endures failure and doesn’t ultimately give up.** The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a story Jesus told in Luke 15:11-32 to illustrate not only the Father’s love, but the grace that redeems a wasteful son (or daughter). This parable also highlights the self-righteousness of an older brother who will not forgive the younger brother.

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