“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.’” (Luke 15:22 NIV)
In the story of the prodigal, we identify with the younger brother, seeing ourselves as prodigals returning to God.
Some of us even identify with the older brother, realizing we’ve sinfully harbored resentment when God shows grace to others who, in our wrongful judgment, are “less Christian” than ourselves.
But have you ever thought God wants you to identify with the prodigal’s father, who “keeps no record of wrongs” as he scans the horizon, always hoping for the return of his son (1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV)?
Consider that we’re on a journey, through Jesus, to become like the heavenly Father, where we become one with his heart, one with his mind, and one with his other-centered focus. We are called to become Christ-like, and when we resemble Jesus, we resemble the Father (John 10:30).
People will see the family resemblance in us; as sons and daughters, they’ll see the maturity of our Father working in and through us. Our objective is to become a father or mother of the faith, a living representation of the Father’s compassion for others.
To be honest, the idea of becoming a father of the faith is as alien to me as it may be for you to believe you could mature into a mother or father of the faith. In fact, it seems impossible; yet, it’s what we are meant to become.
What prevents you from growing into greater Christian maturity in 2012?
To echo Oswald Chambers, “Do you not want to be a saint, or do you not believe God can make you one?”
(The idea that we can mature into fathers and mothers of the faith is presented in Henri J. M. Nouwen’s book, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming.)
Jon Walker’s new book, In Visible Fellowship: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer's Classic Work “Life Together,” is a study of small group life.
Jon is managing editor of Rick Warren’s Daily Hope Devotionals and the author of Costly Grace: A Contemporary View of Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.” This devotional © Copyright 2012 Jon Walker. All rights reserved. Used by permission.