I often worry that we so often take God and His Grace and Blessings for granted. Personally, I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior forty years ago. As a small child I was gleeful and eager to read the Bible, learn the scripture, and talk to God. I memorized the “standard” set of verses: John 3:16, Psalm 23, Matthew 6:9-13, “The Lord’s Prayer” and more. I spent time learning the names and order of appearance of the books of the Bible. I kept God’s commandments and worked hard at service.
Then I “grew up”; I think I also grew complacent. I knew God. I knew Christ as my Savior. I “knew” the Word … and yet the world crept in. There was homework to read. Papers to write. Places to go and things to do. And time slipped away as educational demands took up my days. Then came the long hours in corporate positions that demanded 12-hour days and six-day weeks if I was to climb the corporate ladder. “Success” was mine, but it was empty. There were promotions and new jobs, but there were also long hours and a feeling of emptiness. I was reaping the fruits of the world, but without the true peace of God.
Then I experienced a turning back, with a new job in a new city and a need for God that could not be denied. I went through challenge of career and conscience that demanded that I stand with God as I never had before. It was a time of trials: losing the “big job” for saying no to dishonest actions; dealing with a loved one diagnosed and ultimately dying from cancer. And being in a church that was filled with “good” people but compromised in following God fully without prejudice … a church of the world more than of God.
Perhaps you recognize your church in the following scripture about a church caught up in the world of false gods and practices, who accept and practice behavior unacceptable of God while making excuses for the errors of their ways:
Revelation 2:12–17 (NKJV)
The Compromising Church
12 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write,
‘These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword: 13 “I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. 14 But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. 16 Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth.
17 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”
God is the One God. The Alpha and Omega. Alef, Mem, Tav – What Was, Is and Will Be. In His Love, Grace, and Mercy He will forgive us our complacency, our compromises, and our mistakes IF we repent and turn back to Him. Whether you wonder for an instant or forty years from Him, He will always welcome you back with open arms. Prodigal son (or daughter) God is always there, waiting for us to turn to Him with all things, for all seasons.
Luke 15:11-32 The Parable of the Prodigal Son tells our story of straying and going away from God and the joy at our return to Him. Here are couple of the verses of the parable:
Luke 15:29–31 (NKJV)
29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours.
Our prodigal moments may simply a moment in time when we make the sinful choice instead of the Godly choice. It may be years of complacency where we stray away, it may be sitting in the pew on Sunday listening with our ears but not our hearts and spirit…it may be 40 years wondering in our own personal willfulness and wilderness. Whatever the timing or source of our complacency and compromise, we have a loving Father who will welcome us home we repent and turn back to Him. How Great is Our God!
Author: Lea A. Strickland, MBA CMA CFM CBM GMC
Copyright ©2012 Lea A. Strickland
All Rights Reserved