Ok, this one’s for those of you who need a fresh start when it comes to relationships.
Maybe you’ve entered into the cycle of relational brokenness that our world offers … you know, the “try before you buy” method. The Bachey style. The Bold and the Beautiful. The blind dates, first dates, hanging out, flings, things, boyfies & baes .The feelings-based, hormones-driven, sex-as-the-goal orientated culture that flows straight outta Hollywood and into our TV screens, magazines, homes and eventually our hearts - that is, if we don’t guard them. Maybe you’re tired of leaving a string of broken hearts behind you. Maybe you’re tired of being broken-hearted. Maybe you feel like you’ve missed God’s calling because you’ve wasted your time, energy, affection, emotions and heart on fruitless relationships.
I want to tell you a story.
It’s a parable Jesus used to paint a picture of His heart towards us - specifically our mistakes. We all want a second chance right? It’s His answer to those of us who might have stuffed this whole “dating / courting / relationships” thing already. You might’ve screwed it up a few times - that’s ok - your story isn’t over. In fact, it’s found within this one written below:
/// LUKE 1 5 : 11 - 3 2 ///
11-12 Then he (Jesus) said, “There was once a man who had two sons. The younger said to his father, ‘Father, I want right now what’s coming to me.’ 12-16 “So the father divided the property between them. It wasn’t long before the younger son packed his bags and left for a distant country. There, undisciplined and dissipated, he wasted everything he had. After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any. 17-20 “That brought him to his senses. He said, ‘All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I’m going back to my father. I’ll say to him, Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.’ He got right up and went home to his father. 20-21 “When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: ‘Father, I’ve sinned against God, I’ve sinned before you; I don’t deserve to be called your son ever again.’ 22-24 “But the father wasn’t listening. He was calling to the servants, ‘Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We’re going to feast! We’re going to have a wonderful time! My son is here—given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!’ And they began to have a wonderful time.
Well done - you just read over 10 verses of the bible. But I needed you to read it all the way through. Here's what you need to know about this story and why it applies to you and your broken relationships:
THE WORLDLY CULTURE MADE HIM ITS’ SLAVE
Initially, the worldly culture the son immersed himself in looked fun, appealing, fast paced and free. But pretty soon, he realised he wasn’t experiencing “freedom” at all - he was a slave to that lifestyle - and he ended up eating with the pigs - the lowest of lows.
Our current culture heralds a similar message
This “sexually free” generation tells you that having boundaries will restrict you, and the “Hollywood style” is the real freedom. Yet behind the masks and closed doors, we see a different story. We see brokenness beyond belief. We see divorce that yields pain through the generations. We see unfulfilled people trying to seek sexual satisfaction in ways that do not satisfy. We see perversion of something beautiful (sex!) making men & women, young & old, slaves to pornography, addiction and worse - trafficking. In effect, they have become a slave to the culture. That is not freedom, friends. That is called enslavement. Quite the opposite of what we were initially going for.
DEFINITION OF SLAVE:
a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.
Sinful culture pretends to give you a choice. But the very nature of sin isn't to give choice - it's to lure you in, ensnare, and eventually "force you to obey". It's only until you're eating with the pigs that you realise you've been fooled. That the sinful way isn't the "free" way. It's dirty. It's uncomfortable. It's broken. And quite simply, it doesn't work.
THE FATHER OF SECOND CHANCES
Yet Jesus tells this story to show you what the Father is like. He is the Father who gave his undeserving, ungrateful son the ultimate second chance. When the son came to his senses and decided to come back home, even when he was a long way off, the father ran to him. This son got WAY MORE THAN HE BARGAINED FOR. He got a ring and a robe (status as a Son and a fresh clean start), he got a position in the house - not as a servant , but a SON!
If you’re reading this and you want a fresh start, your Father God is waiting on the porch of Heaven! God is your Heavenly Dad waiting for you to come to your senses - He waits to embrace you and wrap you up in his forgiveness. He’s not going to hold your past against you, He’s not going to keep a tally of your sin, He’s not going to shove your mistakes in your face. He just wants to get your life on track. He wants you to do it best way.
God doesn’t want you to be a slave to the world and a culture that lands you in a cycle of brokenness and broken hearts
He wants you to be a son or daughter in His kingdom!
If you’ve spent yourself - wasted your life, energy, time on relationships that have yielded no fruit - if you let yourself become a slave to the culture of this world - know that God is for you, not against you. He wants the best for you, and He wants freedom for you. He is the author of freedom itself, and outside of Him you simply cannot experience authentic freedom. He wants you to love big, love deep, and love well - He wants your relationships to yield fruit, life, freedom and goodness. In essence, as the perfect Father, He wants the very best for you. He waits for you to come back to the porch of His kingdom and accept the very best, waiting within His hands.
Jesus told this story so you would know He is the God of Infinite chances - if you need a fresh start, there is literally nothing - no sin, mistake, failure, background, past experience, relationship - nothing that can stay between you and God and the fresh start you’re looking for. Run back to Him, and live a new life.
Forsake HOLLYWOOD…and run to the HOLY WOOD of the cross that won your freedom
I think the Message translation sums it up pretty well:
/// ROMANS 1 2 : 1 - 2 ///
12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognise what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Guys & girls! If you don't get it by now, let me sum it up in my final words: if you've stuffed it up with sexual sin, relationships, broken hearts - whatever it is, you can run back to God. In fact, He's waiting for you to. Can He heal your broken heart? Absolutely. Can He teach you a better way? You bet. Can He turn poison into promise? That's what He does. But it all leans on YOU running to HIM. Leave the sinful culture behind in the mud - and run to the Father. It's your relationship with HIM that empowers you to live out the awesome, wholesome Kingdom Life. You're not a slave - you're a son or daughter - know it, believe it - and you'll act like it.
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