Victorious Living (Part 3)
Last week I ended by saying that both of the Prodigal father’s sons were a-like when it came to their inner beliefs about the father’s character. Both of them believed the father to be very legalistic and unforgiving. Because they viewed the father in this way, they both believed they had to work hard and keep all the rules before the father would give them their full inheritance which would enable them to experience the peace, happiness and fulfillment they desired. The eldest was willing to delay his desire for gratification and do the necessary work to earn his birthright. After all, he had the most to lose by leaving because by law the eldest would receive a double portion. Therefore, he went into the field with the hope of receiving all his heart desired in the future. Such was not the case with the younger brother. He was not willing to delay his desire for gratification, he wanted his immediately. Even though he would not have received as much as his older brother, his portion would still have made him rich enough to fulfill his every desire for the rest of his life. The only problem was, he would have do as his older brother and work hard in the vineyards of the father so he could earn his portion before he could experience the peace, happiness and fulfillment he desired. However, the younger brother felt he could wait no longer, he had tried to be strong like his older brother and deny his lust for life but he was not strong enough to just say no to the temptations that came upon him in waves of strength that he could no longer resist. Therefore, he went into the world and indulged his every fleshly desire because he felt he was not strong enough to please the father and earn his inheritance.
But here is the two important points I don’t want you to miss. First, both sons left the presence of the father. The younger son left the father’s presence when he left the premises and went into the world to party. The elder son stayed on the premises but left the father’s presence when he went into the field to work. Second, and more important, they both left the father’s presence for the same reason: They left because neither of them understood or believed the truth the psalmist expressed concerning God in Psalms 16:11. It says:
Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore. (Emphasis supplied)
There are many Christians today that do not understand or believe this truth. As a result, they struggle through life trying to be good enough to earn God’s favor so He will reward them in the sweet bye and bye. There are also those who have given up the struggle to deny their desires for happiness and are struggling to find it in the here and now. Either way, both are doomed to struggle on until they come to understand and experience the truth expressed in Psalms 16:11.
Next week I am going to begin to unpack the powerful and liberating truth expressed in Psalms 16:11. In the meantime, I want you to assess whether you have found fullness of joy and everlasting pleasures in the presence and right hand of God, your heavenly Father.