Prodigal or Pig

Prodigal or Pig
    But his father said to the servants, Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found. So the party began. Luke 15:22-24 (NLT)
    Im sure youve heard the story of the Prodigal Son. It is a story given by Jesus in the Book of Luke, depicting a son leaving his family to go out into the world to live his life according to what he desired, rather than living it the way he knew was right.
    As the story goes, the son confronts his father and tells him to I want my share of your estate now before you die. His father gives it to him, and within a few days the young man is packed, and off to a distant land. Once there, he lived foolishly and sinfully until all of his money was squandered on wild living.
    About this time, a famine broke out throughout the whole land, and he began to starve. He ended up persuading a local farmer to hire him, where he was sent out into the fields to feed the pigs. He became so hungry, even the pods, (the seeds of the carob tree used for pigs) looked good to him. But no one gave him anything.
    Finally, one day, he came to his senses, and he said to himself, At home, even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you.
    This story was shared by Jesus to illustrate the life of a Christian who turns away from what they know to be right, and they instead live carnally; seeking to live a life of pleasure.
    There are basically (3) types of people in the world.
    1. The Natural man.
    The Natural man is what we all were before we were saved. He or she simply lived by the flesh, constantly seeking to fulfill its desires. They were enslaved to sin.
    2. The Spiritual man.
    The Spiritual man is the one who has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and who now walks in the spirit abiding in Gods Word. He will stumble and even sin occasionally, but it is his or her desire to walk with God, and be right with Him.
    3. The Carnal Man.
    The Carnal Man has been born again, but he lives in the energy of his own flesh. He is not allowing the power of God given to him through the Holy Spirit to live a righteous life. Instead he continues to allow his body to determine what he will do. The Carnal Man, can appear to be saintly and righteous, but he is miserable inside because he knows he cant live up to the rules and regulations he has placed upon himself.
    And there is nothing more frustrating than to try to live and keep the commandments of God in an attempt to be accepted or loved by Him.
    The truth though is we dont have to live a righteous life to earn Gods unconditional love and acceptance. He already loved us enough to allow His Son to die for our us, and to pay for our mistakes (sin).
    Q: But how can we tell the difference between a Christian living carnally, and an unbeliever?
    A: This story above gives us insight. Take one of those pigs the Prodigal Son was tending to, and clean it up. Wash it with soap and water; throw some perfume on it, and tie a cute little ribbon on its head, and a bow on its tail. Take it on down to the local county fair and win a ribbon while showing him off. You see, although he appears to be transformed, hes still a pig. In fact, the very next mud hole that comes his way, hell stop and wallow in it with a happy heart, because thats who he really is.
    The Prodigal on the other hand, even though he might find himself willingly in the mud hole every now in then, he wont truly be comfortable there. It will only be a matter of time until he cries out, Get me out of here!
    As Christians, we will all be the prodigal at one point or another. Some of us will blow it big time, while others keep the appearance of righteousness, while playing in the mud, even if only in our mind. But it is really no difference, because we both walked away from the Lord in our hearts. We will both eventually cry out, forgive me Lord, I want to come back home. I want to be in the loving comfort of your arms Father.
    And God will respond with open arms, welcoming us back.
    Maybe youve taken a walk about and are still out there with the pigs even now. Perhaps its time to come home. Its easier than you think. Just stop and talk to your heavenly Father right now. Tell Him, Father, I want to come back. I want to have the peace I once felt when I was close with You. Forgive me for the way Ive been living. I choose to follow You today. Help me to walk with You. Show me what You want me to know when reading Your Word.
    Welcome back!
    STUDY QUESTION: According to the Scriptures above, what is Gods reaction when we come back to Him?
    PERSONAL INVENTORY: Can you relate to times within your own life, where youve been a prodigal? Are you walking away or towards God today?
    APPLICATION: Staying focused on God instead of the cares and the wants of this world is the surest way to staying close to the Lord. There is nothing in this world worth our soul or the peace we have been given when we are seeking God daily.
    Father, Thank You for Your unfailing love. Thank You for allowing me to make mistakes, and to learn from them. Thank You for accepting me back when I turned from the world and came back to You. I love You&In Jesus precious name, amen&
    Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000