To me, the best part of the story of the Prodigal Son is when he comes to his senses and decides to return to his father.nothing else in the story happens if he doesn’t make that choice. It’s the same choice you and I should be making as often as it takes. No matter how long you’ve walked with Christ, there are areas in our life that cause us to drift away. God is constantly calling us to return to Him, to return to our first love. Take a moment today to check your proximity to Jesus. Make the decision to return and receive all God has for you.
Here are some Bible verses on returning to God.
1. Bring your confessions, and return to the Lord. Say to him, “Forgive all our sins and graciously receive us, so that we may offer you our praises.
Hosea 14:2 NLT
2. Let us test and examine our ways, And let us return to the Lord.
Lamentations 3:40 AMP
3. For if you return to the Lord, your brothers and your children will find compassion with their captors and return to this land. For the Lord your God is gracious and merciful and will not turn away his face from you, if you return to him.
2 Chronicles 30:9 ESV
4. From the four corners of the earth, the peoples of the world will remember and return to Yahweh. Every nation will come and worship him.
Psalms 22:27 TPT
5. But now I say to you, “Return to me, and I will return to you.”
Have you ever had anything around your house or yard that broke or fell into disrepair? Did you ever let said thing just sit there? Many of us do. We put off what could be done today until tomorrow. The next thing you know, years have passed and that thing is still sitting there broken. Your spouse may ask you to throw it away, but you insist that you’re going to repair it. Part of the problem is that when it broke, you created a workaround for not using it. You turned to something else that may not be as effective, but you got used to it. The truth is you forget the other item until it’s brought up again, and again, and again. Then one day, you repair it and you wonder why you let so much time go by before you did.
After Solomon died, there were a series of kings in Israel. The kingdom split in two where Israel was in the north and Judah was in the south. Judah contained Jerusalem where the Temple was. However, there were many kings who didn’t follow God’s Law and the Temple fell into disrepair. Then Asa became king and He pleased God with how He lived. When an army attacked, he turned to God for help and God gave them a victory when defeat was certain. After they returned to Jerusalem, the prophet Azariah came and told Asa that for a long time they had abandoned God. If they would return to Him, He would continue to protect them, provide for them and reward them. When Asa heard this, he got rid of all the idols in the land. Them 2 Chronicles 15:8 says, “He also repaired the altar of the Lord that stood in the Temple courtyard” (GNT).
When I read that, I couldn’t help but think of my own life. There are times when I quit relying on God and do things myself. I create work around for the power of God in my life and I walk past the broken altar to Him doing things my way instead. I believe we all go through these times, but God is calling me and you back to repair the altar in our life. He’s drawing us back into the prayer closet, back into quality time with Him, back into His Word and back into relationship with Him. Like Asa, if we will return to that place with God, His promises will return to our life. It’s time that each of us go back to the altar, repair it and draw closer to God. I believe the time is getting short and we can’t afford to serve Him just using our work arounds or solely out of habit or ritual. We must return to our first love and serve Him whole heartedly, and that begins with returning to the altar of the Lord in our life and repairing it.
One of the mantras that I’ve heard for a while is, “Change before you have to.” I wasn’t always sure what that meant, but I’ve found out a few times in my life and wished I had. Many times the Holy Spirit has sounded the warning alarms in my life, and many of those times I’ve hit the snooze button. His warnings are letting us know that if we continue on the path we’re on, we’re headed for trouble. When I’ve disregarded them, I’ve fallen flat on my face and gone through some painful times as a result of my sin. Sometimes I’m so hard headed and want to do things my own way that the only way I’ll listen or make the necessary changes in my life are to go through a painful time so that next time I’ll listen. God is more concerned with our holiness than our comfort.
It’s hard to put some things in perspective as you read the Bible. In some books, you may cover hundreds of years of history. I keep thinking, “How did they mess up again so quickly? Why won’t they learn?” Yet, their track record is better than mine a lot of the times. In Deuteronomy 30:19 God said He sets before us life and death, blessings and cursing, and that the choice is ours. He wants us to choose life, but when we don’t, their are painful consequences to help us to turn back to Him and to remind us not to go down that path again. It works for a while, but our brains are bent toward trying to do things our way instead of His. Pain is often one of the best motivators for our brain, and it can condition it to not repeat mistakes.
God knows you and I aren’t perfect. He knows we’re going to mess up. Thankfully He doesn’t wipe His hands clean of us and give up. His grace is greater than our biggest mistakes and His offer of forgiveness is open to us. God will do whatever it takes to bring us back, even if it means pain, discomfort or embarrassment. Proverbs 20:30 says, “Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways” (GNT). He knows there are a lot of stubborn people like myself who need those painful reminders to come back home. The Prodigal Son lasted in his painful experience as long as he could before he finally decided to go back home. You and I have the same opportunity to return to a waiting Father who will run to us, love us and put the family robe and ring back on our finger if only we will return.