You are mine. And I am yours. I hold nothing back from you. I have given you the kingdom. You are my heir. You are my child. You are the one I chose to give everything to. All my love, all my attention, all my dreams. When love is poured into you, as I pour my love into you, what do you do with it? This is what I want to tell you: my love is something for you to get to know. There are many dimensions to it. It is greater than you can imagine. But don’t you want to imagine it? Don’t you want to know it more?
You have been introduced to it. You have seen glimpses of it. My Son’s ultimate sacrifice for you—his death that you may live with Me and experience my love—is not just an idea to be worshipped. For I am love. I am love. I want you to get to know Me. I want you to get to know Him. You cannot know Me without experiencing my love for you. So I want to pour more and more of my love into you. I want relationship with you. I want connection with you. I want your heart to know mine and for nothing to get in the way of this, of us.
My love is a waterfall that does not stop. It is never depleted. It never runs dry. It is the most powerful thing I can ever give you. More powerful than hope, more powerful than peace, more powerful than patience and kindness, gentleness and self-control. These fruits of the Spirit are fruit of my love. You can’t experience fruit without knowing the tree, the source, from which it came. My love is the beginning of all things—everything good. And I want you to know this love. I want you to know Me.
I am jealous for you, you see. I want my love to consume you. I don’t want anything else to get in the way. Not fear, not doubt. How can you second-guess love? How can you second-guess Me? There is nothing else you need more than Me. My love heals all your wounds. My love brings hope to the broken-hearted. My love hates fear and destroys it.
When Love is here, there is no room for anything else. There is no room for fear, there is no room for hate, there is no room for unkindness, there is no room for evil, there is no room for selfishness or contempt or greed or vanity or sloth or deceit. For with my love you run to Me, and into My heart. With my love flowing through you, overwhelming you, inhabiting you, you are not who you were before. You are claiming your true identity—the one I have always known and loved and seen. You are not the you you have known before—you are a new version of you because the false you, the old man, has been taken off and the new self is born. In my love you begin again.You are taking your place as the heir of God.
Ask Me for what you need. Share with me your heart’s desires. Tell Me all your hopes, all your thoughts, all your worries, all your dreams. I want you go deeper into my love. Run, run, run, run, run, deeper into my love for you. It is so good. It is all you want. It is all you need. It is here, waiting for you. I am here, waiting for you. I love you. I adore you. Come Home. Come home to love. Come home to Me.
Holy Spirit says that when we allow Him to love us, it’s like coming Home—coming back home to the loving God we left—either for a short while . . . or a long time. Jesus uses this same idea too, of coming home, when he tells The Parable of the Prodigal Son,” captured by Luke the Evangelist in chapter 15 of the Book of Luke.
In that story, a man has two sons. The younger of them insults his father by demanding to be paid his inheritance early. Once the money is secured, the son leaves home, goes to a far country, and proceeds to squander the money with reckless living—to the point of destitution. Desperate and starving and in bad shape, the son decides to return home. He makes plans to beg his father for restoration—but not to his original position as a son. (He figures his father wouldn’t take him back as a son.) So, his plan is to ask for a position as one of the father’s hired servants.
The father sees his son coming home—and he sees him while he’s still far off, so the father had clearly been watching for him even since he left. And what’s the father’s response? He is relieved, and he is ecstatic that his precious boy has come back. He runs to him, robes flying, arms open. And the son doesn’t even have a chance to get his speech out—the one he’d rehearsed about maybe being accepted back as a lowly servant. The father interrupts him and immediately accepts him back as his son. In fact, the father treats his son like royalty.
He puts his robe on his shoulders—signifying that the son is indeed a member of the man’s family. He puts a ring on his finger—signifying that the son has the full authority that a member of that family would have. He puts sandals on his feet—signifying that the son isindeed a son, and is not a servant. And then the father arranges a feast—a big party—to celebrate his son’s return.
The son had returned, not to rejection, not to punishment, not even to justice or fairness, but to unconditional love and acceptance. He is welcomed and embraced and celebrated. And then the son does something radical—though he’s no doubt humbled, he receives his father’s love. Though it doesn’t make sense, he accepts it. He goes into the party. He enters into his father’s love.
Now, the older brother. The older brother doesn’t like how things just went down. He questions the whole thing. He doesn’t think his younger brother deserves all of this. He compares his own actions to those of his younger, much more irresponsible brother. He didn’t insult his father. He never demanded his inheritance. He didn’t waste his inheritance. Henever left. He did everything right. And now, he wants justice. And he chooses not to go into the party.
The father, missing his older son, comes out of the party and asks him to join the celebration. But the older son refuses. He’s bitter. The father tells him, there is no need for bitterness. The older son hasn’t missed out on a thing. All his father has is his. But as the parable ends, the older son is still refusing to go into the party. Because of his comparison and bitterness, he refuses to surrender into the fullness of his father’s love.
Do you connect more with the younger son or the older son? Henri Nouwen, in his book The Return of the Prodigal Son, challenges us to consider that question—because Jesus’ parables are meant to bring truth and clarity and redemption to things that are universal, things that human beings have been struggling with for millenia.
Do you connect with the younger son, running away from God’s love? Out on your own journey, searching? Nouwen wrote, “I am the prodigal son every time I search for unconditional love where it cannot be found.” “Why do I keep ignoring the place of true love and persist in looking for it elsewhere?” he asks. “Why do I keep leaving home where I am called a child of God, the Beloved of my Father?”
Or do you connect more with the older son, often feeling superior and judgmental? Nouwen confesses that whenever he’s harboring a spoken and unspoken complaint toward God, he recognizes himself as the older son. He wrote, “It is the complaint that cries out: ‘I have tried so hard, worked so long, did so much, and still I have not received what others gets so easily. Why do people not thank me, not invite me, not play with me, not honor me, while they pay so much attention to those who take life so easily and so casually?’”
Remember the words we just heard from Holy Spirit: “For I am love. I am love. I want you to get to know Me . . . I want to pour more and more of my love into you. I want relationship with you. I want connection with you. I want your heart to know mine and for nothing to get in the way of this, of us.”
So, get into a comfortable position. And ask God to show you who you are most like, in this season, in The Parable of the Prodigal Son. Ask Him to show you what’s getting in the way of being able to receive His love.
Father, I see You dropping everything and running toward me, arms outstretched, Your facial expression full of joy and love. I know how You hate it when I separate myself from You—but also know how You celebrate like crazy every time I return. I love how you accept me, love me, and throw a party, no matter where I’ve been or what I’ve done.
But, I confess, it’s those things that I’ve done—whether they’re younger brother kinds of things or older brother kinds of things—it’s those things that make me hesitant to draw near to you, to be honest with You, to listen to You. But I want to be the kind of person who runs to his dad, just as my dad is running toward me. I want to be the kind of person who welcomes his dad’s love when he needs it most—not when he’s feeling good about himself, but when he’s feeling bad and sad and ashamed of himself too.
I want to be the kind of person who walks right up into the party—even when he doesn’t want to or doesn’t think he deserves to be enjoying a party. I want to be the kind of person who’s always desperate for Your love, even when I don’t deserve it—because I never deserve it. But I get it, nonetheless.
Thank you for being You, Amen.
Ran across this devotion this morning. Really seemed fitting and perfect for a day like today. Some of you will understand why. Some of you will not. But it’s perfect. We are so blessed.
You all have a great week!
(Full devotional study can be found on the YouVersion Bible app. It’s named “Surrender Control // Learning to Relax”)