by Dr. Charles Stanley
In Touch Daily Devotional
Restored by Grace
Independence is a quality highly valued in America. We teach it to our children and we demand it for ourselves. There is even a statue called the Independent Man on top of the state capital of Rhode Island, a tribute to freedom and self-sufficiency. In the story of the prodigal son, we see one who took charge of his life and declared independence from his father. In it, the downward spiral of sin and the restoring grace of God are revealed.
Sin means acting independently of God’s will. It begins with a desire that is outside His plan. Next comes a decision to act on the desire. When we act, we find ourselves, like the prodigal, in a distant country, which is anywhere outside the will of God. To remain there requires deception. We deceive ourselves by thinking that we know better than God and ignoring any consequences. Defeat comes next. For a time all will seem fine but, like the reckless son in the story, we will find our way leads to defeat. Finally, we will arrive at despair resulting from famine of spirit, emotions, or relationships. That leads into desperation where our choices are few and all distasteful. The prodigal son ended up there.
But desperation is not the end of the prodigal's story—nor is it the end of ours when we sin. Why did Jesus give this account of the forgiving love of an earthly father? To point us to the restoring grace of our heavenly Father who waits with open arms for us, His wandering children.
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For a free online discipleship study from Dr. Charles Stanley, visit www.charlesstanleyinstitute.com.