“The younger [son] said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’” Luke 15:12 (NIV)
In Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, the younger son gets his money and goes to live as far away from his father as he can. But he squanders his money, and then Jesus says, “There was a famine in that country and he began to be in need.”
So he got a job feeding pigs, and the pigs were fed, but he was hungry. Then Jesus says, “He came to his senses.” The son reasoned, My father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death. I’ll go back to my father and say, “I’ve sinned against heaven and against you. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your servants” (15:17-19, author’s paraphrase).
The son said, “Just give me my money! Let me live my own life!” There was real hostility there. Apart from God’s grace, this is our natural condition: “The sinful mind is hostile to God” (Rom. 8:7). We shake our fists at God. And it’s been like this ever since the Garden of Eden.
But then the son came to his senses, and he thought again about his father, My father’s hired men have food to spare. And he thought again about himself, Here I am starving to death (15:17). This is a moment of great honesty, This isn’t working. I’m starving to death, while my father’s men have food to spare. What am I thinking?
That’s where repentance begins: Why am I living at a distance from God? Why am I fighting him? What am I trying to prove? He changed his mind and then he was able to move, “So he got up and went to his father” (15:20). Repentance is a change of behavior that flows from a change of mind about God and about yourself.
Do you need to think again about God the Father? About yourself?