Who doesn’t love the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-24)? A young man decided to leave the safety of his father’s house, take all of his inheritance, and wastefully lavish himself in worldly living. You know what they say, sin is sweet but for a season. He eventually left that lifestyle after realizing the mistake he’d made and went back home safe and sound. The passage says ‘he began to be in need’ but no one gave him anything. That was part of the plan, he needed to lose everything before he would recognize his need: wholeness.
Verse 17 tells us that this man ‘came to himself’. He had an awakening, a revelation from God that his present condition of brokenness and need was not what he had envisioned. This enlightenment by the Holy Spirit is always needed as we pray for ourselves and our loved ones. Dire circumstances always bring a believer to their knees as they admit to their powerlessness before God. And the best part; He’s available to hear our cries and respond.
The story goes on to tell us (vs. 27) that this young man arrived back at his father’s house safe and sound. The Greek word used here is interesting. It means to be physically well, sound, and healthy. I wouldn’t have expected this man to return home in this condition but when you consider his great awakening it makes more sense. His brokenness before God undoubtedly brought repentance and therefore forgiveness: he was whole.
How many of us or our loved ones need this divine revelation? Our self-sufficiency has led to pride and God is left out of of the equation. We think we can do it ourselves. Like the prodigal, we may come to that place where we are in need in order for God to bring breakthrough.
That same word for safe and sound comes from a root word meaning to grow up or increase. Paul writes:
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 NLT
“Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.” Colossians 1:10 NLT
So whether you’re like the prodigal or have become stagnant in your spiritual growth; it’s time to grow up! Wholeness comes by our continual brokenness, what a paradox, as Jesus shows us.
“And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” Luke 5:31 ESV
Finally, we are encouraged to grow into sound doctrine. The teachings of the Church are vital to our faith. As Paul used this same word five times in his letter to Titus let’s keep our doctrine safe and sound as we grow in Christ.