25215 Loving with Perfection

Luke 15:11–32

Years ago, I copied a quote I’d read somewhere into the front of my Bible: The greatest of saints is simply the greatest of receivers.

Think about that.

Can it be true? Is it really possible that our Father simply desires us to receive from Him?

I became a Christian when I was 16. Now, as I write this, I am almost 60. But it has only been in the last 15 years or so that I have finally begun to realize that God really does love me unconditionally. He loves me when I sin, like the lost son, and He loves me when I am prideful and self-righteous, like the hardworking, older brother. My behaviors and thoughts have nothing to do with His care and compassion for me. Love, not law, defines and fills God’s heart. My heavenly Father wants to have a loving relationship with me—a relationship in which I receive all He has planned for me.

God is love. He is always full of compassion for us. He always has our best interests at heart. Nothing can stop God from loving you. He values you. You are of infinite worth to him.

Jesus told this parable about the lost son and his older brother to help us understand our Father’s heart. He told the story to help us see our Father as He really is. Each and every moment of each and every day, He gives His gift of love to us.

However, the giving of a gift is only half of the transaction. A transaction is not complete until the gift is received. The question is: Will we accept the invitation to a joyful, love-relationship with our Father that He freely offers?

Read Luke 15:11–32 (Parable of the Lost Son).

Questions

Q. 1. What do the father’s actions tell you about his heart toward his younger son?

Q. 2. If you had been away for a long time and someone you knew came running joyfully to welcome you, how would you feel? What would their joyful welcome tell you about how he/she felt about you?

Q. 3. What do the father’s words in verses 31–32 tell you about his heart toward his oldest son?

Q. ”4.

was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” How are these words central to the father’s joy and his desire for both his sons?”]

Q. 5. What words would you use to describe the father in this story?

Q. 6. God doesn’t want us to live life as the lost son or as the older brother. How do we come to live life as God planned for us to live it?

Q. 7. What do we experience when we choose to be in relationship with our heavenly Father?

Q. 8. What have you learned from this parable about how your heavenly Father sees you?

Q. 9. Putting aside what you may have learned from Jesus’ parable, how do you actually believe, deep down in your heart, that your heavenly Father sees you?

Q. 10. Our Father’s love for us is not the issue. Always it is strong and unwavering. the issue is whether or not we will accept the compassion He is freely offering. What wrong thoughts might be keeping you from embracing the vast, unconditional love the Father freely offers you?

Q. 11. How do you know when someone really loves you?

Q. 12. How do you personally know that God really loves you?

Reflection

If possible, listen to the song “Reckless Love” as recorded by Cory Asbury. (To watch a video, you will need Internet access.) If you cannot access the video, slowly and thoughtfully read the lyrics. Let God speak to you through the words.

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