LUKE 15:17-19: “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” NKJV
OBSERVATION: Have you ever come to the end of yourself? I am not talking about a moment of exhaustion. I am referring to the moment when everything is stripped away and you are left looking in the mirror and seeing both life and yourself for what they really are!
There are many times in our life when we will be called to come to the end of self. We will be called to come to the end of self reliance. We will be called to come to the end of self indulgence. We will be called to come to the end of self preoccupation. It is a painful but necessary process if we are going to continue growing in Christ.
I will never forget my first house. I had a large backyard that was narrow but long. Toward the back of my backyard there was a large apricot tree. The first couple of years it did not produce many apricots. It was a large, mature tree, that had not been trimmed in a very long time. After the second year I did some minor trimming. The next spring we had such a bumper crop of apricots that I had to call my neighbors in to gather bagfuls for themselves. What made the difference?
It was the pruning! The overgrown branches represent our problem with self. One does not have to be living in sin like the Prodigal Son to be wrestling with self. All we need to do is simply get caught up in life. Our branches get overgrown. The tyranny of the urgent keeps us from what is important. We suffer from the Martha syndrome and stop sitting at the feet of Jesus. Before you know it we come to a moment of crisis. And, it is in this moment of crisis that we must – “…come to ourself.”
The wonderful promise of Scripture is that the Lord knows and understands this battle in our life. As we direct our life to abide in Him, He directs His faithfulness to allow us not to stay in our crisis. He leads us to these defining moments of dying to self and He is faithful to prune the areas in our life that need to be cut back so that we can be fruitful once again.
- “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:1-2 NKJV
It was the Holy Spirit that brought conviction to the heart of the Prodigal Son. It is also the Holy Spirit who brings conviction to our hearts. How do we come to the end of ourself? It is through the inward revelation of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. As we come to God in sincere repentance, He lovingly prunes the areas that need to be removed. He forgives, cleanses, and restores us. This is always the heart of the Father!
The enemy desires to keep us broken and wandering aimlessly through life. The Father desires to forgive, heal, and restore us to His full purposes in life. The enemy, and our guilt, will try to convince us that we have fallen beyond the reach of God’s grace. Yet, the story of the Prodigal Son reassures us that this is never the case. While others (like the eldest son), may write us off, the Father never does. He is always positioned with grace toward us waiting for us to return!
- “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.” Luke 15:20-24 NKJV
The Lord knows that we will battle with self (our flesh, old nature) throughout our life. It will be in different ways and in different circumstances. The promise is we never have to be afraid to run to the Father when we come to the end of ourself. He is always waiting with open arms.
Lord, thank You for always being there to receive me into Your loving arms. Help me to come to the end of myself each day. Help me to reckon myself dead unto sin (my flesh, my old way of living), and alive unto God (my spirit, the newness of walking after the Spirit).
Grant me grace to run to You today!
In Jesus Name!