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  • Writer's pictureKandi Swift

Identity Crisis

Have you ever struggled with your self-worth, or felt that your past faults and failures disqualified you from being all God created you to be? 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV) - “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

Recently in my devotional time, I reread the story of the prodigal son found in Luke, chapter eleven. Most of us have heard the story and are familiar with it. We’ve used the comparison many times when referring to those who have walked away from their Christian walk, and it’s been our standard of hope as we’ve prayed for them. Some of us have even felt that his experience was part of the narrative to our own story. As a side note, I’ve always thought prodigal meant wayward, sinner or fallen from grace and was surprised when I looked it up to find that’s not what it means at all. It actually means squanderer and reckless. However, we do know he was a wayward son.

The prodigal son asked his father for his portion of goods, or inheritance, and the father gave it to him. It appears the father gave it freely because I don’t see anywhere that the son begged or pleaded for it. A few days after receiving his portion, he moved to a far country to live it up. The bible doesn’t say this, but when I read the story I envision something like an 18-year-old boy that just came into a lot of money and didn’t know how to handle it. He’s technically an adult but hasn’t lived enough life to know how to make adult choices, so he goes wild spending all of his money on things he shouldn’t spend it on and soon finds himself in a bad situation with nothing left. This son wandered so far away from home that he had no family around to help him out, and I have a feeling his angry brother wouldn’t have helped him anyway. The country he moved to was devastated by a severe famine and the young boy was so desperate that he took a job feeding pigs. The bible says he was so hungry that he was willing to eat even the pigs’ food, but no one would give him any.

One day, he remembers that his father’s hired servants have plenty of food and here he is starving. So, he decides to go home and offer to work as a servant in his father’s house. At least he would have something decent to eat. In all of his squandering, he lost his identity and was willing to settle being a hired servant, rather than resuming his position as a son. I have to imagine the son tried everything possible to figure it out on his own before resorting to going back home, because who wants to admit they wasted it all away. He was probably embarrassed and humiliated, but where else could he go? We see when he returns, he admits to his father that he messed it all up and even states he is no longer worthy to be called his son. His father doesn’t respond in the way he expects and instead welcomes him with open arms, adorns him with a ring and a robe as though he is royalty and throws a celebration with the finest food.

Before this story began, the son recognized his value and position with his father and in his father’s household. After his failures, he determined he was no longer worthy. He devalued himself and equated his worth to his failures and mistakes. The father, on the other hand, demonstrates to his son that his actions have nothing to do with his value and proceeds to treat him to the finest he has to offer, as though he had never left.

So it is with our Heavenly Father, and the meaning of this parable. We mess up, we squander our Godly inheritance, we make poor choices and think we can do it all on our own. Then we come to our senses and realize our foolish decisions and that we need Him. Sometimes we’re just like the prodigal son and convince ourselves that we’ve messed up so badly that surely we’ve lost our position as sons and daughters. We equate our actions, good or bad, to our worth. When God the Father’s opinion of us, and valuation of us never changes. He wants us to know that our worth and value is based on the price He paid and not on the deeds we’ve done. That price was and is His valuation of our worth and nothing we have done or could ever do can change that.

If you’ve wandered away for a season and want to return, the Father is waiting. If you did some wandering and have since returned but feel ashamed, embarrassed or that your value is now tainted, the Father says you are still of royal priesthood and all that was yours before, still is. If you have never walked in fellowship with God the Father before, it is never too late. The price He paid for you is the price He paid for all. All you have to do is confess and believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised Him from the dead and you instantly become part of the royal family.


Scriptures:

Luke 15:22-24 (ESV) - 22 “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. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.”

1 Peter 2:9 (ESV) - “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”

I Corinthians 7:23 (ESV) - “You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.”

Ephesians 2:8 (ESV) - For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”

 

Prayer

Lord, thank You paying the ultimate price for me and forgive me for the times I have taken it upon myself to determine my own value and worth.Thank You for Your grace and for loving me at all times.My actions and deeds do not make you love me any more or any less because You love me with an everlasting love.

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