And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet....for this my son...was lost, and is found.
Luke 15:21-22, 24
Prove yourself. In today's world, that's what you constantly feel you have to do, right? On the job, among friends, even at home you're always working to win the approval you need. Working to convince those around you that you deserve the salary, the friendship and even the love they give you.
Is there any escape?
You better believe there is! It's called grace. Unearned and undeserved favor and acceptance. And there's only one place you can find it—in the heart of God Himself.
There's no better picture of God's grace in action than in the story of the prodigal son. Few of us today can really feel the impact of that story like those first Jewish listeners Jesus told it to. You see, by their standards the prodigal son had committed some of the most despicable acts possible. He'd not only taken advantage of his father and spent his inheritance in riotous living, he'd left the nation of Israel and made covenant with a foreigner—a pig farmer! That was as low as you could get.
In their eyes, that boy's rebellion was so serious his father's only recourse was to disown him.
But that's not what this father did! He welcomed his repentant son home with open arms. He offered him grace—unmerited favor—that was based on the father's love rather than the son's performance.
Next time you catch yourself struggling to make up to God for something you've done wrong, working to win His approval, let the story of the prodigal son set you free. Let it remind you that, in spite of your sins, your Father has received you with open arms. He's put a robe of righteousness on your back and His signet ring on your hand. He's put the shoes of sonship on your feet!
Do you feel unworthy of all that? Sure you do. You were unworthy of it. But God hasn't based His relationship with you on your worthiness. He's based it on His love and on Jesus' worthiness. You don't have to struggle to prove yourself to Him. As far as He's concerned, you're a proven success.