Take a closer look at the story of the prodigal son, one of many stories Jesus told to try to get it into our hearts where we stand with the Father, and how he feels about us. Yes, the prodigal went AWOL, ran off to Vegas with the family fortune, blew it all on cheap whores and high-stakes poker. Yes, we have done the same, more or less . . . in most cases, much more than less. But that is not the point of the story. The story is not primarily about the prodigal. It is about the father's heart. "But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him" (Luke 15:20 NIV). This is the kind of Father you have. This is how he feels about you. This is the purpose for which Christ came.

"But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir." (Gal. 4:4-7 NIV)

You are the son of a kind, strong, and engaged Father, a Father wise enough to guide you in the Way, generous enough to provide for your journey. His first act of provision happened before you were even born, when he rescued you through the life, death, and resurrection of our elder brother, Jesus of Nazareth. Then he called you to himself-perhaps is calling you even now-to come home to him through faith in Christ. When a man gives his life to Jesus Christ, when he turns as the prodigal son turned for home and is reconciled to the Father, many remarkable things take place. At the core of them is a coming into true sonship.

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