When we ask Jesus Christ to be our personal Lord and Savior, He graciously accepts us just as we are. I picture that moment as the prodigal son, returning home to his father – disheveled, stinky, and very anxious. The father doesn’t care how he looks or what he smells like – he runs to embrace his long-lost son. Before the son bathes and cleans himself up, the father already has a clean new robe and shoes for him to put on and calls for the fatted calf to be killed for the celebration!
The remarkable point of this parable is that the father totally accepted his son when he arrived at the doorstep. Afterwards, I am sure that he did encourage him to take a bath and keep himself clean. But the son also had sobering, nagging and painful memories full of guilt and shame over his antics while squandering his share of the father’s estate. Now that the father had totally forgiven him and restored him to sonship, what could the younger son do? Certainly, not business as usual because the prodigal had forsaken his past lifestyle. But, where could he start?
This same dilemma faces every new born-again believer – what to do next? Salvation releases shouts of joy and deliverance in our souls and we feel the peace of the Lord for the first time in its fullness. When the celebration dies down though, the reality sets in and we have to start our lives over again. But we can never be successful in changing our lives by self-effort because only God can change a life by His mercy and grace to give His future to you. God is the Potter and we are the clay! The Good News is that God gives us a blueprint for success in the Bible, His plan for our lives. As we examine and understand our past sins, the Holy Spirit allows us to accept the reality of our former lives and listen to His voice to recognize past forgiven sins and avoid sinning in that area again. Daily spiritual warfare prayer sensitizes our spirits to identify and defeat those past thoughts and actions that would try to sneak back into our lives again. As Christians, we should ask the Lord daily to create in us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within ourselves as we mature in our walk with Him!
God can heal every scar of fear, shame and guilt! God makes all things new in our new lives and nothing is impossible for Him to accomplish in our restoration! He will restore to us “what the locusts have eaten.” God heals relationships – marriages, family bonds, friendships, etc. He fills our hearts with love for our enemies and those who have wronged us so that we can pray for them! God totally changes our lives and gives us hope when we accept His gift of salvation, so we can face tomorrow and the rest of our future with Him!