[The older brother] was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, “Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!” And he said to him, “Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.” Luke 15:28-31
Forbearing Father, meditating through this familiar portion of your Word has taken to me a familiar place again, unfortunately. Though I’d never boast about my many years of serving you—as thought my service merits your acceptance; and I’d never think of boasting in my record of obedience to your commands—as though my works earned a relationship with you; nevertheless, I acknowledge there are times when my ingratitude matches that of the older brother.
This has become obvious to me lately, and I want to repent before it gets any worse. My best repenting happens, not when I grovel, but when I preach the gospel to my own heart, so here goes.
Father, you are constantly running to me in the gospel—inviting me, imploring me, pleading with me to get on the dance floor of your grace—to enjoy the music of reconciliation; to sing the songs of redemption; to make merry to the glory of God.
You are constantly saying to my grumbling, complaining, discontented self-righteous face, “My son, you’re always with me because I’m always with you. Nothing will ever separate you from the everlasting love I have for you, and all my children. I greatly delight in you. I rejoice over you with singing. Everything I have is yours.
All your sins are forgiven, including your gross ingratitude. I’ve declared you to be righteous in my beloved Son. Having given his life for your redemption, I’ve hidden your life in his, for your exultation. I’ve begun a good work in you, and in my whole broken world, that I will bring to completion.
I’ve made you a co-heir of the new heaven and new earth. You are destined for an eternity of perfect relationships, perfect health, a perfect environment, a perfect story, perfect worship, perfect fulfillment—perfect everything. Come, let us rejoice and be glad.”
Father, I so repent—and please don’t relent. Keep beating down my ungratefulness with multiplied love offensives of the gospel. Only grace can free me from whining for worship. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ peerless and praiseworthy name.