When you think about a home what do you think of? The dictionary puts it this way: "An environment offering security and happiness. A valued place regarded as a refuge or place of origin." Sadly, many of our homes are not this, and we are forced to find new “homes,” but somehow they’re never quite the same. Something about them never quite brings that security, happiness, and refuge. But I have great news; our heavenly Father is preparing for us an even better home. Jesus says in the gospel of John, "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them" (John 14:23, TNIV).
We have an open invitation to come live in the house of God, but we run the other way. We look for security in inappropriate relationships, and search for happiness in sin. We desperately try and make our refuge out of broken foundations. But if we search for these in God by obeying his commandments, perhaps we will find authentic "homes." Dietrich Bonhoeffer puts it this way, "God’s kingdom, God’s will, must be the primary object of Christian [life]" (The Cost of Discipleship).
He goes on to say that to make the most of this life, we must follow the commands God has given. Obedience is key to following Jesus.
In the parable of the Prodigal Son, Jesus uses the analogy of a son who demands his inheritance early. He runs away to live a life of “fun” only to find dissatisfaction. Soon his money runs out. After running through every possibility in his headm, he realizes that he has to return home. Just like in our lives, we seem to follow our on ways and plans (not saying that these are always bad, but if we throw out God’s plans and don’t align our plans with His, that’s where the trouble starts). And in the end, it only leaves us unsatisfied.
But the Prodigal Son did choose to turn around. He follows the path leading for his home and finds his father there with open arms, and he throws a banquet party in honor of the return of the son. The parallel in our lives is this, there are many paths to follow, but the one lead by Jesus takes us home.
To follow Christ we must not only obey his commandments, but also learn from God’s example. Just as the Prodigal Son, his father’s love goes beyond measure. Someone once said, “I asked God how much He loved me, and he spread out His arms as wide as they could go, and they were nailed to the cross.” While sayings like this are never theology, and sometimes cheesy and corny, the truth still remains. In Romans Paul writes that, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:18, TNIV).
God’s love was radical and is a constant challenge in our lives today. Following the path of love that Jesus paved can often lead to frustration. Regularly our love or our lives never seem to meat the standard He set. But God, rich in His mercy, or unmerited favor, still loves us, in our imperfect nature. This example is huge and sheds light on the dim road of love.
King Solomon had everything anyone could ever want. Thousands of wives, money, food; you name it, he had it. At the end of his book, Ecclesiastes he says, “Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey His commands.”
"Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them" (John 14:23, TNIV).
If you want a security, happiness, or refuge that stop chasing the world, turn around, and follow Jesus. Follow Him home.
What are you chasing?