Life Apart From God - by Jeff Grimes

I am always amazed at the depth, breadth, and height of God's Word. It is a reservoir that's never dry; a storeroom never empty. Through the years one of my favorite sections of scripture is found in Luke chapter fifteen. The practical principles of truth are seemingly endless. Listed below are a few of the many useful lessons taught by Jesus in this marvelous section. Please take time to read Luke 15:11-32.

1. Apart from God life and substance are wasted: Luke 15:13-14-"Riotous living" will always drain our bank account, and our character. It does not take long in doing so. The distance from the phrases "gathered all" in verse 13 until "spent all" in verse 14 is only 21 words. Ask those who are addicted to gambling, immoral living, and alcohol if this is true or not. What about the rich men in Luke chapters twelve and sixteen? Unlike this "prodigal son" of Luke 15 these men learned to late that life and substance apart from God is wasted. "A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth" (Luke 12:15). "Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" (Matthew 6:25).

2. Apart from God we can not solve our own problems: Luke 15:14-15-"He began to be in want, and he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country." One would have thought, considering the "mighty famine" that arose in the land this young man would have immediately returned to his father's house. Instead, he tries to work things out on his own by "joining himself to a citizen of that country." No matter his best effort he soon learns that his problem is getting bigger. Wallowing with the hogs and starvation was not what he bargained for. "O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23).

3. Apart form God help is hard to find: Luke 15:15-16-He received no sympathy from the citizens of the "far country." In fact, "no man gave unto him." The world could care less what ones predicament is. The citizens of the "far country" have more pity for hogs than humans. His fair weather friends are nowhere in sight now. Satan must be rejoicing! "But I am poor and needy; Make haste to me, O God! You are my help and my deliverer; O LORD, do not delay. In You, O LORD, I put my trust; Let me never be put to shame. Deliver me in Your righteousness, and cause me to escape; Incline Your ear to me, and save me" (Psalm 70:5-71:2 NKJ)

4. Apart from God we cannot reason properly: Luke 15:17-"And when he came to himself..." How irrational he had been. All the "good reasons" for leaving home seem so foolish now. Oh, if only I had listened! What was I thinking in the first place? Dumb me! Like this young man we all need divine wisdom, in making life's decisions, which comes only through the Bible. "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" "Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all thing to be right; and I hate every false way" (Psalm 119:9-11, 104, 105, 128).

5. Apart from God life is miserable: Luke 15:15-16-"... he sent him into his fields to feed swine, and he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." There is never any joy in the "far country." Only misery, gloom, and despair. In contrast, in the Father's house there is compassion, love, and rejoicing. Why perish trying to live on the husks of the world, when there is "bread enough, and to spare" in the Father's house. The resources of the Father never run short, or out.

6. Apart form God hearts or filled with pride, envy, self-righteousness and un-forgiveness: Luke 15:25-32-Jesus paints an ugly picture of these sins exhibited in the person of the elder brother. How sad to live in the Father's house and not imbibe the spirit of the Father. The love, compassion, and mercy of the Father had not affected his life. I know people with attitudes like this elder brother. They have the "me" syndrome. It's all about me, myself, and I. The result is a hateful attitude like the elder brother. Life is too short to live apart from God.

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