10 Lessons from the life of the Prodigal Son

In Luke 15:11-19, we read how that the prodigal son was once under his father's roof until he suddenly made a decision to leave his father's will and to do his own. As a good father, "he gave him whatsoever he would". The prodigal son followed his decision to gratify his fleshy desires in opposition to the thoughts of the father.

From the record in the book of Luke chapter 15, Jesus told different parables which dealt with lost but found items – from the parable of the lost sheep to the parable of the lost and finally to the parable of the prodigal son who from self-willfulness requested from his father his inheritance without focusing on the appointed time and the result.

5 Lessons from the Life of the Prodigal Son by Falana Idowu Zion

The story of the prodigal son is a well-known Bible story. From these three parables, this article would focus on the story of the prodigal and thereby point out five (5) lessons that could be learned from the story.

Here are five lessons from the Life of the Prodigal Son.

1. Learn to grow beyond your self-will

In Luke 15:11-12, we read that a certain man had two sons. The younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. Here, we understand that the younger son never considered his Father’s opinion on his next agenda. He acted upon his will and thereby asked his father for his possessions without thinking about the end. However, it should be noted in this passage (Luke 15: 11-31) that the Father in the passage is Jesus/God. So, as Christians, we should always consider the Will of the Father beyond our own Will so as to not make any error. The Father knows the end from the beginning and therefore has a lay-down plan for our lives. Acting on our self-willfulness is literally saying you know the way and thereby telling the Father to keep His plans for Himself. Remember, “When you follow your will, you neglect God's will. He’d never force it on you – He is a Gentle Spirit.

2. Learn to Manage Resources

When we read further in Luke 15:13-17, we see that not long after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.
14 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.
15 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.  16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. From these verses again, we learn that the result of mismanagement is hunger and thirst. If spent wisely, the prodigal son would have ended up getting the best of his inheritance, peradventure he invested his inheritance in a goodly thing, he’d have ended up getting the best out of it, however, since he had a wrong motive from the onset, he couldn’t have a good plan on how to make use of his inheritance or how to invest it in profitable things.

Likewise, as Christians, we must understand that it is necessary to overcome mismanagement. A true believer should never waste God's investment – He has given us the grace (II Corinthians 6:1) and we should never let His grace and death be in vain. He has given us talents, which he continually hopes we make use of and thereby get profitable rewards. God is never a waster of resources – He makes use of His resources wisely without any wastage

3. Learn the art of Self-Evaluation

According to Luke 15:17, when he came to his senses, he asked himself saying, "How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger?" The prodigal son after all he had done realized he was out of the way and therefore examined himself, thinking of how glorious and wealthy his Father is – without wasting any time further, he made up his mind to go home and reconcile to his Father. Knowing your offense and when to turn back to the Father is the first step to receiving forgiveness, when you know your offense and know when to turn back, you're a step towards forgiveness. We know as human beings, being perfect may be a hard goal to achieve and we know we all are sinners, but knowing your sins and being ready to ask for forgiveness is an important step in the pathway of growing to perfection. Self-evaluation can never be overemphasized in the life of a Christian – we’d surely make mistakes but knowing your mistakes and being ready to correct them is a blessing.

4. Always acknowledge your offense and ask for Forgiveness

Again, in Luke 15:18-19 and verse 21, the prodigal decided to go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, 19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. 21And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.  As said in the third lesson, we might not be perfect beyond mistakes, but knowing our sins and asking for forgiveness is a great step to perfection.

5. God is a Loving Father

 Luke 15:20-23

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

23 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Beyond the life of the prodigal son, it’s worthwhile to note the existence of a loving Father, who despite His son’s misbehavior has an open heart to receive him and have compassion on him.

God is the loving Father, He knows we would always make mistakes, but He’s forever ready to forgive our mistakes and show us the correct way… I don’t know the mistakes you might have made or the mistakes you’re making, and you’re thinking He’d never forgive you – here is another opportunity to remind you from the life of the prodigal son that God is a loving Father who is always ready to have compassion and mercy on you. (Matthew 12:7, Romans 3:23-24, Romans 6:23)

The story of the prodigal son is a story that teaches a lot about God’s love and compassion. We are not perfect, but He continually makes us perfect with His unending and undeserved love.


Are you like this prodigal son?

How is your fellowship with God like? Fellowship with God entails true worship, studying the Scriptures, prayer, etc.] Is it growing, stagnant or declining? The last two shows a backsliding state. Oh! You're busy? You see, God understands. He understands that you can be busy with normal everyday life AND STILL HAVE A GOOD TIME FOR HIM. Yes, He understands! That's why He has given you the Holy Spirit to HELP you [with everything all together]. He's powerful!

Are you like this prodigal son? With fleshy desires? Desire to get mad, watch pornography, masturbate, fornicate, lie, etc. What is your weakness? Do they control you instead of God's Spirit? (Galatians 5:16). You should beware of backsliding as that's the only way you can be cured. To do this, simply focus on Jesus as the source of your righteousness.

After a while, the prodigal son needed food, just as some need spiritual food [to overcome]. The prodigal son ran to his father who had this food in abundance (Luke 15:17). He understood that his father was wealthy. Dear reader, you need to understand that God has what will make you thrive [spiritually, health-wise, ministerially, etc] in abundance. Run to Him for help today. That's the cure. Trust Him, He will surely restore you as His child, ("for this my SON" Luke 15:24) and strengthen you more.

No charge of Parental neglect was laid at the doorstep of the prodigal's father. He was a great role model, supporting his children in all ways (financial and emotion wise especially). He guided them and gave them a room to fail and a place to return.

From verse 17, the change only came when he came back to his senses. As the restored sheep, you came back because of the consciousness that you're away. This consciousness is there because of God's love. Do not despise backsliders. Pray for them.

If you have backslided, please, say this prayer:

Oh Lord, thank you for your grace. I am sorry for going outside your will. Please restore me in Jesus' name. Amen.

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